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Monterey Bay greenhouses host tour

A crowd of about 1,200 area residents visited one or more of the six growers on the Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers fourth annual open house tour June 15. Kathleen W McDonough, who organized the event, told The Produce News that more than $10,000 was raised from flower, plant, and refreshment sales for five local charities, including state parks and a cancer fund.

Succulent Gardens owner Robin Stockwell had a popular tour site. He created a slowly-spinning world globe with nations designated by colored succulents, a two-year undertaking. The tour of his facility in Castroville, CA, included a presentation on how the globe was built. Succulent Gardens grows about 600 varieties of succulent plants.

Other growers on the tour were Kitayama Bros., McLellan Botanicals, Jacobs Farm, Four Winds Growers, California Pajarosa and California Floral Greens. McLellan Botanicals is in Aromas, CA; the rest are in Watsonville, CA. The daylong tours featured flowers ranging from orchids and roses to gerberas, edible herbs, dwarf citrus and succulents.

Kitayama Bros. had about 1,000 visitors, said Robert Kitayama, president and chief executive officer. The grower hosted an “In the Greenhouse Dinner” and staged a Gerbera Art Competition with 17 floral designers competing in a “found art” design contest using only organic materials. Winner for the third year in a row was Greg Lum, a San Francisco floral designer. Kitayama Bros. also had local wine producers discuss pairing wines with flowers.

At McLellan Botanicals, three tours of selected orchid greenhouses were given and orchids, eucalyptus and decorative pots were on sale with a portion of proceeds donated to a local charity.

Jacobs Farm displayed its organic herbs and edible flowers, and California Pajarosa, a pioneer in growing hydroponic roses and one of the largest domestic producers of roses, had more than 150 varieties of hybrid teas, sweethearts, and spray roses on display. It hosted a book-signing session by Debra Prinzing, author of the new book, Slow Flowers. She also demonstrated flower-arranging techniques.

California Floral Greens, a branch of Continental Floral Greens that grows roses, baby eucalyptus, ivy, leather leaf, hydrangeas, kangaroo paw, flax, star asparagus and other ornamental greens, featured its greenhouse rose facilities on the tour. The annual Monterey Bay Greenhouse Growers tour was sponsored by the California Cut Flower Commission.