January 2017 VOL. 39, NO. 1
Branded plants can boost square-foot sales
Motivate staff to change processes Research report: Nursery irrigation technology
Green profession comes home to Congress ’17 Page 30
Public “gets” natural design
Listening to new voices in horticulture
Healing gardens: Conference preview
INSIDE: CONGRESS ’17 SHOW PREVIEW
Visit us at Booth #1414!
JANUARY 2017 VOL. 39, NO. 1
Stepping back to nature Striking the balance between biodiversity and “imposing our will” on nature BY THERESA M. FORTE
14 Fresh faces in horticulture
Seven industry newcomers share their motivations, inspirations, challenges and goals BY ANNE MARIE VAN NEST
22 Taking on the big box stores
Ten tips for independent retailers BY DIANE STEWART-ROSE
34 Harness the marketing power of new cultivars
Retailers and contractors can drive sales with breeder breakthroughs BY LAURIE SCULLIN
40 Precision irrigation for the grower sector
Research report: Tensiometer technology reduces water use BY CHARLES GOULET
54 Plight of the pollinators
Creating beautiful outdoor spaces for people and pollinators
56 Landscape designers tour New Brunswick
AALD members view stunning gardens in the Picture Province BY BOB HOWARD AND CORA SWINAMER
61 The power of nature
Healing gardens facilitate therapy and transformation; a Congress Conference preview
64 Fighting ignorance with science
Conference preview: Lessons for the turf grass industry
66 ROAD TO SUCCESS
During economic downtimes, only the good, honest companies survive
70 LEGAL MATTERS
Good faith and the duty of honesty in contracts
74 MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
Implementing change in your landscape company
90 MENTOR MOMENT
John van Roessel transitions key staff members into ownership
DEPARTMENTS INDUSTRY NEWS 78 CNLA NEWS 82 NEW PRODUCTS 84 COMING EVENTS 88 CLASSIFIEDS 88 WHERE TO FIND IT 89 JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
greenpencil Landscape industry can embrace a lesson from Istanbul
Colour Canada green Editor’s note: Donald Ziraldo’s career bridges landscape and wine; he left a successful nursery business to his brother Robert and stepped down as vice president of Landscape Ontario to found Inniskillin Wines, keystone of the Niagara region’s wine industry. In 2006, Ziraldo directed his energy toward serving as chair of the budding Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, today a world leader in horticultural research and business development.
have just returned from
Istanbul; now that is how to green a city. Wow. Even with all the problems Istanbul faces, there is greenery everywhere, even on the highway barriers. Once, my taxi was redirected through an industrial park, and the place looked like a nursery. You couldn’t see the buildings for the trees! While I hate to badmouth Canada, our highway plantings look wimpy by By Donald Ziraldo contrast. Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the significant strides we have made. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre’s Green the Canadian Landscape program nurtured many of those improvements. Vineland has been working to promote tree survival in highway and urban plantings since 2008. This important research has already helped boost survival rates for trees planted in challenging environments. The Highway of Heroes Living Tribute is a great example. The idea is to plant 117,000 trees along Ontario’s Highway 401 over the next five years, commemorating Canada’s fallen heroes. Survival expectation for these trees is greatly enhanced, because they were planted according to specs developed from Vineland research. Vineland is also working with cities and the landscape sector to develop practices that improve landscape sector profits by reducing replacement costs for trees. In fact, Vineland is launching a website for industry use this spring,
4 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
www.vinelandresearch.com/greeningcanadianlandscape, that provides specific science-based recommendations for tree planting, and generates tree species recommendations. The green industry should be leading discussions to highlight the benefits of greening the planet. It seems to me there are many, such as carbon sequestration for starters. Additionally there are all the health benefits of trees and gardens, as well as the subtle emotional benefits — it is easy to see how Japanese gardens promote serenity, for example. The opportunities are endless: highway buffers, urban gardening, the downtown Toronto park over the rail lands ... But I do not see much profile from the green industry in media dialogues on the topic. I am passionate about horticulture, and I also care about business success for the landscape industry. I believe contractors, nursery growers and others will succeed best
Innovative highway landscaping I snapped from a speeding car in Istanbul makes Toronto look like a desert. Ha ha!
if they embrace a greener world for everybody. As a business advocate, I urge landscape entrepreneurs to focus, to listen to customers and to give them what they ask for — and to be sure your products represent quality, quality and quality. Let’s green our landscape, as we grow our prosperity. LT
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to nature BY THERESA M. FORTE
6 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Are today’s designers, landscapers and growers working with clients who are ready for more natural, biodiverse and resilient landscapes?
stack of well-thumbed garden books on my desk provides inspiration for my home garden and my weekly garden column. Sometimes I just read, other times, I’ll study the images and let my mind drift to distant gardens. Through their writings, authors like Rick Darke and Douglas Tallamy, Thomas Rainer and Claudia West offer a fresh approach to garden planning, design and maintenance by taking cues from nature. I’ve made a point of getting a more personal understanding of their work. To this end, I visited prominent gardens and sat down with experts working in the field to see if the current trend toward naturalized landscapes has had an impact on their operations.
