Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ich bin kein Berliner...

...but I can certainly sympathize with the geranium farmer in Berlin, MA who lost about $200,000 this year when the USDA suspected that he may have geraniums infected with southern bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum r3b2). As reported by, the Department of Homeland Security invoked the Bioterrorism Protection Act and told Bruce Bartlett to incinerate 8500 plants. While Bartlett Greenhouse's starter plants came from the same company that sold an infected plant to a grower in New York, the disease was never found on any of Bartlett's geraniums. A more detailed report is available from

Update: Sadly, Mr. Bartlett apparently passed away less than a week after this story broke. My sympathies go out to the Barlett family.

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