Experiencing The Winter Shows By Tim Hodson, Catherine Evans and Meghan Boyer

This past winter, GPN's editors traversed the country visiting a number of different trade shows and events. To share every aspect of what we saw and where we traveled would be impossible: There were too many interesting sessions, great conversations and innovative ideas. What we can do is give you recaps of two shows: the ANLA Management Clinic and the Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE).

Since there is so much travel to be done during the winter and we can't be every place at once, we'd love to know your experiences with the winter shows. Send your observations and recaps to [email protected]

ANLA Management Clinic

The American Nursery and Landscape Association's (ANLA) Management Clinic is dedicated to providing industry owners and managers with marketing, financial, inventory control and a leadership skills all during an intense 3-day event held each year in Louisville, Ky. This year, 1,200 growers, distributors, landscapers and retailers experienced A World of Ideas (this year's theme) and pooled ideas, trends and concerns through networking events and educational sessions.

GPN staff attended the event both to learn and to produce the Management Clinic Daily Reader, a newsletter that highlights events and key sessions for attendees. In our dual roles as attendees and newsletter producers, we participated in sessions, attended the speaking events and talked with attendees about their experiences at Clinic and at home. Here is some of what we learned:

Sustainability buzz. William McDonough, the first keynote speaker, introduced one of the main topics discussed among attendees throughout the entire event: sustainability. McDonough is founder of William McDonough + Partners, Architecture and Community Design and McDonough Braungart and coauthor of the book Cradle to Cradle. He spoke about the sustainable design and development movement to a standing-room-only crowd and relayed the experiences he has had, the people he has met and the developments he has created throughout the past 30 years in his quest to create a unified sustainability philosophy.

The audience warmed to what he had to say so much that they gave him a standing ovation at the end of his speech and bought out all the copies of his book from the Clinic bookstore (in less than an hour). The sustainability buzz continued each day of Management Clinic as large and small groups of attendees stopped in the halls to share thoughts on the topic.

Grower idea swap. An idea swap takes place each year at Management Clinic; growers, landscapers, distributors and retailers each gather in different rooms and discuss ideas and concerns of importance to their respective fields. Some attendees prepare presentations in advance to show others what they have implemented in their businesses while others raise discussion questions to get feedback from the group.

Attendees of the Grower Swap heard a number of useful ideas from a variety of speakers while Art Parkerson from Lancaster Farms, Suffolk, Va., moderated. Jay Guy, Carolina Nurseries, Moncks Corner, S.C., told attendees about a lightning strike that occurred on his property. As a result of the strike, which injured a person, Guy had three days of OSHA safety inspections and increased insurance costs in addition to other repercussions.

According to Guy, lightning is most likely to strike between 2 and 4 p.m. and in the month of July. He urged attendees of the Grower session to be proactive about lightning hits and to become familiar with the lightning activity in their areas. Those who want to learn more can visit the National Lightning Safety Institute's Web site at www.lightningsafety.com.

Peter Scarff, Scarff's Nursery & Landscape, New Carlisle, Ohio, told growers about a 5-ft. bar magnet that he uses to pick up metal debris in shipping areas and on roads that company vehicles travel on. The magnet is affixed to a frame and has wheels, so it can be pulled behind a tractor. Scarff purchased the magnet because of the number of flat tires that were occurring. Sometimes, on a 2-hr. sweep, the magnet can pick up one-half of a 5-gal. bucket worth of debris.

Mark your calendars for next year's ANLA Management Clinic: Jan. 30 through Feb. 2, 2008, in Louisville, Ky.


The 2007 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) took place Jan. 18-20 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. This year's theme was "Fresh Attitude and Ideas" where more than 8,000 attendees were on hand to see the latest in tropical plants and foliage.

This year, show organizers gave the exhibition a new look by redesigning the Broward County Convention Center layout. This redesign allowed more than 500 exhibitors the opportunity to really put their products on display.

For the first time, TPIE offered how-to demonstrations on new pest management technology, growing tropical container gardens, effective retail signage and using tropicals in floral arrangements. GPN's associate editor Catherine Evans participated in the demonstration on "Absolutely Beautiful Container Gardens" led by Ball Horticulture's Sue Amatanglo.

TPIE also debuted Tropical Plant Shirt Day on opening day of this year's show where attendees could be seen traversing the conference and exhibition while wearing tropical shirts and vying for different prizes. Attendees also had the chance to participate in an Interiorscape Road Show and a Garden Center Road Show.

To learn more about the 2007 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition or to see additional photos of this year's show, check out www.tpie.org.

Tim Hodson, Catherine Evans and Meghan Boyer

Tim Hodson is editorial director, Catherine Evans is associate editor and Meghan Boyer is associate editor of GPN. Hodson can be reached at [email protected] or (847) 391-1019.

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