GRASSES AT CHANTICLEER: SCULPTURE OVER TIME
At Chanticleer Garden, clover in the grass stays green in a drought, it has deeper roots than the grass, so it makes a good ecosystem in the lawn, and the honeybees like it.
Chanticleer Garden, in Wayne, Pa, is much more than a formal garden in an historic setting, it is also a teaching garden, where practical ideas for container designs, woodland gardens, vibrant borders and soft meadows are among the many lessons to be learned. Its executive director R. William (Bill) Thomas met me beneath a century-old black walnut to share his thoughts on how the garden has evolved over the last decade. Chanticleer’s meadow garden is planted with prairie dropseed grass (Sporobolus). The first meadow there was planted around 2001, right after the Ruin Garden was built. Plugs were planted on 18-inch centres; the plants take three years to fill in, but once they do, the tips of the leaves cover the tips of the next plant. Thomas explained, “Originally, we mowed every winter, and it took about three days. We now bring in the local fire company for a controlled burn. It’s a training exercise for them, and it burns in about 43 minutes. Burning is supposed to be good for grasses. I’m not convinced — if we just continued mowing I think we’d continue to have healthy plants. “I’ve found with sporobolus, that you get a mound [after the burn] and the repeated Bill Thomas, Chanticleer Garden blackened mounds are attractive. If one doesn’t like it, in two weeks there are new green sprouts coming out.” The sporobolus meadow is dotted with seasonal perennials and has a lovely, soft look that complements the old-stone Ruin. Within the Ruin, hakone grass is massed as an edging creating an easier-to-maintain gently manicured look. continued on page 8
JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
Native ferns are an excellent ground cover along a shaded path at Chanticleer.
Thomas offered another low maintenance example, “At the front entrance under the dawn redwood, we have fescue grasses that get about eight inches tall. We mow those twice a year. In other areas, we’ve let regular lawn grass grow up, then we mow maybe once a month. We mow paths through it; that tells people we haven’t forgotten, the grass is long on purpose, it isn’t just that we’re being lazy.” I asked whether Thomas finds that longer grass is more acceptable today: “Yes it is. It’s a different aesthetic. I like to think that our doing it, gives a seal of approval. Even if people don’t like it, they think about it, and it gets discussions going.” Thomas mentioned he had stopped spraying clover and other broadleaf weeds when he took the helm at Chanticleer. “Clover is one of the more controversial topics in-house. I like clover, and I have people tell me that they are happy to see that we have clover, and the honeybees like it, so we have it. It stays green in a drought. It has deeper roots than the grass, so it makes a good ecosystem in the lawn.”
PARKS AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION IN NIAGARA “I think people now are looking for that proper blend between ‘letting it go’ and ‘we need certain spaces that have a defined use.’” Charles Hunter offers a unique perspective to the discussion; as su-
perintendent of Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, School of Horticulture and Butterfly Conservatory he brings insights into both public gardens, and is training the next generation of horticulturalists. Hunter believes the perception of public garden space is changing. The Legacy Garden was a deliberate attempt to get rid of lawn and bring back a sense of habitat. “We planted in blocks, rows and curves, everything was according to a design. But now, the point is to back away and allow it to evolve. We’ve provided the proper environment, space, lighting and we’ve chosen the right plants — now we have to say, enough is where we are,” Hunter explained. Is one more beautiful than the Charles Hunter, other? “I’d say there’s more variety Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens in a garden that’s been designed, but will it always be that way, say in 10 or even 20 years? We don’t know. “When I was a student 25 years ago, we cultivated rose beds all the time. There was no mulch, all the beds were hand cultivated. We now realize it is actually healthier for the plants not to do that. Chemicals were once used as a bad approach to management. I like to think plants are the most forgiving people on the planet — they teach us. “From my perspective, we are really teaching our students instinct, right plant in the right place, understanding their strengths, weaknesses and tolerances. Many landscape architects say, ‘I will always find the plant, I’m going to design first.’ It’s about a different attitude, using the plants that are going to succeed, and less trial by fire. “This institution is based upon students developing an awareness of horticulture; to be able to walk into an environment, be it a prairie, forest, agricultural or ornamental horticulture, and have a sense of awareness, and be able to adapt and make decisions based on that.” Hunter agrees the students are definitely on board when it comes
Niagara Parks Legacy Garden was created to bring back the habitat and allow the garden to evolve.
88 | | JANUARY JANUARY2017 2017 | | LANDSCAPE LANDSCAPETRADES TRADES
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Rain gardens are a great introduction to eco-landscaping, and Fern Ridge customers, along with conservation authorities, are requesting they be part of the design.
to biodiversity, reliance and communities, “They are all over that, and they absorb it.” The challenge is, students can be at very different levels; some are just out of high school, some have three years of gardening experience, others have been gardening for 20 years. “Our students are definitely asking for more ecological and native plants, all the buzzwords that you are hearing. But do they know how to work with it? That’s what they are here for.”
