On May 1, a brand new floral experience created by IGMPR and the NC Arboretum opened to the public. IGMPR pioneered a new approach of integrating Immersive Blooming Objects as extensions to the hard- and softscapes of the garden. This transforms the garden into a unique floral experience, while using thousands of Lily, Calla and Hydrengea’s. More information at: https://www.ncarboretum.org/bloom-with-a-view/
During the October National Holiday Season, Oriental International Shanghai Floriculture Industry Development ltd (‘OISF’), launched the world’s largest off-season tulip festival in Miao Village on Chongming Island, Shanghai. Close to 1.8 million tulips were forced exactly into bloom for China’s most important holiday season, which lasts from 1 to 8 October.
Preparations for this big event already started last year, with the production and sourcing planning from different partners and suppliers in China, Netherlands and New Zealand. “We had to find solutions against all seasons and odds” says Ms Coco Yang, general manager of OISF. In the climate in Shanghai, with its hot and humid summers, it is impossible to plant tulip bulbs in the open landscape. The bulbs need a cool dormancy period of 3 to 4 months to develop a strong root bases and high-quality flowers. With the support of local and overseas partners we managed to import 1.8 million tulip bulbs from New Zealand and plant them on pots in June and store them in cooling rooms until mid-September. During 10 days about 50 trucks arrived at Chongming Island with the pre-rooted tulips from different locations across China. There over 400 workers planted the tulips into the landscape of the beautiful Zhongzhong Forest in Miao Town.
IGMPR has been supporting OISF in this project from the very beginning in the planning, sourcing, quality control and project management. ‘The use of pre-rooted tulips, allows tulip gardens and festivals to exactly time the blossom moment and extend the operation period. This is the first time ever, it has been done on such a massive scale, and we were honored and proud to work on this project since last year, says project lead Ibo Gülsen. Despite the world-wide pandemic and challenges in supply chains and travel restrictions, we managed to stay on track and achieve a magnificent result, thanks to OISF and all partners that were involved.”
Although visitation is capped at 1.000 visitors at any moment in the park due to COVID-19 regulations, over 5.000 visitors visit the show on a daily basis, with peaks of even 10.000. The show is also a warm-up for the coming 10th edition of the China Flower Expo which will be held on Chongming Island from May 21- July 2 in 2021.
For this accomplishment the chairman of the World Tulip Society, Mr Michel Gauthier, presented via a video message the award for the ‘World’s Largest Off Season Tulip Show’: “This project has proven again that the tulip is truly an international flower that can bring pleasure and joy to people at any time and place in the world”.
Our colleague Zao Ye, participated in the 2019/2020 edition of the Autonomous Greenhouse International Challenge. Zao has successfully led the AiCU team, consisting of young professionals and researchers from different organizations and industries, into the finals and ranked 2nd out of 21 entries.
The goal of the challenge is to grow over a 6-month period remotely controlled cherry tomato crops, supported by measured values of greenhouse climate and crop development. Teams will be able to extract necessary data from the greenhouse through sensors, cameras and measured values of crop development and climate and couple it to their own ICT/models/machine learning algorithms in order to decide on the control settings for the next day/period. They will send the control settings back to the system (the greenhouse climate computer) in order to steer the actuators automatically or send instructions for crop handling in order to reach the goal.
Final results are evaluated on the following criteria: 50% net profit (income minus all cost, including material, labor and energy etc.), 20% sustainability (energy using efficiency) and 30% AI strategy.
The main experience from the previous 2018 challenge is the importance of plant feedback. To further improve the results of last year’s challenge, the team added plant weight sensors, sap flow and stem diameter sensors, which can provide real-time feedback on plant growth.
Practical AI algorithms require a large amount of historical data. However, conventional agriculture does not have such data with a unified structure and storage method. So apart from the sensors, the team also developed the AiCU MissionControl software, which can integrate sensor data from different manufacturers and different interfaces. This software is a platform with centralized visualization and algorithm development.
Zao Ye:” We think the autonomous greenhouse concept will not only serve areas that are already familiar with high tech horticulture. Our approach can help growers in any place of the world, to improve yield and quality with less energy consumption. Furthermore, experts don’t need to be physically on site, which makes the exchange of know-how and experience much more efficient. This challenge has been a great experience and we look forward to participate in the next edition.