People, Events and News

Departments - The PEN

February 26, 2014

All-America Selections announces additional winners

All-America SelectionS added eight additional plants to its 2014 gardening season AAS Winners. It also added four winners to its Regional selections and four to its National selections. The regional winners were Cucumber ‘Salmadore Bush’ F1; Eggplant ‘Patio Baby’ F1; Pepper ‘Giant Ristra’ F1; and Radish Rivoli F1. The National winners were Angelonia ‘Serenita Pink’ F1; Impatiens, New Guinea ‘Florific Sweet Orange’ F1; Ornamental Pepper ‘NuMex Easter’ F1, and Osteospermum ‘Akila Daisy White’ F1.

The addition of the eight winners brings the total 2014 award recipients to 19, the largest number of selections since the 1930s, the first decade of the AAS’s existence.

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AFE accepting research proposals

The American Floral Endowment is now accepting research proposals for the 2014-2015 cycle. Research projects can last between one and three years and any reasonable budget will be considered. During the 2014-2015 cycle, the AFE will fund more than $250,000 in projects. Applications are due by June 1, 2014.

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BASF Empress Intrinsic fungicide receives EPA approval

The EPA has approved the use of BASF Empress Intrinsic fungicide for use in New York. The product is meant for use on herbaceous and woody plants present in greenhouses, nursery containers, and field production throughout the state.

Empress Intrinsic brand fungicide, with active ingredient pyraclostrobin, provides protection against four root and crown disease pathogens – fusarium, phytophthora, pythium and rhizoctonia.

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Research could reveal new process for repelling plant damaging insects

A research team at the University of California, Riverside, has discovered how the common fruit fly’s taste receptors detect sweet compounds, a discovery that could lead to new strategies for repelling plant-damaging insects.

Insect receptors were discovered decades ago, but it wasn’t until now that researchers understood how the receptors functioned. The study could hold relevance for a number of insects, including disease-spreading mosquitoes and crop-damaging beetles and weevils.

According to the university, the fly is a powerful model organism for studying animal development and behavior. Understanding the mechanisms by which it tastes and ingests sweet substances may offer tools to control insect feeding.

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produceUSDA Study: Produce, flower production up

Two programs, the Organic Initiative and Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, may be contributing to a significant uptick in the cultivation of fruits, flowers, and nuts, according to a study by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Organic Initiative and the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative offer incentives to growers wanting to install a high tunnel or otherwise transition their operations.

The study, available on the group’s website, found that about 124,800 acres were used for cultivated growing in 2007. That number nearly doubled in 2010, when it jumped to 273,800 acres.

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Brown University debuts new greenhouse

Brown University’s recently renovated Building for Environmental Research and Teaching will soon be crowned by a state-of-the-art greenhouse research facility.

The greenhouse, which is on the building’s roof, is composed of six rooms that are individually equipped with temperature controls, light and shade controls, and vents, allowing researchers to experiment with different plants and their reactions to climate changes. The facility will also have an immense database chronicling the plants and their responses.

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America in Bloom symposium to be held in October

The America in Bloom symposium will be held Oct. 2-4 in Philadelphia.

Registration for the event’s awards program is available through the AIB website.

The awards program is open to a number of civic, military, educational, and non-profit organizations including: towns, townships, cities of all sizes, business districts, college and university campuses, military installations, and identifiable sections of large cities.

Those who recruit new participants for the 2014 AIB Awards program will receive a registration discount of 25 percent. Free registration will be extended to those who recruit four new participants.

The registration deadline for the 2014 AIB Awards program is Feb. 28. Participants are evaluated on their efforts in horticulture, heritage, and environment across residential, commercial, and municipal sectors.

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Rimol Greenhouse Systems announces Mark McLane as its Southern Sales Manager. The sales staff at Rimol Greenhouse Systems continued its steady growth with the recent hiring of McLane, who started in mid-January. McLane will manage Rimol’s sales efforts for the southeastern region of the United States. McLane gained an early start in the greenhouse industry by watering greenhouse plants when he was 14. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina in 1988 and has focused his efforts on improving greenhouse operations ever since.

PARsource announces that Peyam Barghassa is the new accounts manager for the southeastern region of the United States. Before entering the industry in 2003 as a North American representative for Grodan, Peyam earned an M.S. in Soil Science at Texas A&M University as well as a B.S. in Agronomy from North Carolina State University.


Greenhouses in space

Using research conducted by a team at the German Aerospace Center and published in “Acta Astronautica,” National Geographic broke down the five benefits of greenhouses in space: fresh food, stress relief, visual landscape, air quality, and a way to mark the passage of time.

When most people think about space food, they think of the shiny snack packs they opened in grade school or at space camp, or maybe of Dippin Dots ice cream (labelled the “Ice Cream of the Future”). While developments in preservatives have allowed for a more varied palette, getting fresh fruits and veggies aboard a space craft is still incredibly difficult.

Installing fully functional greenhouses would give astronauts the chance to experience the five above-mentioned benefits associated with cultivating gardens.

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American adults eating healthier

American adults are making healthier eating choices, according to a USDA study released Jan. 16.

The study found that more people are making better use of nutritional information, consuming fewer calories (especially those associated with fat and saturated fat), consuming less cholestrol, and eating more fiber. The study is titled “Changes in Eating Patterns and Diet Quality Among Working-Age Adults, 2005-2010.”

The results also revealed that less people are eating out and more are concerning themselves with nutrition, not price, at the grocery store. This likely means an uptick in produce purchases.

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19, Greenhouse Plant Disease Diagnostic Workshop, Amherst, Mass.

25-27, Facilitative Leadership, Tustin, Mich.;


5-10, California Spring Trials

9-10, Interior Plantscape Symposium, Kennett Square, Penn.

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