CHREF Research for 2021

Colorado Horticulture Research and Education Foundation Funded Research for 2021

The CHREF Board of Directors met by Zoom on Friday, December 6, 2020 and heard research reports from CSU personnel on research funded for the calendar year 2020 and heard requests for 2021 calendar year. The following four projects were approved for funding 2021.

1. Woody Plant and Herbaceous Perennial Evaluation for High Plains and Rocky Mountain Region
Both the Arboretum and Perennial Demonstration Garden at Colorado State University have several established areas for evaluation trials. These areas provide a strong foundation for scientific plant evaluation for the Rocky Mountain Areas and High Plains area. The grant from CHREF for 2021 will help us to create more space for evaluation of woody plants in an area south of Horticulture Center on the CSU campus. It will also allow us to help maintain the arboretum and perennial garden and also improve the website and educational outreach of the arboretum and perennial garden. Grant also will help to cover cost in producing published reports based on our annual evaluation along with herbaceous perennial collection and updating our website.

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GreenCO 2021 Legislative Priorities

The  first regular session of the Seventy-Third General Assembly will convene on January 13th, 2021. How the session is going to look is still up in the air, due to COVID-19. Safety has been the main topic on how the General Assembly should move forward. One option that has been discussed is that they may convene on the 13th and then break for a month or two as more people will be getting vaccinated. As the state expects to see another budget shortfall, it is unlikely many bills will pass that have a negative fiscal impact to the state.

With the state budget woes, it is anticipated that the General Assembly will be working on similar legislation to HB20-1420-Adjust Tax Expenditures For State Education Fund, which will look to cut certain tax expenditures the state offers in order to fill the gaps in the budget. As many bills died last year, because of both the fiscal note as well as the priority to pass legislation pertaining to COVID-19 relief, many bills could . . .

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What To Do If Your Receive an Unsolicited Package of Seeds

Washington, D.C., August 4, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urges anyone who receives an unsolicited package of seeds to mail those seeds to the location listed here for your state. If more than one location is listed for your state, please select the location closest to your residence.

Instructions for Mailing Seed Packets:

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Favorite Plants for Pollinator Gardens

There is nothing as inspiring as sitting in your garden looking at your flowers and watching the face of a child light up when they see a butterfly flit over the Pentas or a hummingbird hover by the Salvia or bees busily buzzing from Alyssum to Nepeta blooms. Even as an adult, watching pollinators at work is fascinating!

If you are serious about attracting these lovely creatures, a garden that includes plants for the entire life cycles of the pollinator will be best. There are several parts to the cycle (depending on which pollinator we are talking about) but, food (nectar source), shelter, water and in some cases host plants are what you need. Plant with intention for these needs. 

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Tips For Continuing Business When Your Customers Stay at Home

After weeks of confusing and varied COVID-19 information and new guidelines governing how we do business, many of us find ourselves working remotely. Ours is a hands-on industry, so adapting to this new world requires far more than a shift to a home office. Fortunately, we're a creative bunch finding innovative solutions. Here are some tips and ideas on how to continue business from home. 
                      Photo Source 

Online Ordering, Curbside Pickup and Delivery

With so many families confined to their homes, the yard and garden are both an escape and a focal point. The demand for plants is there, but many customers are uncomfortable with the idea of entering retail spaces. Online ordering systems have been a lifesaver for garden centers and nurseries. Curbside pickup and delivery also keep contact to a minimum and keep staff employed.

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Making it Work!

How are your colleagues in Colorado and New Mexico living with the new COVID-19 guidelines? We will post stories here as we receive them - and please submit to [email protected] if you would like to share. How has your business been affected? Are you still fulfilling orders? Any order cancellations? Delivery issues?  Any insights would be appreciated and useful for other members to know. 

Here is feedback from CNGA members on the how they are adjusting their operations . . .

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Marketing Ideas in the COVID-19 Atmosphere

Please contribute your ideas in the comments below! Or email to [email protected]. Know that you are not in this alone!

Keep Your Social Media Fresh and Post Often

Make sure your social media presence is refreshed. Best practices recommend posting about once a day, so that you remain in your customers’ minds but do not annoy them by posting too much. Alternate posting something relating to your business with a post relating to gardening/planting/benefits of being outdoors. Social media post ideas here.

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March 26 Colorado Stay-Home Order

As of March 26, the entire state is under a Stay-at-Home order, which has been extended to expire April 26.  Based on the Order, dated March 25, CNGA believes that most businesses in the green industry fall into one or more exemption categories. For horticulture growers, your business determination as ‘critical’ is pretty straightforward – you are considered agriculture. For landscape contractors, suppliers and other green industry professionals, the determination is a bit more nuanced.

As you can see from the categories on the list, they are very general (see below) and while we can offer guidance, businesses that must make the determination for themselves and communicate carefully with employees and customers. Read further clarification about agricultural businesses from Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Kate Greenberg. 

