Research is Creating New Knowledge
This issue of The Cut Flower Quarterly offers a valuable overview of the status of cut flower research. Read on pages 50-51 the many accomplishments of Dr. Harold Wilkins, one of this country’s foremost floriculture scientists. His passion for introducing new species into the industry and figuring out how to produce them commercially; his lifetime of mentoring undergraduate and graduate students; and his generous and gentle soul combined to make him an important and beloved figure in the floral industry.
Dr. John Dole, who co-authored Floriculture: Principles and Species with Harold Wilkins, is also somewhat Harold’s heir apparent. John’s body of cut flower research is remarkable for its depth and breadth. Harold helped to fuel his interest in cut flowers which led to John’s lifelong career in cut flowers.
Though by training a soil scientist, Dr. Melanie Stock of Utah State University is now working with cut flower growers in the intermountain west on best practices for ranunculus and peony production, and has started a new project on early-flowering anemone.
Both these researchers have received funding from the ASCFG Research Foundation, which is completely supported by contributions from cut flower growers like you—like the ones listed in this issue. Please do your best to keep these kinds of investigations possible, and donate to the Research Foundation this month. If every member who joined in the last three months (see pages 44-48) sent just $25 to the Foundation, the level of funds awarded to applicants can be raised for the 2021 cycle.
At the same time, cut flower growers like Rachel Cross of Spirit of Walloon Market Garden in Michigan are conducting research on a different scale and in a different environment—on their own farms and in their greenhouses. Grassroots experimentation like this, regardless of the outcome, is what keeps the cut flower industry healthy and moving forward. Growers are most aware of the issues affecting the health and productivity of their cut flower crops, and are sometimes the ideal investigators.
Partnerships with land grant universities and cooperative extension agencies can provide additional resources, experience, and sometimes materials and equipment.
When you’re ready to investigate an issue on your farm, whether in the field or the greenhouse, or if it has to do with economies of cut flower production or marketing, consider applying for an ASCFG Grower Grant. Science being science, you may not achieve the goal you were hoping for, but you will certainly learn more about research than you knew before, making you a better flower farmer.