Review of 2011 - Ornamentals Production

Review of Ornamentals Production 2011 - image: HW
Review of Ornamentals Production 2011 - image: HW
January
  • The industry responded favourably to the Government’s consultation on the Sustainable Use Directive for the use of pesticides and parts of the regulation for placing plant protection products on the market.
  • A Defra consultation outlining plans to phase out the commercial use of peat by 2030 sparked concerns that UK growers could be left at a commercial disadvantage.
  • Garden centre consultant Neville Stein urged growers at the HTA-run nursery stock conference Contact 2011 to grasp the social networking phenomenon as a means of communicating with customers and showcasing their business.
  • Growers and retailers raised concerns over the radio-frequency identification tag (RFID) trolley system launched by Container Centralen.
  • Wholesale nursery New Forest Garden Plants was bought by Roundstone Nurseries after going into administration.

February
  • The British Protected Ornamentals Association launched its Home Grown campaign, replacing the Horticultural Development Company funded scheme.
  • Organisers of the Glee trade show announced its Plant Area, a new low-cost space for up to 40 growers to display plants.
  • Bransford Webbs Plant Company introduced its Cut Your Own range at the Garden Press Day in London.
  • Growers counted the cost of successive harsh winters as levels of crop damage emerged, with ornamentals growers reporting losses of up to 10 per cent.
  • Growers, retailers and growing media manufacturers branded Defra’s consultation on reducing the horticultural use of peat in England as flawed and misleading.
  • The organisers of the GAN Trade Show surprised the industry by announcing its sell-out show, which attracted 1,500 visitors, would be its last.
  • The production horticulture industry honoured its finest at the Grower of the Year Awards 2011, with Majestic Trees taking the prize for Grower of the Year, Ornamentals.
  • Horticulture supply Munro South closed.

March
  • Industry figures criticised proposals put forward by the RSPB to introduce a £1 levy on bags of peat-based growing media sold in garden centres.
  • Industry bodies warned of possible job losses in response to Defra’s consultation on reducing the horticultural use of peat.
  • Growers at the British Plant Fair said they were apprehensive about the forthcoming season and worried about problems arising from the revamped trolley system.
  • Phytophthora ramorum specialists said they were hopeful the spread of the disease would not be as bad as in 2010.
  • Representatives of the UK pesticide supply sector urged the Government to maintain current controls on the use and distribution of pesticides as the EU Sustainable Use Directive is implemented into UK law.
  • The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) was given the go-ahead to set up a permanent home at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.
  • The Office of National Statistics removed rose bushes from its Inflation Basket after 24 years.
  • More than 85 bedding industry figures heard speakers at the BPOA Extending Seasons – New Opportunities event address grow your own, the Home Grown brand, marketing and advances in labelling technology.

April
  • The NFU criticised Government plans to reduce the level of feed-in tariff incentives paid to growers with large-scale solar photovoltaic installations.
  • Phytophthora ramorum was reported to have been found in European larch, following a discovery by Forestry Commission scientists in woodland near Lostwithiel in Cornwall.
  • Fera announced plans to increase public awareness of the citrus longhorn beetle as the pest’s emergence season began.
  • Fera decided to keep the protected zone status surrounding bemisia tabaci (tobacco whitefly) following consultation with the horticulture industry.
  • Container Centralen confirmed plans to reduce its annual pool fee by €1 over the following two years.
  • A second case of phytophthora lateralis was reported in Scotland, and the Forestry Comission warned that it could have serious implications for the ornamentals industry if it took hold.
  • The HTA bedding plant group launched a new merchandising guide offering retailers advice on prooting bedding plants in their garden centres.

May
  • A hot and windy RHS Chelsea Flower Show gave its audience a glimpse of the garden look of the future, with exotics, pastels and wackiness to the fore.
  • Anenome ‘Wild Swan’ was declared Chelsea Plant of the Year, beating Saxifraga ‘Anneka Hope’ by three votes.
  • Traditional A-Z shrubs ran short in garden centres after growers reported plants were selling out in record time.
  • An ecological watering system that relies on boreholes and run-off reservoirs helped Whartons Nurseries get through the dry weather, insuring against losses that could run into millions.
  • Pest and disease experts released guidance on powdery mildew in hardy nursery plants and herbaceous perennials.
  • Bedding growers reported a strong start to the season with some considering planting extra crops.

June
  • Growing media producers Scotts and Sinclair joined retailers B&Q and Homebase as signitories to a letter to environment minister Richard Benyon that claimed voluntary peat reduction by the industry would not solve the long-running peat problem.
  • The government confirmed its choice of a voluntary target to phase out peat use for retail sales by 202 and professional growers by 2030 in its natural environment white paper.
  • The RHS decided to review its garden judging system for the first time in 10 years.
  • The horticulture industry responded to the announcement of drought status in parts of the country with a call for flexibility bin sharing water resources.
  • Sales of seeds and bulbs stopped rising for the first time since 2007, potentially signalling the end to the grow your own boom.
  • An outbreak of a new, aggressive strain of impatiens downy mildew in nurseries proved tough to control.
  • An Adas report warned that new EU regulations could result in 19 active ingredients in crop protection products used by the horticulture industry becoming unavailable.
  • The dry weather brought on some of the best results for decades for a selection of rose and lavender growers, but the lack of rain caused problems in drier areas of the country.

