Editors’ Letter: Plant Lovers, Industry Opportunities By Abby McGarry

Attracting new talent is crucial to the future of horticulture. As an industry, I believe we’ve always had a bit of an uphill battle connecting the dots between the plants that beautify our homes and communities with the depth and breadth of professional opportunities. Most school-age children and young adults don’t know the term horticulture, meaning a degree or career in the field is likely not even a thought.

During the pandemic, we all know that millions of new people started gardening — 16 to 18 million according to Alicia Rihn’s research at the University of Tennessee. She looks at how growers and retailers can engage these new plant purchasers online and in-person. For me, this begs another question: How can we capitalize on this new enthusiasm to sell our industry as a great field for employment?

Something I think our industry does a good job with is scholarship opportunities for students in horticulture programs, and one of these that gets me excited is the GPN/Prospiant Intern of the Year.

For almost a quarter of a century (this is year 24!), GPN and Prospiant (formerly Nexus) have recognized an undergraduate student who has completed an internship in horticulture/ floriculture with:

• A check for $3,000;
• A feature in an article and on the cover of the January issue of GPN;
• And travel, hotel expenses and registration to Cultivate in Columbus, Ohio, the following July.

Back in 2014, I wrote my first Intern of the Year article in GPN, getting to know Maddy Olberg, a student at Cornell University who completed an internship with Ball Horticultural Co. Now, she is Madeline Oravec, Ph.D, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She’s working on the genetic components of root shape in beet as part of the root breeding lab in the department of horticulture. From GPN/Prospiant Intern of the Year to doctor is pretty neat!

Click here for complete details on how to be considered for this year’s Intern of the Year.


September is a busy month for events at GPN, and we hope to see you soon. GPN’s Cannabis & Hemp Week will take place Sept. 20-22 with three one-hour interactive webinars with Aaron VanWingerden, owner of Royale Botanicals and Dutch Heritage Gardens; Daniel Sumner, Ph.D., at the University of California – Davis; and a panel of growers. Find out more at gpnmag.com/edwebinar.

Then, GPN’s Plant Health Management Week is back and bigger than ever.

  • Sept. 27: Pest Control and Water Quality with Raymond Cloyd, Ph.D., professor and Extension specialist in horticultural entomology/plant protection at Kansas State University and GPN contributor.
  • Sept. 28: Disease Management with Carrie Harmon, Ph.D., executive director, National Plant Diagnostic Network, at the University of Florida.
  • Sept. 29: Plant Growth Regulators with Roberto Lopez, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of horticulture at Michigan State University.

You can find more information and register on Plant Health Management Week at gpnmag.com/edwebinar.