From OFA to You By Danny Takao

The 2010 American in Bloom (AIB) Symposium & Awards Program has been set with a full program of education and events for participating communities, industry professionals, and anyone interested in improving their community through beautification. Make plans to attend the full program held September 30 through October 2.

This year's host city, St. Louis, Mo., was named one of 2010's Dozen Distinctive Destinations in America and recognized with the ASLA International Award for Urban Revitalization. The gateway to America's great journey west, St. Louis offers grand historic architecture, exciting history, world-class parks, fabulous museums, and a world-class botanical garden. St. Louis' community pride and unparalleled environmental initiatives are a perfect example of the AIB philosophy and will offer a great setting for the weekend's activities.

The annual symposium and awards program is more than just an awards presentation. It is an educational event developed specifically for communities to help them succeed in starting, continuing, and promoting their beautification efforts.

Two industry leaders will serve as keynote speakers. Anna Ball, CEO of the Ball Horticultural Company, will present "The Power of Plants — Opportunities for Community Quality of Life," and Dr. Peter Raven, President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden will present "Connecting a Botanical Institution with Communities."

This year's program will cover topics such as:

  • Identify & Branding for Your Plantings
  • Economic & Aesthetic Benefits of Turf Alternatives
  • Cleaning & Greening
  • Community Gardens for Healthy & Sustainable Neighborhoods
  • The Benefits of a Community Tree Inventory
  • The Anatomy of a Successful Urban Seasonal Color Program
In addition to the two-day educational program, participants can attend one of three focused tours covering environmental opportunities, secret St. Louis neighborhoods and community gardens, and St. Louis-area AIB towns. Plus, there is an abundance of networking opportunities where attendees can meet like-minded individuals from around the country, share successes, and learn what other are doing to beautify their communities.

So join America in Bloom in St. Louis — for gardens, gateways, and grandeur. Early registrants receive a 25 percent discount if signed up September 10. And plan to stay a few extra days — there's plenty to see and do for the entire family. Plus, all registered participants will receive a pass to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Hortica Dedicates Garden for SAF
Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits recently created a Society of American Florists (SAF) Garden on their grounds in recognition of SAF's 125th anniversary and the longstanding relationship between Hortica and SAF.Hortica Dedicates Garden for SAF Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits recently created a Society of American Florists (SAF) Garden on their grounds in recognition of SAF's 125th anniversary and the longstanding relationship between Hortica and SAF.

On April 27, Hortica played host to SAF Executive Vice President and CEO Peter Moran at their annual employee appreciation company breakfast for dedication of the garden. The "SAF Garden" will showcase new annual varieties each spring to educate visitors and present the latest products developed through research. Anchoring the garden is a 'Prairiefire' crabapple tree.

The Society of American Florists was formed in 1884 in Chicago as a national trade association by 21 members of the American Association of Nurserymen, Florist and Seedsmen. Within the first year, SAF had grown to 400 members. Hail insurance was a hot topic during this time; in 1887 Florists' Hail Association was formed by a committee of SAF in order to protect greenhouse owners against hail damage. For the last 125 years the relationsh

"The garden serves as a reminder of SAF's remarkable contribution to the industry and the ties which forever unite SAF and Hortica," said Mona Haberer, Hortica's president and CEO. For more information about Hortica, call 800.851.7740 or visit

Syngenta Plants Find Life Beyond Spring Trials
For 24 years, the Rotary Club of Gilroy, together with Goldsmith Seeds/Syngenta Flowers, has turned the company's Spring Trials display into its annual Flower Fest, a unique plant sale and the organization's biggest fundraiser. Rotary club activities included a luncheon and an auction for members and commenced with the public plant sale on Saturday, April 24. All of the $41,000 raised will be invested back into the local community.

"This event is one of a kind and helps define exactly why we are Rotarians," said David Cox, co-chair of the Flower Fest. "Our motto is 'Service Above Self.' This spirit of community is exemplified by Syngenta Flowers, their staff and the Goldsmith family, all of whom work tirelessly to help put out this event."