July
  • HDC chairman Neil Bragg urges the horticulture industry representatives at the RHS Internationals Trials Conference to look at a range of substrate materials to find the best-quality growing media.
  • The garden industry decided to develop a new system of plant hardiness ratings following tow of the hardest winters in living memory.
  • The HTA National Plant Show had a successful second year, with the organisation predicting visitor numbers would be up by 15 per cent on the previous year.
  • Brockhill Nursery won £8,000 of match-funded New Forest Rural Development Programme for England money to develop its plant marketing.
  • B&Q dumped several horticulture suppliers from its roster of 35, leaving some facing huge stockpiles of unsaleable plants and losses running into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
  • The industry warned that Fera’s proposed increase in plant health inspection fees could hit UK business importing and exporting plants while failing issues with the service continued.
  • RHS Flower Show Tatton Park exhibitors said that council flower beds still had a future, despite 25 per cent cuts to local authority budgets.

August
  • A strain of impatiens downy mildew hitting a number of growers was confirmed to have developed resistance to fungicide ingredient Metalaxyl-M, threatening impatiens standing as a favourite of gardeners and council flower beds.
  • Defra peat task force chair Dr Alan Knight selected retailers, growing media manufacturers, growers and environmental organisations to form a task force to write a road map for how to end peat use.
  • Knight acknowledged that an England-only ban on peat would not be possible under EU law.
  • The National Horticulture Forum said that the broader industry had to be engaged with horticultural research strategy and funding to maintain current capabilities.
  • Organisers of regional shows including Glee and Eastgro said that they had a strong future despite competition from the HTA National Plant Show.
  • Everris PlantTrust received a positive reaction from the trade, as growers claimed that the loss of fungicide product Aliette 80WG would mean going without a key product for dealing with phytophthora.

September
  • Amenity growers reported a reasonable season despite fears that sales to the landscape sector would be down in 2011.
  • Growers exhibiting at the Four Oaks trade show said they were optimistic about sales in the coming year, with many planning expansions.
  • Sales of Christmas Trees saw a strong start as orders came in early to secure limited stock.
  • The successful performance of many garden roses led to a boost in sales for growers.
  • QR codes provided a central feature at the Glee Trade Show, with Floramedia and William Sinclair launching products.
  • Research presented at the BOPP technical seminar showed that using waste-based growing media could increase problems with sciarrid and shore flies on protected crops.

October
  • The impatiens downy mildew outbreak saw some suppliers cut production of impatiens walleriana while others started recommending alternative plants to customers.
  • Bulb supplier reported a fall in orders from local authorities as spending cuts were implemented.
  • Horticultural society members speaking at a conference organised by the Stockbridge Technology Centre and the International Peat Society said they were concerned that amateur growing activity could diminish if peat was not widely available.
  • Majestic Trees took silver at the International Grower of the Year competition in Xian, China.
  • Wholesale plant supplier Robin Tacchi Plants opened a cash and carry near its nursery site in Norfolk.
  • The Sustainable Growing Media Task Force held its first meeting, leaving many members feeling positive but some still calling for clarification of the issue.
  • The government launched its Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan, providing £7m fr research into tree pests and diseases and proposing tighter import controls.
  • The industry warned that raising fees to fund a stronger import control regime can only be justified if the system is efficient and competitively priced as Fera’s consultation opened.
  • The spell of warm weather delayed bedding sale because plants that would have been replaced were still in flower, while economic conditions saw customers going for cheaper options.


November
  • Tesco fruit and horticulture technical category manager David Fryer told attendees at the HTA bedding Focus conference that Tesco will never compete with garden centres.
  • HTA took over the British Ornamental Plant Producers accreditation (BOPP) scheme, which became a specialist group within the organisation.
  • Growers exhibiting at GroSouth said they were receiving higher-than-normal orders for next year despite continuing uncertainty in the economy.
  • Growers warned that the UK poinsettia market was continuing to suffer from low prices fixed by large retailers.


December
  • Orders for red, white and blue plants began rolling in ready for the Olympics and jubilee in 2012.
  • Current Season Needle Necrosis resulted in significant losses for some Christmas tree growers.
  • The Renewable Heat Incentive was launched at a lower rate than planned, leading to criticism from growers investing in biomass boilers.
  • Fera said that extra inspectors at entry points including Heathrow Airport led to more pests and diseases being intercepted.
  • Growers expressed concern at the prospect of drought conditions next summer, fearing an impact of sales.


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