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New Mexico Stay-at-Home Order

Read the Stay-at-Home Order here.

The state of NM lists the following businesses as essential businesses which may remain open: (our comments in parentheses)

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Trends and The Evolution of Your Business

So, what are some trends in the green industry? One big one I’d
say these days is change. Change is inevitable—even in a down-home
industry like horticulture. I’m lucky enough to be able to draw on
several generations of experiences in the nursery business to gain
perspective on how quickly things can change.

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the nursery industry in Colorado was
very different! There were no plastic containers for year-round sales—
all trees, shrubs and perennials were sold either bare-root or balled and
burlapped. That meant that your sales windows were . . .

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Fertilizer Tax Exemption Highlights 2019 Legislative Session

The 2019 Colorado General Assembly Legislative Session concluded on May 3rd. There were 654 bills introduced, 136 bills died and the Governor signed 368 bills into law and vetoed 5 bills. For the first time in 20 years the legislature worked on the weekend. Throughout the session Colorado business community found themselves on the defensive. There were a few things that were priorities of leadership and the Governor’s office that did not pass which we will see comeback next year.

We are proud to report that HB19-1329, a bill that exempts wholesale greenhouses from paying sales tax on fertilizer was passed and signed by Governor Polis. This is a huge win for our industry and will save thousands of dollars to member companies. For more information on specific bills, read the full summary report.

Diverse Training Can Help Your Employees Thrive

The knowledge of managers, supervisors and employees is very important in an independent garden center. Many clients bring in samples and questions that require solutions to various aspects of their yards and gardens, making it important to train all employees from entry level to upper management.

All training for Osuna employees takes place within business hours and they are paid to attend. Participation in training programs and events is counted favorably in annual employee evaluations, which helps with advancement within the company. Employee training in the off season is  . . .

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Fertilizer Receives Tax Exempt Status

CNGA has been working closely with Hicks & Associates, our lobbyist via GreenCO on HB19-1329 to exempt wholesale companies from paying tax on fertilizer inputs. We’re happy to report the bill passed and is headed to the Governor for signature!

During an audit with the Department of Revenue, a CNGA member was informed that they would need to pay sales tax on fertilizer inputs. The member contacted CNGA and we started research. Through our research, we found that Colorado Revised Statute 35-12-103 (30) considers fertilizers used at nurseries & greenhouses as “specialty fertilizers” and therefore are not tax exempt. Since our industry is considered agriculture, and all of the other agriculture industries are exempt, we took action . . .

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Why I Like Shopping at Garden Centers

Even though I’m a new member to the CNGA under the heading of a garden educator, I feel like I know many of you from years of plant shopping in the Denver area. If I haven’t shopped in your store I bet I know your store name or a friend who shops there. It’s a pleasure writing and sharing my plant shopping experiences and observations for the upcoming season.

I’ve never been in your shoes of growing large quantities of plants and ordering all the accessories from soil to hats that any level of gardener will want to put in their shopping cart and take home. It seems daunting and I must give you great praise for successfully keeping at it all these years while ebbing and flowing with the changing ways plants and products are sold. Between the internet, social media and mass merchant box stores, the adaptation curve must . . .

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Family Medical Leave Insurance Legislation

On April 23, 2019, SB19-188 the Family Medical Leave Insurance Program (FAMLI) was heard for the second time on the Senate Floor. This Bill will have a significant impact on Colorado businesses. The Bill creates the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program and the Division of Family and Medical Leave Insurance in the Department of Labor and Employment to provide partial wage replacement benefits to an eligible individual who takes leave from work:

  • To care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition;
  • Because the eligible individual is unable to work due to the individual's own serious health condition or because the individual or a family member is the victim of abusive behavior; or
  • Due to certain needs arising from a family member's active duty service.

Each employee will pay 40% of a premium and the employer will pay 60% the cost of a premium as specified in the Bill. The premium will be based . . .

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The Hidden Power of Gardening

The word “power” seems an unlikely metaphor for gardening, however the energizing force of spring’s arrival creates a drive within us that is indeed powerful. What is so compelling about gardening that motivates so many of us to endure the aching muscles and dirty fingernails that seem to be a part of the endeavor?

Perhaps the most basic of our needs as human beings are somehow met in our interaction within these spaces that surround and become a part of our homes. Our gardens provide opportunities for creative expression, physical activity, a harvest of food and a connection to the forces and the beauty of the natural world. Every garden is unique as we are individually and this individuality gives us a power to  . .

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Career Fairs Help Us Hire Good People

Arbor Valley Nursery started participating in career fairs in 2017. In less than two years, the company found two key employees at Colorado State University career events and other employees at county job fairs.

We decided it was a good way to get people thinking “Arbor Valley” and increase our brand recognition. Even if we did not find employees, we would increase our presence at CSU and in the community and position ourselves as thought leaders and as an opportunity within the industry. One thing we have realized is that many of the students that we meet at career fairs will . . .

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