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Ontario Flower Growers Trip
July 7, 2007
Back in May Norman attended the International Cut Flower Growers Association annual meeting in Ontario, Canada. He visited some interesting flower growing operations and saw some new products. One of the features of these meetings is a chance to see new roses from the European breeders.

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Do striped roses turn you on? We are wondering if there is a market for such a thing. There certainly are more and more striped roses being produced by the breeders, but they seem like oddball novelties. I guess that's how we feel about blue (dyed) roses too but according to my sources quite a few people seem to buy them, tacky or not. This rose "Fiesta" is interesting but the colors are wild.

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I saw it last year in Amsterdam and it seemed so bizarre that I erased the pictures from my camera. But Norman's daughters think striped roses are cool.

One of the things that is always interesting to see on these tours is the mechanization some greenhouse growers use. Here is a grower using a travelling conveyor for gerberas. Apparently they move past a person to be cut instead of the person moving.

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As we look for ways to save money on winter heat, which we need to keep our flowers blooming throughout the cold months, we are looking at things like cogeneration, solar, etc. Several growers throughout the country burn sawdust, wood waste and other biofuel to create heat. I just recently read of a lumber mill somewhere in Oregon which burns biofuel (probably sawdust) to create electricity. In Holland the big growers burn natural gas to create heat, also they generate electricity, AND they use the resulting carbon dioxide in the greenhouse to stimulate the growth of the plants.

Plants thrive on carbon dioxide; unlike us humans who need oxygen, plants take in carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. They use the carbon to produce their substance. They grow faster when more carbon dioxide is available to them, especially in the presence of light.

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Here's a company called Rosaflora, this is their big pile of wood waste which they burn.

The big question with biofuel, is how much smoke do you produce? And issues related to DEQ. Do they have the same regulations in Canada????

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You may ask, what is this clock and what does it have to do with flowers? In Ontario, Canada, as well as in Vancouver, they use the Dutch Auction system with a clock showing prices. As the flowers pass below, the clock starts up at the top price. Bidders watch the clock as it shows the price going lower and lower. When it hits the price they want, they press a button to purchase the flowers. We are talking about flowers in large quantities here, so the people bidding are usually brokers or wholesalers. The risk is, will somebody bid at a higher price and take away the flowers you want? It's the old fear versus greed thing, you must bid before someone else (fear) at a price that is desirable to you (greed). A normal courthouse-steps type auction in our country is the reverse, the price starts low, and as people bid it gets higher. Until the ones unwilling to pay the price drop out.

It would be nice to see a scholarly paper comparing the two systems sometime....

As you can see the flower business is an education not only in science, technology, and horticulture, but also in human nature!

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