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SNA News

Welcome to SNA's News Center – designed to provide you with timely and relevant information about the Southern Nursery Association, press releases and industry news alerts.
  • 27 Jan 2015 2:18 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)
    The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has recently named SNA member and researcher Sandy Wilson interim chair of the Environmental Horticulture Department.


    Sandy WilsonInterim Chair

    University of Florida

    Following is a commentary by IFAS leader Jack Payne about his decision to hire Wilson for this important job.

    UF/IFAS has 14 academic departments and two schools, so I spend a lot of time finding the right people to lead them. Finding a new chair for the Department of Environmental Horticulture was easy, because I already employed an ideal candidate in Ft. Pierce.

    Sandy Wilson has done outstanding research and teaching, she has boundless enthusiasm, and she has what it takes to lead.

    Dr. Wilson is known for her work on the invasive potential of ornamental species. Because I’m the senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources at UF, that’s exactly the kind of work I believe is so crucial for Florida. We must help industry identify opportunities for profit while protecting natural resources that help make Florida such a great place to live – and to visit.

    She’s also an expert ornamental propaGator (our UF computers automatically capitalize Gator in any context!), an active participant in industry events, and what I call a Friend of Ben – someone who has built a strong relationship with Ben Bolusky, CEO of the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association. Her dedication to the land-grant mission of research, Extension and teaching make her a valuable asset to IFAS and to stakeholders.

    I always say you can expect great things from IFAS, and here’s what you can expect from Sandy:
    • More attention to garnering national awards for our students and faculty.
    • Efforts to increase undergraduate and graduate student enrollment – including at the Gulf Coast Research & Education Center’s Plant City campus.
    • Advocacy for more resources so the department can do more for the industry. She began talking about the need for more faculty to complement the 30-member department before she even moved to Gainesville!
    • A continued commitment to solid science.
    • Leadership involvement in the industry. She was the most recent guest speaker at the FNGLA Frontrunner Chapter meeting, introduced herself to a number of the industry vendors at the recent FNGLA Landscape show in Orlando, and is looking forward to attending the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition in January. She’ll continue to serve on the board of the American Society for Horticultural Science as vice president of education and is an active member of the International Plant Propagation Society, in addition to a number of other plant organizations.
    It’s important for us to have someone like Sandy who has cultivated strong ties with FNGLA. Industry input helps keep our research relevant. Her hire also demonstrates our gratitude for industry support in the form of research funding, scholarships, letters of support for grant applications and use of nursery lands for demonstration projects.

    Although Sandy is more noted for building a large teaching botanical garden at the Indian River Research and Education Center, her yard in her home in Ft. Pierce contains a diverse mixture of leftovers from student projects: firebush, Simpson’s stopper and wild coffee.

    Please welcome Sandy. She can be reached on her mobile phone at 772-834-7619 or by email at The department website is
  • 13 Jan 2015 5:49 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Today’s Garden Center recently released The Revolutionary 100 Garden Center List. The program, which began in 2006, surveys garden center owners and managers, throughout the country, on how they manage their businesses. The competition, open to all local garden centers, is on financial performance, management styles, merchandising, marketing, and any other areas that determine if a garden store thrives.

    SNA members Johnson Nursery and Garden Center, Cookeville, TN and Ooltewah Nursery & Landscape Co., Ooltewah,TN made the list of revolutionary garden centers in the Southeast. 

    Johnson Nursery and Garden Center has been in business for 44 years, has one location with 5 acres in retail and 3 acres in growing. They were chosen because, "We are always trying to find the newest plants from the breeders. "We usually are one or two years ahead of mass production of new plants, and this gives us time to grow some for trial. We can give our customers a better recommendation on the new plants after we see how well it performs in our climate zone." For more information on Johnson Nursery and Garden Center visit their website.

    Ooltewah Nursery & Landscape Company has been in business 26 years, has one location with 8 acres in retail and 1/2 acre in growing. They were chosen for their hanging garden built and installed at the front of the new 2,500 square foot flower pavilion (a 2012 building project). The garden is designed to frame and beautify the portico and draw attention with vertical wow factor. For more details on this project CLICK HERE. Or visit their website.