PROGRESSIVE DESIGN, PAYING CUSTOMERS AT FERN RIDGE Sean James, owner of Fern Ridge Landscape Consulting and EcoSolutions of Milton, Ont., started landscaping when he was 14, and has always been self-employed. He graduated from Niagara Parks School of Horticulture in 1991. As James walked me through his property, slivers of sunlight cut through the rainclouds highlighting patches of colour and pretty lines in a consummate collector’s garden. James introduced me to notable trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and edibles as we nibbled on cherry tomatoes and raspberries collected on-site. Ever ready with his trusty pruning shears, he nipped wayward branches. The space is his office, studio and trial garden, with three dogs and a house filled with memorabilia; he’s a man comfortable in his own skin. After the tour, we sat down to discuss today’s garden trends over coffee. “Thomas Rainer is in the right place, ethically,” he began. “It’s all over the media.” The public may not have read Rainer, Tallamy or Darke, but James says they understand the gist. A copy of The Living Landscape by Darke and Tallamy sat on his desk, waiting to be read. “I think of gardening as refereeing.” The site of a large Nova Scotia project he completed had 120 different species of plants, but most people couldn’t see the beauty, said James. “If I showed people how cool it was, then they got it.” A house was going in and the owners wanted some green (read lawn) so James had to compromise, but he managed to repurpose the Sean James, Fern Ridge Landscape plants. “I rescued plants like low bush blueberries and kalmia and then grouped them elsewhere. We need to see some order to actually recognize the beauty. “Mowed paths give people a chance to see intimate details. From a distance it may look like a mix-mash, but up close you can see an aster, goldenrod, milkweed or some of the funkier stuff like grey dogwood and so on. But they need some sort of sign, either massing or a defined edge, to see it’s not just budget cuts, it’s a new way of thinking.” “We used to bury eco initiatives. If you asked people ‘What do you think of eco-gardening?’ they would fold their arms and step back.” But James found if a rain garden was incorporated into a plan, it would pique a client’s interest and they’d often ask for it to be included in their quote. “We’ve always been interested in eco-landscaping and now people are coming to us. People are reading about the stress pollinators and monarchs are under. Organizations like Conservation Halton 10 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
are mandating that New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) has to be in every landscape they do, so the mottled dusky winged butterfly can have food. We are using the prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) to feed giant swallowtails. “Landscapers are not selling well, we bemoan the fact our business share is dropping, but we are not staying current with what the public wants. For example, young people want edibles. They want to know their food is healthy, they want to do their own composting. They want to know that their food is nutritional, they are keen on this. “Just about every client will say, ‘I’m looking for low maintenance.’ If you can figure out how to design a garden that doesn’t need forever tweaking, and make it fit with the general population’s aesthetic, then I think you can be more commercially successful. I think people don’t really understand how much work they actually do; they mow their lawn every week on auto pilot. If you didn’t have to do that, you could just occasionally prune or weed a little bit.” I wondered if Fern Ridge is seeing a trend, if people are hiring them for environmental projects. “Yes. Schools are calling us for butterfly and conservation gardens. The conservation authority is hiring us for the same thing, plus rain gardens, a lot of our residential customers are also asking for the same things.”
REFLECTIONS ON THE FUTURE I believe there is a common thread — a thread that touches each of us and is woven in that green tapestry we call nature. We are all becoming more aware of the need to recognize and understand how creating and maintaining gardens can reestablish our ancient connections with nature. Adopting an approach that includes beauty, biodiversity and resilient plants, chosen for suitability to their sites, over imposing our will on a given space, can be both beautiful and cost effective. Public gardens, schools of horticulture and prominent authors are leading the way by encouraging us to ask questions. How LT will we respond to the answers? Theresa M. Forte is a garden columnist, photographer and speaker based in the Niagara peninsula. You can reach her by calling 905-374-1505 or by e-mail email@example.com.