The fundraising aspect isn't the only benefit. "After spending a week talking to industry representatives about the specifics of our varieties, it's refreshing to see the joy on the faces of the general public as they enter the greenhouses," said Joel Goldsmith, head of business development for NAFTA Flowers Professional. "It reminds us all of the pleasure that comes from what we do, which we can sometimes lose sight of. Even after all this time, the Flower Fest is one of my favorite days of the year”

The Flower Fest draws hundreds of visitors from Gilroy and surrounding towns. Many visitors say the charity, as well as the quality and broad assortment of plants, keep them coming back year after year. And the donations don't stop there.

With more than 15,000 plants on display at this year's Spring Trials, Syngenta Flowers is able to support a variety of other local organizations and causes.

Before Flower Fest, Syngenta Flowers donates select plant material and large combination planters to the horticulture program and grounds at Gilroy's Anchorpoint School and St. Mary's Church. The San Juan Bautista Chamber of Commerce feature Spring Trials plants in their annual plant sale, which raises funds for activities and groups in that community. Plants are also donated to the Taste of Morgan Hill, where they decorate the event and are sold to raise funds for Morgan Hill, Calif., schools.

After Flower Fest, plants that weren't sold go on to adorn graduation ceremonies at nearby schools. Finally, Syngenta Flowers varieties resurface at Gilroy's most famous event, the Gilroy Garlic Festival, where they decorate the stage for the Great Garlic Cook-Off..

For more information about Syngenta Flowers, visit

Voting Now Open:
American Garden Award

The 2010 American Garden Award, a unique opportunity for the general public and professional horticulturists alike to vote for their favorite plant, is now open for voting. Previous coverage of the award is available at

There are a number of ways to vote: by texting a given code to a polling number, visiting and clicking on the voting button, returning postage-paid voting postcards available at most gardens or connecting with the American Garden Award on Facebook.

For anyone who is unable to visit one of the 18 gardens, online voting is another way to view and vote. Voting will be open until Aug. 31, 2010. Winners will be announced in September.

Pleasant View Receives Family Business Award
The Center for Family Business at the University of New Hampshire recently named Pleasant View Gardens, Loudon, N.H., as the 2010 Family Business of the Year.

In 1976, Jonathan and Eleanor Huntington, and sons Jeff and Henry, purchased Pleasant View Gardens, a wholesale greenhouse company. Back then, the facility consisted of three greenhouses and 10 employees.

Pleasant View now has two facilities in New Hampshire with 13 acres of greenhouses, 15 acres of outdoor growing space. Pleasant View Gardens is one of the founding partners of Proven Winners. They are also a partner in Ticoplant, an offshore stock facility in Costa Rica, and Plant 21, a breeder of new plant genetics.

Today, Pleasant View is owned and operated by Jeff and Henry, and a third generation (Jeff and Henry's five sons) has begun to fill the ranks of the Huntington family business.

Last year, the Huntingtons established a scholarship fund for students in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and the Thompson School of Applied Science who are studying plant science, horticulture and related subjects, or applied business management.

"We wanted to give back to the university, but we're also preparing for the future. We need to be able to find good people for our team and for our industry in general," Jeff Huntington said.

"The life, history, and achievements of the Huntington family tell a remarkable story of how hard work, dedication, and family unity can establish a thriving business," said Barbara Draper, director of the UNH Center for Family Business.

Three generations of the Huntington family have graduated from the University of New Hampshire.

Ecke Ranch Brings Spring Trials to You
If you weren't able to attend Spring Trials this year, Ecke Ranch is bringing their show to a destination near you on their "Road to Success" summer tour.

Some of the highlights will include : new varieties for 2011, technical seminars, geographic specific varieties and combos, the latest trends from the Ecke Design Center and a sneak peek at Ecke's future breeding. Lunch and refreshments will be provided as well.

Appearing this summer at the following locations:

  • June 29, 2010 — University of Georgia, Horticulture Farm, Athens, Ga.
  • July 29, 2010 — Penn State, SE Research Center, Landisville, Pa.
  • Aug. 3, 2010 ÑDuwayne's Greenhouses, Hudsonville, Mich.
  • Aug. 5 — Plantpeddler Young Plants, Cresco, Iowa
  • Aug. 10, 2010 — Botany Lane Greenhouse, Lafayette, Colo.

You can register by visiting For more information, contact Snow Maestas at [email protected] or 760.944.4031.

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