    White's Nursery & Greenhouses has been in business 28 years with one location, 25,000 square feet of retail space and 40 acres of growing. They were chosen for their fresh, high-quality product and excellent customer service. "We are unique in that we have 40 acres of product growing here on our farm that supports our retail store. Being able to provide fresh, high-quality product at a value is definitely a customer draw. Mr. White is always trialing new products and we are able to get it out to our customers through our retail for them to have a “one of a kind” plant!" In addition, they increased their center's profitability by going up in prices to obtain a 55 percent margin average on sales. They purchased a few new displays and built some new structures in our nursery (tree, shrub and perennial) division to enhance traffic flow and displays.

    For more information on Today's Garden Center Revolutionary 100 Garden Center and a complete list of the 2015 winners CLICK HERE.

  • 13 Jan 2015 5:25 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Dan Bremer, President of AgWorks, Inc. and its H2 consulting affiliate, has announced changes to accompany increased use of the federal H-2A guestworker program.

    The H-2A program is the legal way agricultural employers fill seasonal positions when sufficient U.S. workers can’t be found. While H-2A visas are limited to temporary or seasonal jobs, H-2A workers can be readmitted to work for the same employer year after year. Employment terms and conditions are regulated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Worker admissions are regulated by Homeland Security and the Department of State.

    Mr. Bremer spent more than twenty years in senior leadership roles with the U.S. Department of Labor and founded AgWorks to ensure that clients receive maximum benefit from the program while minimizing potential liabilities. AgWorks provides consulting services to H-2A employers in twenty states and, measured by number of seasonal guest workers employed by its clients, is the largest such firm in the U.S.

    Overall the H-2A program grew by 16% in fiscal year 2013 and 18% in fiscal year 2014. Mr. Bremer believes that the future of the H-2A program will include continued growth and increased need for highly skilled representation of agricultural employer interests.

    AgWorks investment in that future includes the recent addition of Mrs. Merritt Myers Wall as Vice President – Industry Outreach and Government Relations. Mrs. Wall’s fourteen year career in federal government includes work with both U.S. Senator Zell Miller and U.S. Representative Jack Kingston. She was principal policy and legislative adviser to the Senator during his tenure on the Agriculture Committee and was Legislative Director, Field Representative, Agricultural Liaison and District Director for Congressman Kingston.

    Mrs. Wall joins Mr. Bremer, long time Vice Presidents Ms. Patricia Hall and Mrs. Ellen Hendley, and other professional and administrative staff at AgWorks’ headquarters in Lake Park, Georgia. 

    For more information, please contact

  • 13 Jan 2015 4:49 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    St. Paul, MN (January 12, 2015) – Bailey Nurseries is excited to announce the acquisition of Plant Introductions, Inc. (PII), effective January 1, 2015. Widely recognized as a leader in plant breeding, PII has developed numerous innovative new varieties that have been marketed worldwide, many introduced by Bailey Nurseries.

    Since the introduction of Endless Summer® The Original, Bailey Nurseries and PII partners Dr. Michael Dirr, Jeff Beasley and Mark Griffith have developed a strong association. This relationship has expanded in the years since with PII breeding genetics for the Endless Summer® Hydrangea and First Editions® Plants collections.

    "This new venture is a natural progression in our relationship with Dr. Dirr, Jeff Beasley and Mark Griffith," says Bailey Nurseries' President Terri McEnaney. "We have built such a collaborative rapport over the last 20 years, and we are incredibly excited to continue the groundbreaking work of PII here at Bailey Nurseries. We are also delighted that Jeff, Mark and Dr. Dirr will be staying on board to consult on breeding, plant trials and market trends."

    "Mark, Jeff and I are enthusiastic about what has been achieved at PII and its future with Bailey Nurseries," PII founding partner Dr. Michael Dirr replies. "We share a mutual passion for this industry and look forward to the potential of this exciting endeavor."

    With the acquisition of PII, Bailey Nurseries solidifies its position to supply cutting-­‐edge genetics and new introductions to domestic and international markets. This enables Bailey Nurseries to best support the industry and consumer demand with exceptional new varieties.

    For a photo and more info CLICK HERE.

  • 16 Dec 2014 12:04 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)
    Our Deepest Sympathy Goes Out to the Edwards Family

    We are saddened with the news that SNA Past President Larry David Edwards (71)  passed away yesterday due to complications of a stroke he suffered two weeks ago. David, his son, said he passed away peacefully and for that the family is thankful.