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fresh faces in horticulture 14 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Seven newcomers to the horticulture profession discuss their motivations, inspirations, challenges, hopes and expectations BY ANNE MARIE VAN NEST
or some, a relative instilled a love for plants. Oth-
ers like the outdoors. Some left a career behind, while others creatively meld current careers with horticulture. And many are taking to horticulture for altruistic reasons — wanting to produce healthy food and lifestyles in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. All seven fresh faces were generous about sharing their reasons for joining the landscape profession. Vivienne Blyth-Moore is in her first year as a landscape designer and sustainability officer for Fern Ridge Landscaping and Eco-Consulting in Milton, Ont. She switched to a horticulture career after first getting a BA in history and an MSc in environmental sustainability. “I’ve always been a gardener at heart,” she explains. “Although I have no formal horticultural/landscape design training, I have learned on the job, through internships in plant nurseries and landscape design companies in Switzerland and a previous job experience in Scotland.” Vivienne gravitated toward landscape design because it combines her passion for gardens and design with her desire to create a more sustainable world. Meghan McCarthy, a 2015 graduate of the Pacific Horticulture College Landscape Horticulture program, also didn’t start down the landscaping path. She explains, “I was a climate-change organizer for many years, and was burnt out doing environmental work from behind a computer. I wanted to get outside, to explore and reconnect with the outdoors, and help others do the same.” Now Meghan is a landscaper with Island Horticultural Services based in Victoria, B.C., and she has also started her own business, Solidago Landscaping. Jano Wright, a 2015 graduate from Pacific Horticulture College as well, changed her career to landscaping and gardening after years in the service and hospitality industry. She decided it was time to work at a job where she would be Meaghan McCarthy outside enjoying nature and
working with plants. Jano now works for Finlay’s Landscapes in Victoria, B.C. One recent horticulture graduate, who wants to remain anonymous, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, and realized she didn’t want an indoor office job. This Jano Wright revelation changed her career plans; and she went on to volunteer with organizations focused on growing food and educating the public about the beneficial uses of plants. This made her realize that she had a love of plants and working outdoors. She signed up for three more years of schooling — this time in horticulture — and graduated in 2016. Nick Marchio is a student gardener at Niagara Parks in Niagara Falls, Ont. His primary reason for choosing horticulture is enjoyment of the outdoors. He started at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., thinking he would eventually work at a golf course. In the first week of school he was drawn to courses about plant science and deciduous trees, changing his career direction. Emma Chesher, a recent graduate of the two-year horticulture program at Niagara College, just finished her second season working for Niagara Parks. A chance happening isn’t often the reason to pick a career, but Andrew Guay credits his mom for spotting a “Now Hiring” sign at the local garden centre. Andrew recalls, “My 15-year-old self had little interest in working with plants, considering I knew what a rose and cedar were and that was basically it.” Four years later, Andrew had worked his way up from guest services to Assistant Perennial Emma Chesler Supervisor at the garden centre. After another three years, in 2016, he graduated from the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture and JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
started work at Ground Covers Unlimited in Bethany, Ont., as nursery staff responsible for many tasks. He is currently employed at Sheridan Nurseries.
NEW JOB CHALLENGES Every new job comes with challenges, surprises, and excitement — more so when starting a new career. Nick Marchio, talking about his job at Niagara Parks, says, “My job as a gardener exceeded my expectations. When most people hear the term “gardener,” they just picture someone planting flowers all day — not even close to what this job title entails. I was happy to know it was a very physical job which I enjoyed, and that there was a lot of moving around from worksite to worksite, which made the day go incredibly quickly.” Nick also enjoyed being trained on power equipment such as the rototiller and sod cutter. Having worked at Ground Covers Unlimited for 10 weeks during his school internship, Andrew Guay knew what to expect. What surprised him Nick Marchio most, when he returned after graduation, was how much water it takes to keep 25,000 square feet of plants alive and growing. The weather this past summer was challenging. He reflects, “We experienced one of the worst summer droughts in recent years, and water became a critical resource for all growers. Thankfully, our operation had enough reserves to keep everything going strong throughout the heat wave of July and August. As the months went on, watching the level of the retention pond drop at an alarming rate made me realize just how valuable and critical a resource water is for nursery operations.” Emma Chesher, who had previously worked at Country Basket Garden Centre in Niagara Falls, Ont., faced a challenge familiar to many young workers. “I have been working since I was 17 or 18, and most of it has been at the garden centre or at Starbucks. I have always had to interact with people. The only problem is that I look like I am 16, even though I am 23. A lot of people wouldn’t take me seriously until they actually got talking to me for a bit, and then realized that this person actually knows what she is doing and this isn’t just some summer job while she’s away from school.” The move to Canada gave Vivienne Blyth-Moore an unanticipated surprise. “Coming from the UK where landscaping is a year-round activity, the seasonal nature of the industry here surprised me.”
LEARNING ON THE JOB There’s a steep learning curve for most people when starting their first real job in a chosen career. The seven newcomers were asked what they learned. Vivienne reflected on her first summer, “There was a big learning curve, due in large part to my previous European experience. I had a lot to learn about North American horticulture and the predominant issues. I overcame it by asking lots of questions and spending a lot of time reading and researching on my own time.” After starting at Fern Ridge, Vivienne became aware of a huge need for educat16 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
ing the public when it comes to sustainable landscapes. She found customers specifically wanted more information on sustainable water management and biodiversity. After just one season, Meghan acknowledged that the industry has taught her a lot about herself. “Having to make decisions in the garden, communicating with clients, managing the challenges of changing weather, and all the aches and Andrew Guay pains has taught me a lot about who I am and what I am capable of doing.” Andrew learned many things at Ground Covers Unlimited he expects to use the rest of his career: IPM, plant health care, watering, raising livestock, fertilizing techniques and plant sourcing. What impressed him the most were the demands that plants place on their growers. “One thing that stands out the most for me is the benefit of a strong work ethic. Plants are living things that require certain inputs at various times that may not be the most convenient for humans. Plants don’t care if Sunday is your day off; they still need watering and fertilizing when they are dry in their pots.”
