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your industry pulse.

By jlew1977, Dec 17 2015 01:04PM

The Wisconsin Green Industry Federation is currently accepting donations for their 2016 online auction scheduled to go live on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th of 2016. Last year's auction was extremely successful as the WGIF raised about $9,000 and received many donations from their associations and its members.


"I believe last year's auction was so successful because we had the strong participation and generous donorship from literally all of our associations" said John Lewandowski, auction committee chairman. "There is no doubt in my mind, and there is no reason to think that our 2016 auction won't be just as successful if not more successful than last year's if our associations and their members once again rise to the occasion. And I'm quite confident they will." John explained that combining the notion that those who donated in the past now understand the easy process of making a donation- and now that the public is aware of the annual auction, there is a legitimate reason to have very high hopes for the auction in 2016.


"We're counting on those who generously donated last year to once again make a donation this year. That, along with recruiting new donors- which our auction committee has been actively doing, is our focus." he went on to say. "Donating is very easy, plus it's a great way to get your business noticed as the public will be the majority of the people bidding."


Mr. Lewandowski said that the "hot" items in last year's auction were gift cards, garden decor, sports memorabilia, and sporting event or concert tickets. He wants all businesses to keep in mind that they aren't limited to just donating what their business offers, especially if they aren't a retail operation. "I encourage you to consider making a donation that you think the public will find exciting. Obviously if the item generates excitement, it will most likely be bid on and may even possibly create a bidding war, which is what we want!"


Making a donation is pretty easy. Simply click HERE.


All money raised goes toward strengthening the W.G.I.F.; an important umbrella organization that gives a voice in governmental affairs that affect Wisconsin's valuable green industry.


Learn more about the W.G.I.F. HERE



By jlew1977, Dec 17 2015 01:01PM

Swedish researchers have assembled electronics inside the stems and leaves of rose cuttings.


Talk about flower power. Researchers have crafted flexible electronic circuits inside a rose. Eventually such circuitry may help farmers eavesdrop on their crops and even control when they ripen. The advance may even allow people to harness energy from trees and shrubs not by cutting them down and using them for fuel, but by plugging directly into their photosynthesis machinery.


Flexible electronics are made from pliable organic materials. That makes them potentially compatible with tissues and has spurred research efforts to use them to diagnose and treat diseases. “Organic electronics is booming in the area of medical applications,” says Magnus Berggren, a materials scientist and electrical engineer at Linköping University, Norrköping, in Sweden and a leader in devising such medical applications.


About 15 years ago one of Berggren’s plant biology colleagues asked whether it would be possible to place electronics inside trees in order to eavesdrop on the biochemical processes going on there. If so, perhaps they could control, for example, precisely when a tree flowers. “We thought it was a joke,” Berggren says. After all, he notes, biologists have made steady strides in genetic engineering techniques to control myriad biochemical functions in plants. However, genetically engineered plants have a much harder time being approved for release in Sweden than they do in the United States. “We felt those technologies were never going to make it into the forests and fields here,” Berggren says. So a couple of years ago he and his colleagues decided to give electronic plants a second look.


Their idea was to use the plants’ own architecture and biology to help them assemble devices on the inside. To do so, they aimed to assemble polymer-based “wires” on the inside of a plant’s xylem, the tubelike channel that transports water up a plant’s stem to the leaves. They thought that if they could dissolve conducting polymer building blocks in water, perhaps plants could pull them up the channels and link them together into wires.


Berggren and his colleagues tried more than a dozen different polymer electronic building blocks. They dissolved them in water, then placed roses—either with intact roots or cut at the stem—in the water to see whether the organics would be wicked upward. All of the building blocks either clogged the base of the stem or didn’t assemble into wires.


