Watch the Numbers By Diane Pirocanac

There are a lot of numbers floating around in the marketplace today. Numbers representing sales, numbers representing jobs and numbers representing spending are pervasive in newspapers and on the Web. And you know how tricky numbers can be.

Even Big Grower has a “numbers” story this issue. Consulting editor Dr. Jim Barrett from the University of Florida and a principal of The Visions Group examines the numbers in the USDA’s latest survey of the floriculture industry. See page 32.

The bottom line, according to Dr. Barrett, is be careful. The numbers in the 2006 survey by themselves are not representative of the entire market. Interpretation of those numbers requires consideration of a number of variables, including geography, weather and the economy. The number of states surveyed was cut by more than half from 2005 to 2006, with many key floriculture/nursery states omitted from the research. In fact, due to federal budget cuts, this 36-state survey was first canceled and then reinstated with the significantly smaller sample size of 15 states.

The industry needs this type of data, but it should be more extensive and more representative of the market. We should call on our representatives to strengthen this data with more complete research. If we have a more complete picture of the floriculture market, our suppliers will continue to invest in the innovation that helps us grow great products.

Think Beyond Pink

As you place your orders for next spring, you might want to take a look at the Pantone Fashion Color Report Spring 2008. Each season, the color company surveys designers about prominent colors used in clothing collections. The resulting report is used as a reference tool by retailers and others who need to follow color trends.

If women — the industry’s key consumer demographic — are focusing their apparel choices on certain color combinations, it’s likely that other decorating choices they make will follow along those same color lines. So growers should be thinking beyond pink.

According to the report, neutrals splashed with bright color make up the primary color palette for spring 2008. Other important colors will be variations on “energizing red, cool waterborne blue and eco-friendly green.” The report lists the top-10 spring colors for women including Snorkel Blue, Daiquiri Green, Silver Gray and, of course, Pink Mist. You can learn more about the color trends and get a copy of the report at

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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.

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