HELPING HANDS Mentors can take many forms: peers, bosses, or teachers. For new recruits, it is important that mentors provide support by listening, explaining expectations, demonstrating techniques, being open to new ideas, and willing to step back and let new recruits try their own ideas — even if they suspect those ideas might not succeed. Vivienne felt both her supervisor Mike Prong, and company owner Sean James, have been incredible mentors. She says, “I can ask them any question at any time, and they allow me to try things my way and learn through doing, even if it involves making mistakes, which has allowed me to learn and grow very quickly.” Andrew experienced the unusual situation of both working and living with classmates. He says, “My two roommates were my best mentors at that job. Having both recently graduated from the same school, they were able to relate to me better than anyone else could. They helped me improve on so many things, from growing many different types of plants effectively, to harvesting and processing food items, to even cooking full meals that weren’t toast and peanut butter. Both of them were patient with me and always willing to teach me new things at any point in time. As good mentors, they naturally have become good friends.” Emma says she learned the most from people that worked by her side. She explains, “When I worked at Queenston Heights Park, Marvin Fast was kind enough to take me aside and show me how to use a lot of power equipment. Chris Semenchuk, at the Floral Showhouse, taught me a lot about plant maintenance. Everyone took the time, even though it was extremely hectic and they were busy.” Meghan keeps in contact with her school community. “I have constant mentorship and support from my friends and instructors at the Pacific Horticulture College. They are the reason why I can get up in the morning and go to work with confidence and competence. On the job, Kevin and Sandra Bunting at Island Horticultural are an incredible resource. They are so open and willing to share their
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boundless experience, and are great role models in how to run a successful business.” Jano finds the best mentors share their knowledge freely, and also ask for her opinion and input, making a collaborative discussion instead of a lecture.
Andrew observes that social media is huge in our society today, and its absence can exclude a whole population from a customer list. “I also feel it is our duty as professional horticulturists to educate the public on different facets of our industry … and what better way to do that than on social media?”
HOW CAN HORTICULTURE ATTRACT NEW TALENT?
The new workers found themselves faced with both common and unexpected challenges. A recent horticulture graduate working for a municipality in Ontario says her challenges included many of the usual new-job anxieties, such as fitting in with a group of co-workers who have known each other for years, learning how the department operates, and learning who to talk with to get answers for different subjects. She learned a lot about interpersonal skills and morale during her first season. She explains, “I’ve learned a lot about how important (and difficult) it is to stay positive at work. It’s easy to get frustrated and complain, and once one person starts being negative, it quickly spreads throughout the team and lowers morale. Once morale is down, it can be really hard to shift things and create a positive work environment. As a result, I’m really trying to stay focused on being positive and not giving in to negative conversations.” Jano also commented about finding her place in a new work environment, “The most challenging aspect as a new graduate was finding that rhythm you fall into at work. You feel like a ‘fish out of water’ for the first while, but it didn’t take long to get sorted out.”
Today’s instant gratification society provides many things whenever we want them. Horticulture is at a disadvantage in this world. Andrew suggests industry leaders must find ways to bring the younger generation back to the field, otherwise horticulture will turn into a minor industry. He says, “We need to solve the puzzle of how to attract Millennials into horticulture, using new techniques and targeted strategies, while maintaining support for the current horticulturally savvy members of the public.” Meghan suggests promoting the diversity of horticulture. She says, “I think there has to be more of an effort made to educate people on how broad horticulture can be, that it isn’t only about pruning tiny boxwood hedges or mowing acres of lawn. There are exciting opportunities for projects that encompass community development, environmental education, and food security, which are all things that a lot of people really care about right now. I think making those connections could draw some really great people into the industry.”
THE NEXT SEASON After their first season, are our new recruits optimistic about the next? Will they return if they are asked back? Our anonymous recent graduate is looking forward to being trusted more so she can take on a larger leadership role. She understands, until her bosses know her better, they will hesitate. About next season she says, “I know I could take on more responsibility and be more of a crew leader than a crew member. If I am asked back, I will likely say ‘yes’ unless a better opportunity arises (such as a fulltime position in a municipality). I will return because it is a good paying job with benefits and a pension.” Andrew started a new, full-time job last September as Nursery Sales Supervisor at Sheridan Nurseries in Toronto. He is looking forward to the spring rush of 2017. Starting his job in the fall allowed him to gradually get comfortable with the position. He says, “I’m looking forward to seeing the spring dynamic and how things operate during the busy season. This will allow me to analyze operating procedures and adjust or implement new ones to better manage the spring rush.”
DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY The younger generation is known for its digital savvy; do they think the horticulture industry using digital to best advantage? Fern Ridge Landscaping’s social media presence has been enhanced by Vivienne’s digital skills. She is in charge of all social media, except the externally-managed website. Vivienne doesn’t have the HTML skills required to manage a website, but she suggests, “It would be useful to have a simpler interface such as WordPress, which would allow me to manage it on my own, bringing the website into sync with the rest of our online presence.” 18 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
A FUTURE IN THE LANDSCAPE PROFESSION? Are our newest horticulture professionals optimistic about what is ahead, or worried about their long-term prospects? Our anonymous recent graduate would like to gradually move toward either a career growing food, or a career focused on ecological restoration and conservation. She doesn’t think she will be doing landscape maintenance forever, but for now, it is a well-paying job and she is working toward paying off student loans. Vivienne is optimistic about the future and says, “As a designer, I have a great deal of stability. It’s an industry I expect to stay in long-term, although I expect to eventually combine landscape design with urban planning.” Nick loves the work environment and says, “My thoughts about working in the horticulture/landscape industry are all positive. Everything I have Vivienne Blyth-Moore encountered in my short horticulture career has been very enjoyable. Spending my work day outside has been everything I imaged it would be, and I know I could never work indoors again.” Jano is equally enthusiastic about her future, and says, “I hope to be gardening and landscaping as long as possible! There are so many different aspects to the field; I know it will keep me interested for LT many years to come.” Anne Marie Van Nest is a freelance garden writer, author of Niagara in Bloom, and a greenhouse grower for Niagara Parks.
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2017 2017 DATES & ONTARIO LOCATIONS JAN. 31, 2017 - LONDON REGION
Hellenic Community Centre
133 Southdale Road West, London FEB. 1, 2017 - KITCHENER / CAMBRIDGE REGION
425 Bingemans Centre Drive, Kitchener FEB. 2, 2017 - BURLINGTON / HAMILTON REGION
Burlington Convention Centre 1120 Burloak Drive, Burlington
FEB. 3, 2017 - NIAGARA / ST. CATHARINES REGION
Amici’s Banquet & Conference Centre 2740 Merrittville Highway, Thorold FEB. 7, 2017 - WOODBRIDGE REGION
77 Woodstream Blvd., Vaughan FEB. 8, 2017 - MARKHAM / RICHMOND HILL REGION
Markham Convention Centre 2901 Markham Road, Toronto
FEB. 9, 2017 - GTA WEST REGION
Mississauga Grand Banquet & Event Centre 35 Brunel Road, Mississauga FEB. 16, 2017 - OTTAWA REGION
Ernst & Young Centre
4899 Uplands Drive, Ottawa
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FEB. 17, 2017 - KINGSTON / NAPANEE REGION
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Ajax Convention Centre 550 Beck Crescent, Ajax
FEB, 23, 2017 - PETERBOROUGH REGION
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Pipers Heath Golf Course 5501 Trafalgar Road, Hornby
Ten tips for independent retailers: How to win against big boxes
David and Goliath
BY DIANE STEWART-ROSE
To define the battlefield, let’s examine our competitor. The big box occurs in various forms: internationally (Home Depot) or domestically-owned (Rona), wide product categories (Walmart) or narrow with a hard-goods or home improvement focus (Lowes). Their characteristics are familiar: l Large-scale buildings, usually part of a chain of stores l Area encompassing 50,000 square feet or more l Free-standing, rectangular, single story l May offer low prices based on volume. Without a doubt, they are quite different from independent garden centres. Big boxes welcome our product categories for profitable margins and rapid inventory turns on a seasonal basis. Given their scale, how can we compete on a level playing field? Happily for independent stores, the big box does not define itself by ample staffing and patience for intensive, infor22 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
mative service — creating a market opportunity for our industry. In a recent TV commercial, a woman drags a big box salesperson from “fertilizer” to help her partner select appliances, claiming that she found someone to help. Delivered with a note of humour, we understand the consumer needs product information, and struggles to get it. There is a good message here for independents: Be sure to escort customers to a salesperson, either a generalist in customer relations or one knowledgeable in a particular department. Data from Garden Centres Canada surveys indicate that since the 1970s, independent garden centres attract a high percentage of female shoppers. Shopping in specific departments was often divided among couples according to spheres of responsibility. I propose that while roles have changed somewhat since that time, the ratio of female to male shoppers is reversed in many big box stores, due to both the product lines and retail atmosphere. continued on page 24
A salesperson or department manager posted at the checkout can thank customers for coming and identify additional add-on sales.
THE NEXT MOVE IS YOURS! Fast forward to this century, when more couples seem to share garden care responsibility, but some chores likely still fall to one partner or the other. The partner responsible for selecting live goods and home décor items may not be the same partner maintaining the yard or buying tools and lawn fertilizer. New and younger customers, with limited garden knowledge, respond well to sales events at big box stores, and perhaps do not value quality and selection. Independent stores have an opportunity to educate younger generations in their stores. Bark chips, emerald cedars and 10-in. hanging baskets are favourite lead products for advertised sales in the big box stores. But after a short time, the selection and quality of live goods is poor. Inventory and quality management seem weak too, although this area can be difficult for independents as well when the high season is in full swing. In the early 1980s, White Rose offered in-season discounts of 20, and then 30 per cent on high-profile spring lawn fertilizers and peat moss, which were lead and profitable products at that time. I recall this strategy throwing me into a complete panic. While moderate discounting of these lines has persisted, across-the-board discounting of product lines has not. We can be patient while the big boxes experiment, as long as we don’t lose customers. “Never be embarrassed about stating your price,” said my very first boss, who was also an owner of an independent garden centre. 24 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Inventory and quality management weakness is often easy to spot at big boxes.