Finally they tried an organic electronic building block called PEDOT-S:H. Each of these building blocks consists of a short, repeating chain of a conductive organic molecule with short arms coming off each link of the chain. Each of the arms sports a sulfur-containing group linked to a hydrogen atom. Berggren’s group found that when they placed them in the water, the rose stems readily pulled the short polymer chains up the xylem channels. The intact plants pulled the organics up through the roots as well, though much more slowly, Berggren says. Once inside, the chemistry in those channels pulled the hydrogen atoms off the short arms, a change that prompted the sulfur groups on neighboring chains to bind together. The upshot was that the myriad short polymer chains quickly linked themselves together into continuous strings as long as 10 centimeters. The researchers then added electronic probes to opposite ends of these strings, and found that they were, in fact, wires, conducting electricity all down the line.


Once that worked, Berggren’s team added other electronic patches on the surface of their rose stems to create transistors that were able to switch the current in a wire on and off. As they report today in Science Advances, they went on to use a set of different techniques to show they could get leaves to take up organic electronics, essentially creating an array of pixels. By applying different voltages to the pixels, they could change their colors to create a living display.


“It sounds really cool,” says Zhenan Bao, an organic electronics expert at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Though after a quick read of the paper, Bao says she’s not clear what the application would be.


Berggren says he, too, is just beginning to try to sort that out. One possibility, he says, is to embed electronic sensors in a few plants in a field to detect when they begin to release hormones that initiate the process of flowering or other changes in the plant. This could allow growers to better time watering and fertilizer applications to aid the plants. In time, he adds, it may even be possible to use plant electronics to speed or delay the onset of flowering to protect them from coming harsh weather. Finally, he says, perhaps in the distant future it may be possible to harness plants’ photosynthesis abilities to generate electricity directly, enabling us to reap the sun’s power without destroying the plants.


Article Source: sciencemag.org


By jlew1977, Sep 28 2015 11:43AM

Every spring, breeders and plant producers roll out their new varieties for the coming year. Throughout the summer, these breeders and producers have a chance to see these varieties in a number of trials, and in some cases, in their own backyard with breeder samples. Although not all encompassing, John Steinlage of Michell's has put together a list of some of the top new varieties that he thinks will be hits for spring of 2016.


Begonia Nonstop Joy Yellow. The Begonia Nonstop Joy Yellow is a new addition to the Nonstop series from Benary. It is specifically targeted for baskets and has performed very well in outdoor containers this summer.


Celosia Dragons Breath. Sakata introduced the Celosia Dragons Breath at the California Spring Trials. This plant features beautifully red colored foliage and flower plumes that continue to make a show as they mature. This could be produced as both a spring and fall crop and would do well in the landscape.


Petunia Pitaya. A new addition to Danziger's Cascadia series, this Petunia is large flowered with a nice habit for baskets. This is a good alternative to other pink and green bicolor varieties on the market.


Salvia Grandstands. A new Salvia Splendens series from Green Fuse Botanicals. The Grandstands feature greater landscape performance and continuous flowering. It has not flushed in and out of flower like alternatives from seed. Five colors are available.


Supercalibrichoa Light Yellow. Another introduction from Sakata, the Supercal Light Yellow has looked great in all the trials I have seen this summer. This petchoa features large flowers with a cross of Calibrachoa and Petunia genetics.


Petunia Hells Series. Westhoff showcased the Petunia Hells series at the California Spring Trials. These

mounding petunias have uniquely iridescent colors that are very eye catching.


Bicolor Bidens. This year we saw a couple of introductions of bicolor bidens. Suntory introduced the new Beedance series with two colors, Painted Red (left) and Red Stripe (right). We also saw an introduction from Proven Winners of the bidens Campfire Fireburst. Although quite vigorous, both series are more controlled than previous bicolor bidens and would make good additions to mixed combos.


Diascia My Darling. Dümmen Orange introduced this new series of fragrant and floriferous Diascia this spring. The My Darling series was introduced with three colors; Berry, Peach, and Clementine. All three appear to have a well matched habit and are great for early spring production.


For more info about these varieties contact:


John Steinlage

Michell's

jsteinlage@michells.com

616-630-6771


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