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November 16-30,2015:

High temperatures affect Japanese cyclamen, fear date Valentine's Day, Photo Report Alexandra farms and first flowers from Esmeralda's new Ethiopian farm

In November, the unusually high temperatures were affecting the cyclamen quality in Japan. Besides that, it became clear that the date of Valentine's Day 2016 will probably affect the flower sales. But more happened in the second half of November 2015. Below an overview:

"Decrease in European carnation growers made us shift markets"
"The decrease in number of European carnation growers made us shift markets," says Gianfranco Fenoglio of La Villetta, an Italian carnation breeder and propagator. For many years, he supplied European growers with his young plant varieties produced in Italy. However, due to the decline in number of carnation growers in Europe and the increase of carnation growers in Colombia, he decided to shift his young plant production to Colombia. "Currently, the majority of our young plants are being produced in Colombia."

Valentine's Day worries Ecuadorian growers
It has been a difficult year for many Ecuadorian growers, mainly due to the unrest in Russia and Ukraine, the exchange rates and the high transportation costs. They hope this season will be better, but they fear for Valentine’s Day 2016, as it will be on a Sunday. This was explained by Sebastian Padula of Josarflor, they grow around 100 varieties in 35 hectare greenhouses in Ecuador.

"They might have guns, but we have flowers"
"They might have guns, but we have flowers," says a father to comfort his little boy, during an interview with a French journalist of the Le Petit Journal, the end of November 2015. The boy says he is scared of mean men with guns, but his father comforts him by explaining that flowers are used to fight guns and protect us.

Koppert opens new subsidiary in Colombia
In November 2015, Koppert announced that they will open a subsidiary in Colombia. Making agriculture and horticulture healthier, safer and more productive will be Koppert Biological Systems’ mission as it establishes itself in Colombia. The new subsidiary hopes to make a difference in South America’s prime rose cultivation country.

Photo Report: A visit to Alexandra Farms in Colombia
In October 2015, at the time of the Proflora show in Bogota, Colombia, we had the opportunity to take a look inside a 19 ha sized boutique rose farm that is dedicated to growing garden roses. The farm is called Alexandra Farms and is situated high in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. The owner of the farm, Jose Azout gave us a guided tour and showed us their trials, packaging and cooling area.

NASA to grow flowering crop in space next year
In November, NASA announced that astronaut Kjell Lindgren had activated the “Veggie” plant growth system along with its rooting “pillows” containing Zinnia seeds aboard the ISS. Now they are all set to witness flowers blooming in space.

Danish Raahöj expands Mystery Lady series with new aster varieties
In November, during the IFTF in vijdhuizen, Danish Nursery Raahöj announced that they will add a complete new aster cut flower line and a new pot aster variety to their Mystery Lady series. All these new varieties have been trialled extensively and will be available for commercial production in 2016. This was explained by Malene Juhl Jensen breeder and owner of Nursery Raahöj.

Netherlands: Numerous poinsettia varieties showcased at Autumn Trials
“In Holland more than 80% of the assortment is red,” explains Sirekit Mol, marketing manager at Beekenkamp. “However, it is not that all growers walk away with one variety; on the contrary: they take into consideration some important factors like colour, shape and growth habits, resistance, duration of growth, etc. The retail, in its turn, keeps an eye on the consumer, who varies by market, by country.” At the Autumn Trials, at Beekenkamp Plants in Maasdijk, the Netherladns one could see the new varieties on the 11th and 12th of November, 2015.

Faster EOS sleeving machine for orchids introduced
The new version of the EOS sleeving machine of MecaFlor was introduced at the IFTF in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands, which was held from 4-6 November 2015. This machine can sleeve 2,3,4 and 5 stem orchids and has a minimum of 900 cycles per hour per operator. According to Mecaflor's Dominique Kooij, the machine has a couple of advantages; it is fast, the orchids can be sleeved together with a plastic, glass or ceramic pot and it will decrease absence through illness of the employees.

"Date Valentine's Day not expected to affect supermarket flower sales"
Growers are worrying about Valentine's Day, as it will fall on a Sunday. Rose grower Juan Carlos Cevallos of Galapagos Flores, however, is not concerned. "From experience, we know that flower sales of wholesalers and flower shops will be the ones mostly affected. We supply mainly to supermarkets, so we do not expect a drop in sales, even if it is on a Sunday.”

First flowers harvested at Esmeralda's new farm in Ethiopia

The first flowers from Esmeralda's new Ethiopian farm were harvested in November. Last January, Esmeralda Farms started establishing a farm in Ethiopia. The size of the total farm is 150 ha. "Currently, 17 ha under glass and 25 open field is ready. Fifteen different products, mainly summer flowers and roses are being commercially produced. There is also a trial greenhouse in which test codes from our farms in Ecuador are being cultivated. Some hundred test codes are also being trailed at that greenhouse at the moment," says Loui Hooyman, director of Esmeralda Farms, a breeder and grower of cut flowers.

Dutch greenhouse builders save drowning man in Australia
Theo v/d Akker and Jeffrey Rozendaal are being hailed as local heroes by tourists after pulling a drowning man to safety from the surf at One Mile Beach in Port Stephens NSW. Theo and Jeffrey were enjoying the sun and beach on their Sunday off as it was a hot 400C, when approached by four Asian tourists who were frantic that their friend was in trouble in the water and none of them could swim.Without a thought for their own safety, the two guys immediately ran into the surf and made their way out into the breakers to reach the man who was quite distressed and very tired and helped him back safely to the shore.

Netherlands: Jiffy starts construction of new substrate facility in Zwijndrecht
Monday November 23rd 2015 construction has started on the new substrate facility of Jiffy Products International BV, in Zwijndrecht. Click here to see the photos that were taken during the start of this construction.

Take a look inside the greenhouse of a Dutch succulent grower
Amigo Plant once started as a tomato grower, but has now been a major player in the succulents market for years. "Growing succulents was always a hobby of company owner Gerard van Langen," said Sales Manager Jacco Huibers, when we visited his greenhouse the end of November. "In the late nineties, when tomato cultivation was tough, he quickly decided to make his passion his work. In our greenhouses here in Heerhugowaard, the Netherlands, you can still see the past: the pipes are still there and we have hung the growing gutters a bit higher, to also put plants there."

Netherlands: Brown rot in roses confirmed at 2 propagators and 4 growers
In November 2015, The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) inspected 40 rose growers who bought plants from two rose propagators where infection with the Ralstonia solanacearum bacterium, the cause of brown rot, was established. This is to map the spread of the bacterium and to ensure that the farmers take sufficient measures to prevent further spread of the bacterium within their organizations and within (greenhouse) horticulture.

Japan: High temperatures affect cyclamen sales
Cyclamen are a popular end of the year gift item in Japan. So, in November, cyclamen sales should be high. However, this year, the unusually high temperatures were affecting the quality of the cyclamen and consequently the sales and prices. This was explained by Shoichi Oshio of FloralCrest. He grows cyclamen and impatiens in a 3,000 m2 sized greenhouse near Tokyo, Japan.

Spain: Construction 15ha greenhouse of Bionatur Roses in full swing
In November 2015, Dalsem posted a video of the construction of the 15 ha sized greenhouse at Bionatur Roses in Spain. The greenhouse is intended for the production of high quality roses by hydroponic cultivation. 

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