Author and speaker Denise Lee Yohn, writing for The Harvard Business Review on “Big Box Retailers Have Two Options If They Want To Survive,” describes challenges facing this retail sector, along with evidence of declining demand. Yohn explains that, “experiential categories are becoming the new consumer indulgence.” She observes that Ikea and Bass Pro Shops have learned to successfully market experiences, in combination with discounts, to create exciting consumer-oriented event-shopping. At the time of this writing, Walmart, worrying about declining retail sales and its own giant competitors, purchased the private start-up Jet.com. The objective was to acquire a real-time, online shopping business strong in building relationships with Millennials. The rising volume of online purchases, “… may make the titan of efficiency less profitable and force it to close more stores. It is not unlike the scenario that, not so long ago, Walmart inflicted on small chains of local shops,” commented The Economist. In my own area of Toronto, a huge book retailer opened multiple locations, thus forcing longstanding neighbourhood specialty stores to close — only to close and collapse some of its own chain locations several years later.
TEN TIPS FOR BATTLING THE BIG BOX ON YOUR OWN TURF Stay focused on your own profitable and leading product lines. Use inventory management systems, to identify growth areas, and those where a review
or new goals are needed. Identify new sub-lines for potential expansion. Service sells, whether it is hardscaping installation and live nursery products, bulk soil delivery or customized annual containers. Identify and promote the lead services that drive customer traffic. Create a genuinely welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Greet customers, put aside your “work” and help them with their garden knowledge and selections. Big box stores have flirted with greeters and then retreated. Maintain knowledgeable staff or an active sales training program to maximize sales once customers are captured in your store. Have staff available to answer questions in the peak season, to avoid frustrating customers new to the gardening experience. A salesperson posted at the checkout can thank customers — and identify add-on sales. Advertise actively in your proven market. Repeat messages that deliver a proven customer response, discard those that do not. Keep your advertising program flexible, with funds in reserve for implementing new ideas. Build on the big box campaigns; offer their products at your own pricing. Build sales in the shoulder seasons, when you still have your customers’ attention. Keep your inventory wellmanaged in the off-season, which the big box stores are unable to do. They are good with moving product and generating customer traffic, but weak in live goods. continued on page 26
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KURT REEVES ON COMPETING AGAINST THE BIG BOX It is no big secret the independent garden centres’ challenge is competing with the big box. Often we can’t compete on price and volume — we are a seasonal business. But in the big box, it is only a department within a less-seasonal store. Garden centre retailing is all we do. Whereas if you walk into a “box” and ask for grass seed, they say it is down the aisle in this or that department. For our lead product categories such as perennials, annuals and nursery, we compare very favourably. We “industry specialists” may devote up to 20,000 square feet to a single live-good department. In the big box, these products may be displayed in a couple of aisles. There is really no comparison to the superior selection we offer. It is common for garden centres to do 30 or 40 per cent of sales in a six-week period. We need to make it happen, or it will be a long year. Big boxes are more likely to set up in the parking lot. They struggle with physical setup, preparedness for seasonality and spring’s uncertain arrival dates. We have a more permanent structure in place and can use it to advantage. We understand the adjustments required to adapt to the seasons.
Kurt Reeves is co-owner of Plant World, an independent garden centre in Toronto’s West End.
Our membership in a garden centre buying co-op has helped us purchase better and made us more competitive. Networking and strategizing coast-tocoast, on what customers want and what they’re willing to pay, is important too.
Certainly, our emphasis is on plants, and our business is driven by live goods. We offer superior selection, expertise and customer service to back it up. A true enthusiast wants to see variety and great quality. She will not shop in a big box; true hobbyists are more apt to go to a place that specializes in their hobby. In an interesting twist, the big boxes, with their advertising heft, may be first to introduce younger generations to gardening. Once consumers gain a little knowledge, they will crave more and will come to the independent garden centre for more depth and scale in product lines. We can work with that evolving interest and skill — and show them the true pleasures of gardening. There is a whole generation of “30-something” condo owners that just want to close the door and do something else. For the homeowners of that generation, once we get them through the door we can persuade them with our expertise, selection and service. We need to entice them, so if they really want the full experience of gardening. We need to thrill our customers in ways the big box does not … stimulate all their senses to get them excited. Our job, from the second they pull in the driveway, is to show them they are in a different place. Often, customers come to stroll through our store for lifted spirits on a dismal winter day. They would not likely go to a big box for that reason. We should not get too distracted by the big box, but continue to focus on what we do best.