    A celebration of his life will be at The Holden Beach Chapel conducted by Dr. John Gray on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM preceded by visitation from 1:00 to 2:00 in the Fellowship Hall. A memorial service will be held on Friday December 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM preceded with visitation 10:30 to 12:30 at Coddle Creek ARP Church in Mooresville conducted by Rev. James Hunt. A family burial will be in High Point, NC.

    Funeral arrangements are being handled by White Funeral Service in Shallotte, NC; Cook-Cavin Funeral Home in Mooresville, NC; and Cumby Family Funeral Service in High Point, NC.

    Larry David Edwards was born June 1, 1943 to Wilbur and Edna Edwards of Fayetteville, NC. Larry attended Fayetteville High School and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill where he was on the golf team and a big basketball fan. From 1967 to 1970, he was a math teacher at North Mecklenburg High School. Larry and his family founded and have operated Turtle Creek Nursery outside of Davidson for over 40 years. Many organizations have benefited from his leadership including Southern Nursery Association (Pres. 1993), North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Assoc. (Pres. 1986) and Trustee of The Holden Beach Chapel. He was a member of The First Baptist Church of Huntersville, NC and The Holden Beach Interdenominational Chapel.

    Larry served on the SNA Board of Directors from 1989 - 1994, serving as president in 1993. During his administration, he set the goal to increase membership and placed emphasis on marketing by gearing programs to the retailer. He also challenged the board and staff to closely watch expenses and be more conservative, and there were many in-depth discussions on the finances of SNA. Larry brought several ideas to the table for cutting expenses and how generate additional income. A major milestone of the Edwards administration was SNA’s agreement to co-sponsor the annual Southern Plant Conference along with the state association where the Conference was to be held.

    Larry also served five years on the Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund Board of Directors (1993 - 1997).

    During the six years he served on the SNA board Larry always had the best interest of SNA at heart. We are thankful for his service, his dedication, leadership, insight, and the many words of wisdom he (and Jane) so freely gave to the SNA. He touched the lives of many with his warm and caring personality and he will be missed by all that knew him.

    His term as SNA president is highlighted in The History of the Southern Nursery Association, pages 87-88. This 100th anniversary publication can be found on the SNA website. CLICK HERE.

    Larry is predeceased by his parents, Wilbur and Edna Edwards, and his brother, Joseph Edwards of Fayetteville. He is survived by his wife of 48 years Jane Webb Edwards, son L. David Edwards, Jr. his wife Jennifer, and daughter Mary Ann Edwards all of Davidson. Larry loved his three granddaughters: Sydney, Ashley, and Madison Edwards who all gave him great joy and happiness. He also leaves 5 sisters-in-law Janice Webb Ayers (Bob), Dottie Webb Keever (Jim), Fran Webb White (Lathe), Jackie Webb Lewis (Cal), Mary Webb Marsteller (Doug), and brother-in-law Jim Webb (Marge) and 18 nieces and nephews.

    Larry loved the beauty of nature and growing things. He shared this love and his beautiful plants with many individuals, churches and facilities throughout his life. He was happiest caring for his nursery, his yards and others’ gardens that he blessed with his plants and care. He leaves much beauty for his family to enjoy.

    An online obituary and guest book can be viewed at To view the obituary and/or sign the guest book CLICK HERE.

    Sympathy notes can be mailed to Jane at the nursery at: 

    Jane Edwards
    Turtle Creek Nursery
    12037 Mooresville Rd.
    Davidson, NC 28036

    Memorial contributions may be made to Webb Heart Pillows, High Point Regional Hospital, PO Box HP5, High Point, NC 27261 or to the Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization providing horticultural scholarships across the Southeast, and contributions are tax deductible as charitable contributions. For more information contact the Sidney B. Meadows Scholarship Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 801513, Acworth, GA 30101, 678-813-1880,,
  • 08 Dec 2014 12:58 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Tracking numerous news articles on the economy and in particular, housing starts, has brought attention to the following article from Business Insider - in their Finance/Markets/Calculated Risks section. 

    The article, titled "America's Future Hasn't Looked This Good In Decades", contains numerous sources and 7 charts of indicators. It is very bullish on the US economy moving forward toward a long-term growth era. It is encouraging for all of us in the horticulture industry. To read the full story CLICK HERE.

