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November 3, 2008  By Dave Harrison

Pre-conference bus tour returns to Alberta show and conference


Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza and Rob van Dam with AGGA’s 2007 Blossoms for the Cure donation.

Pre-conference bus tour returns to Alberta show and conference


Alberta’s Green Industry Show & Conference is one of the three largest trade shows of its kind in Canada, welcoming more than 150 exhibitors and featuring two days of educational sessions.

The event brings together two of Alberta’s largest “green industry” organizations – the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association and Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association – in Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre.

The conference opens on Thursday, Nov. 20, and sessions will run both Thursday and Friday mornings, giving delegates time to visit the trade show in the afternoon. Trade show hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 20, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21.

A pre-conference bus tour will be held Wednesday, Nov.  19, departing from the Coast Edmonton East Hotel in Sherwood Park. Included will be stops at Greenland Garden Centre, The Root Seller, Kuhlmann’s Market Gardens & Greenhouses, and Salisbury Greenhouses.

A post-tour seminar — Combos That Heat Up Sales — will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Coast Edmonton East Hotel. Combination baskets and planters are the biggest growth area in floriculture and continue to increase! Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farms takes a humorous look at products that your customers will grab and buy, as well as what they usually ignore.

Alberta Produce


8 to 8:50 a.m. — You Can’t Heat an Oven with Snowballs!, by Dr. Larry Helms, in the keynote address. Dr. Helms will offer a humorous, but thought-provoking presentation based on humorist/philosopher Will Rogers’s comment that: “If you are going to be successful in life, you have to know what you are doing – you have to believe in what you are doing and you have to love what you are doing.”
9 to 9:50 a.m. — Automation & Mechanization That Make Cents: a Decision-Making Process, by Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm. Traven is known for leading the way for small operations to mechanize and automate in areas typically limited to mega-growers only.
10 to 10:30 a.m. —  Spent Greenhouse Substrate for Ornamental Production, by Dr. Nick Savidov, Alberta Agriculture. Trials have shown that spent greenhouse substrate can create a better condition for root development than the standard medium used in the industry, and can substantially increase production.
10:30 to 10:50 a.m. —  Nursery Grower’s Survey,  by Karen Paul of Serecon. Featured will be the results of the recent Commercial Tree Nursery Market Outlook study.
10 to 10:50 a.m. — Functional Aesthetics: Water Plants with Purpose, by Stuart Bronson  of Water Garden Specialists Inc. Bronson will discuss the aesthetics, characteristics and function water plants play in the pond environment and how they interact to create a successful pond ecosystem.
11 to noon — Cost Accounting, Profitability & Keeping Something for Yourself, by Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm. Traven shares a straightforward, repeatable pricing method for different crops that will give you an accurate cost-accounting method using data you already have.
11 to noon —  Romancing the Customer, by Dr. Larry Helms. The emphasis is on value-added customer relations, a truly dynamic practical program that focuses on “no-cost” or “low-cost” things that any person can do to improve customer service.
12:15 to 1:15 p.m. — AGM and luncheon of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association (AGGA) at the Shaw Conference Centre. Pre-registration required for luncheon. 
7 p.m. — AGGA Awards Banquet at the Shaw Conference Centre, celebrating industry excellence. Pre-registration is required.

7 to 7:50 a.m. —  Show Me The Money, by Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza, Alberta Agriculture, and Nabi Chaudhary, Alberta Agriculture. In any business, especially the greenhouse business, profitability also means sustainability. Dr. Mirza and Nabi Chaudhary will show you how to make money, or lose it if production issues and finances are not given attention and handled intelligently.
8 to 8:50 a.m. — Become a Healthy Business Owner: Live Longer, Healthier and Happier, Friday’s keynote presentation by Dr. Larry Ohlhauser. Join Dr. Ohlhauser as he shows you how to take accountability for your health.
9 to 9:50 a.m. —  Production, Packaging and Marketing of Peppers, by Dr. Nishan Antaal of Southshore Greenhouses Inc. This presentation will emphasize the importance of climate control and its impact on plant growth and production, pest management, irrigation, and nutrient supply management, as well as the packaging and marketing of peppers.
9 to 9:50 a.m. — Top 10 Misconceptions about Plant Nutrient Management, by Dr. Kimberly Williams of Kansas State University. Williams will focus on a “top 10 list” of common misconceptions about plant nutrient management, especially as they relate to plug and transplant production.
9 to 9:50 a.m. — The Future of Garden Centre Retailing, by Karl Stensson of Sheridan Nurseries. Hear how this progressive Ontario company competes against mass merchants, and how it has actually grown in the competitive Toronto marketplace.
10 to 10:50 a.m. — The Edema Dilemma, by Dr. Kimberly Williams of Kansas State University. While environmental conditions have been primarily implicated in its occurrence, Williams will share recent research results that provide insight into a variety of causes and cures for this perplexing disorder.
10 to 10:50 a.m. — Ten Favourite Herbs, by Lloyd Traven of Peace Tree Farm. Traven will cover propagation, production tips, problems, and scheduling tips and techniques.
10 to 10:50 a.m. — Green Initiatives for Garden Centres, by Karl Stensson of Sheridan Nurseries. Stensson will share some of the initiatives Sheridan Nurseries have undertaken in their business, and what they have done to make the public aware of their “green” activities.
11 to 11:50 a.m. — Established & Emerging Insects & Diseases, by Gail Rankin of Rankin Horticulture Consulting. Insect and disease identification, as well as damage and control treatments will be covered. Emerging insects, such as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), will be discussed.
11 to 11:50 a.m. —  Foreign Worker Programs panel discussion with Doyle Brandt of Sunset Growers; Lorie Bouw of Dentooms Greenhouses; Dean Falkenberg of Greenview Nurseries; and Alan Dooley of Alberta Agriculture. Nigel Bowles of Landscape Alberta is the moderator.
11 to 11:50 a.m. — Alberta Perennial Trials, by Corinne Hannah of the Calgary Zoo. This is a research and demonstration project that evaluates new perennials in the Alberta region. Plants are trialled at the Calgary Zoo, Olds College and the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton for a period of three seasons.
11 to 11:50 a.m. — Favorite New Plants for the Prairies, by Dr. Philip Ronald of Jeffries Nurseries Ltd., Mike Byland of Bylands Nurseries Ltd., and Anita Heuver of Eagle Lake Nurseries Ltd. This panel of well-known and respected breeders and nursery growers will share what they think are some of the best new plants for the Prairies and why.

For more conference information, call 800-378-3198 or visit


Support for Blossoms for the Cure in Alberta is growing.

Last year, this fundraising campaign of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association generated a $5,050 donation to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

One dollar is donated to the Foundation with each purchase of a Blossoms for the Cure item. Participating retailers place bright blue tags on plant products they’ve set aside for the campaign.

The funds are directed towards a range of cancer prevention, research and treatment programs throughout the province.

The campaign was started a few years ago by Carol Maier, of Country Road Greenhouses Inc., in Sherwood Park. She had lost a cousin to the disease in December 2006, and Blossoms for the Cure was launched in her cousin’s memory.

“Customer response was great,” recalls Maier, “and the program was easy to run. It was so successful at my greenhouse, I decided to share it with other greenhouses.”

The AGGA didn’t need any coaxing to adopt the campaign, and 17 greenhouses signed on in 2007.

The program is flexible. Individual growers and retailers decide what products to sell as Blossoms for the Cure, and when in the year they’ll participate. In 2007, the focus was on assorted hanging baskets and containers.

Maier hopes the campaign will go countrywide.

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