After nearly 75 years of supplying trees and shrubs for the horticulture industry, the L.E. Cooke Co. is closing its bare root nursery division.

Company president Ron Ludekens and CEO and general manager David H. Cox recently published a blog post covering the details behind the decision to cease operations. The 2018 spring shipping season will be the last for the Visalia, Calif.-based grower.

The nursery has a full product line that’s ready to ship for early 2018. Ludekens and Cox report that bookings have been solid for the 2017-18 season.

L.E. Cooke Co. is trying to license its introductions to other growers before the budwood orchards are removed.

The L.E. Cooke Supply Company that makes Miracle Garden Tie and imports the MAX Tapeners for distribution will continue as a separate business, but the only growing operation to continue will be a small nursery for grafted liner production to the nursery trade.

Ludekens’ and Cox’s letter states several reasons for the closure, including the challenges of producing a large, diverse blend of varieties, selling them to a declining independent nursery market, and regulatory issues like the state of California’s water use limitations in the wake of the post-recession drought.

For more: For details on the decision to close and the final selling season, visit

Ruth Bancroft dies at 109

Ruth Bancroft, founder of The Ruth Bancroft Garden, renowned horticulturist and dry garden pioneer, has died. She was 109. Bancroft died at home surrounded by family, and by the extensive private and public gardens she created and tended over 76 years of her lifetime.

Courtesy of The Ruth Bancroft Garden

Bancroft gained international recognition for her pioneering work in horticulture, demonstrating that a dry garden in the heart of a busy urban, inland corridor could be lush, diverse, and striking in design. Her garden was the inspiration for the founding of The Garden Conservancy in 1989, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving private gardens for public use. The Ruth Bancroft Garden was its first preservation project in 1992.

The Bancroft family and The Ruth Bancroft Garden will host a celebration of Ruth’s life in the Garden when weather permits in early 2018. Friends of Ruth and the family, supporters of the garden, and admirers will all be invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in honor of Bancroft be directed to benefit the mission of The Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. at 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek, Calif. 94598, via the garden website at, or text ALOE to 41444.

Dümmen Orange acquires McHutchison and Vaughan’s Horticulture

Dümmen Orange, a flower breeder and producer based in The Netherlands, has announced the acquisition of McHutchison and Vaughan’s Horticulture, two U.S.-based wholesale plant brokerage firms, to fulfil its strategic ambition for enhanced distribution and customer reach. Dümmen Orange breeder activities and McHutchison and Vaughan’s Horticulture brokerage activities will continue to be managed and operate as autonomous business units.

Dümmen Orange North America will continue to operate under an open platform of distribution through all of their current broker partners to promote and grow existing business relationships and ensure customers interested in Dümmen Orange products continue to have a choice in their preferred suppliers. Similarly, McHutchison and Vaughan’s Horticulture will continue to provide a full service offering to their grower customers by developing their valued third party vendor brokerage relationships.

National Garden Bureau declares 2018 the ‘Year of the Tulip’

The vivid, paint-box colors of tulips are a feast for winter-weary eyes. These members of the lily family (thus, a relative of onions) typically grow a single stem and flower from teardrop-shaped bulbs that are planted in fall for spring flowers. Tulip bulbs require a dormancy period with cool, winter-like temperatures. During this time, the bulbs sprout roots and the embryonic leaves and flowers inside the bulb begin to develop.

Tulips are native to southern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and Asia. Works of art depicting their distinctive shape date back to the 10th century. They have been cultivated in earnest for at least 400 years. By leveraging the tulip’s natural tendency toward diversity, generations of breeders and tulip collectors, have brought forth a mind-boggling array of flower forms, heights, colors and bloom times. Today, Holland produces most of the world’s annual tulip crop, which exceeds 4 billion bulbs annually.

It’s been said that various colors of tulips have significant meaning when gifted: red means love, white means "I’m sorry" and purple represents loyalty.

There are more than 150 species of tulips with more than 3,000 different varieties and are classified into 16 Divisions by type.

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