  • 02 Dec 2014 5:19 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    The Department of Horticultural Science and the College of Agriculture and Life Science are pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Weathington as the new Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum. Mark has a long horticultural history, officially starting in the field in 1991 as Assistant Manager for Laurel Creek Nursery. He received his BS in Horticulture and Sociology from Virginia Tech in 1995 and his MS in Horticulture from Virginia Tech in 1999. Mark’s public garden experience commenced in 1996 as a Horticulturist for Atlanta Botanical Garden. In 1999 he joined the Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, Virginia, as Director of Horticulture and Facilities for the 155 acre garden. In 2007 Mark was appointed Assistant Director of the JCRA with a wide range of duties including curating collections, writing grants, and assisting in the Arboretum administration. Mark is a frequent and popular speaker, professing his love of plants and horticulture. 

    The JCRA is a nationally and internationally acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of plants for landscape use in the Southeast, especially in the area of woody ornamentals. The JCRA is well known for plant introductions and innovative programming and outreach.

  • 19 Nov 2014 10:15 AM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    Southern Nursery Association (SNA) has partnered with Meritus Payment Solutions to offer members exclusive pricing and reduced rates for payment processing services. Meritus Payment Solutions is the trusted global payments partner. With a client-first mentality, Meritus provides SNA members with global payment solutions that include mobile, credit and debit cards, Automated Clearing House (ACH), and more. SNA Members also benefit from proprietary products, such as Internet-based payment platform, Payment XP, Recurring Billing Manager, and advanced reporting tools. Meritus was built on a foundation of excellence and strives to shape the payment processing industry.

    "In researching various payment processing programs in an effort to save on the costs of payment processing I found Meritus to be the most competitive and offer the most savings. I received very positive references and feel confident that this relationship will not only offer savings to the association but to our members as well," Karen Summers, SNA Executive Vice President, stated.

    Meritus will be contacting SNA members in the coming weeks to introduce the new program and talk about the savings they can offer.

    Learn more about Meritus Payment Solutions at 

    Watch for more new SNA Members programs in the coming weeks!

  • 04 Nov 2014 4:30 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    The National Garden Bureau is sponsoring a fundraiser for Growing Solutions Farm, a vocational therapy garden for young adults with autism in downtown Chicago. Just recently, they found out that they are one of four non-profits eligible for a grant from Toro lawn equipment. They applied in September and were notified a few weeks ago that they are one of the four finalists. You can help them reach their goal by voting online on the Toro Facebook page. Click on the “Green Spaces make Great Places” post or tab and click on the video titled “Growing Solutions Farm” then vote. No registration is required nor do you have to like the Toro page. It’s one simple vote.

    Top vote getters will receive the $7,000 grant. Second place votes will receive $4,000 and third and fourth vote getters receive $2,000 each. Of course, they will be thankful for anything they get but $7k would certainly go further than $2k.

    And remember, you can vote once per day! Even better, after you vote, share the link on your company Facebook page, your personal Facebook page, and forward this information to your friends and family to multiply the impact!

  • 04 Nov 2014 3:31 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

    The North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA),  has announced the selection of Corey Connors as its new executive director.  Connors will fill the vacancy created by Ross Williams’ retirement, December 1, 2014.   The selection was made after a national search and selection process by NCNLA. 

    “We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” reported Michael Dickey, President of NCNLA. “Corey will bring leadership and vision to NCNLA’s programs and a deep sense of commitment to serving the green industry. His successful experience serving national trade associations as an advocate and coalition builder will guide NCNLA into a new era of service to our members.”  

    Connors served as Director of Legislative Relations for the American Nursery & Landscape Association from 2007 – 2010. In that capacity, he worked closely with state nursery and landscape associations across the country including the NCNLA. He provided leadership for many important regulatory and legislative issues through the ANLA Lighthouse Program. Since 2011 he has served as Senior Director of Government Relations for the Society of American Florists. His primary responsibilities at SAF have included advocacy and outreach, coalition development, and strategic planning. He created and managed the coalition to develop and support legislation addressing ACA compliance issues for highly seasonal employers and chaired the national Main Street Business Coalition. Connors received his Master of Arts degree from George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts from Clarion University. 

    “I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to work with North Carolina’s nursery and landscape industry again. I look forward to working with our dedicated volunteer leaders and staff to tell this industry’s great story: the products and services that NCNLA members provide offer far more value than meets the eye. They are essential investments that provide cost-effective, meaningful solutions to the consumer.”

    The North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association (NCNLA) represents growers, landscapers, retail garden centers, suppliers, horticulture students and educators. NCNLA’s ultimate goal is to benefit its members’ economic, professional and personal growth. More information about NCNLA can be found at

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