26 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Stay firm on return and refund policies. All big box stores demand proof of payment for returns, within limited timing. Stay focused on your bottom line and profitability, as the big box may have “behind the scenes” corporate strategies that may undervalue the profitability of individual stores. Create exciting community-oriented events that draw customers. The competition may not be able to react quickly or plan in advance for anything more than targeted individual product promotions or a weekend sales event where taxes are “included.” Keep responsive to spring; get open and get ready to capture the sales you are entitled to, with products and services the consumer expects you to deliver. Explore and develop relationships with Millennials and Echo Boomers. As the Boomer generation ages, their needs and interest will change. Independents must adapt to a changing market base. Understand that most gardeners learn from experience over a lifetime; get ready to coach upcoming generations as an investment in your business. Define the battlefield, understand the competition and use this intelligence to your own advantage. Go ahead and win the war! LT
Diane Stewart-Rose is a graduate of the University of Toronto, who has spent most of her adult career in the garden centre industry, working in management and as a consultant.
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Gear upfor Congress ’17 Homecoming for the landscape profession “Congress is Christmas for landscapers,” says Lexi Dearborn. “My first Congress was about 20 years ago, and at that time I was intimidated by the size of the industry. Now, I find it a lot of fun — and after a long summer you need a little fun. I am a designer, and I design alone. I get isolated, and my world folds in.” Dearborn operates Dearborn Designs + Associates in Barrie, Ont. “Congress reconnects me as part of a larger industry. My company may be small, but I am not working alone. It helps me understand others have the same problems.” Dearborn’s enthusiasm is typical of Congress attendees. Every January, some 12,000 green industry professionals gather at the Toronto Congress Centre to reconnect, recharge and shop for equipment and supplies to fuel their passion, the landscape business. Organizers are proud of the 2017 edition, because it bucks a trend among North American trade shows. While many shows are shrinking, and some folding, Congress actually expanded its exhibit space this fall. “We sold out of the expanded footprint two months ahead of the show, and had to start a waiting list,” said show manager Heather MacRae. This growth story indicates a vibrant landscape business climate, at the very least. Congress draws all the top landscape suppliers, plus an array of new suppliers — of its roughly 500 exhibitors, about 150 companies are first-timers this year. The show is all about prosperity for the landscape business, and the landscape trade has the distinction of presenting one of the top 10 trade shows in all of Canada. Congress is produced by Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association, and guided by a committee of green industry volunteers. Tailgate Party is free for every badge holder attending Congress.
30 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
The Congress logo displays to welcome over 12,000 green professionals.
A unique feature of Congress is the Wednesday night Tailgate Party. Every badge holder is invited to enjoy fellowship, live music and a massive buffet; the event is free. The Congress Committee looks at the Tailgate event’s significant cost as an investment in the green profession.
continued on page 32
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continued from page 30 Canada’s most ambitious green industry education program also takes place at Congress. Over 30 conference sessions are on tap; topics range from job costing and green marketing to tree pruning. Daily keynotes take place, as well as panels over
The New Product Showcase always captures the interest of attendees.
Congress conferences offer a wide range of sessions.
lunch. Half- or full-day specialty conferences are planned for landscape designers, irrigation contractors, garden centre retailers and lawn care operators. Hardscape LIVE!, launched successfully at Congress ’16, returns this year. The attraction features a live paver build on the show floor, taught by Pat McCrindle, an accredited instructor
Products remain the heart of Congress. Delegates relish the opportunity to see and feel new product offerings, and ask reps about specific problems and needs. Cub Cadet Pro plans to launch a new product line of commercial equipment designed specifically for landscape at this year’s show. Sales manager Gord Small appreciates the targeted landscape profile of Congress attendees, and says, “We want to grow and expand with the show.” Congress exhibitors seem to have special regard for the show, and comment on receiving a high level of respect and service from show management. They vie in friendly competition for best booth and marketing awards. The New Product Showcase at Congress is an opportunity to see new offerings displayed attractively in a dedicated area. It is a convenient way to review new products, and the suppliers’ booths are right on the floor if you want more in-depth information. The associated Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence ceremony is a must-attend event, in case you are still not blown away by the landscape industry’s scale and sophistication. The gala reception consistently hosts about 600 guests. The winning projects are breathtaking. Production values are top-flight, generally including live professional music and celebrity appearances. Another inspiring aspect of Congress is the important role it plays in career development. The province’s leading horticulture schools sponsor student-built gardens on donated floor space. The garden builds promote skill and craftsmanship, as well as intriguing design. The schools also organize student delegations to the show. Lexi Dearborn says, “It’s fabulous to watch the students. Their eyes are wide open!”
Pat McCrindle leads HardscapeLIVE! again this year at Congress.
for the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute. The 2016 presentation drew large, interested crowds, and the demo area includes a cash bar.
32 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Congress 2017 takes place Jan. 10-12, with affiliated events set ahead of the show on Jan. 9. The Toronto Congress Centre is located conveniently near Toronto Pearson airport, and parking is free. Get details or register at www.LOcongress.com. The last word on Congress is from Dearborn: “Congress is a great boost for your company’s ego. Bring your staff.” LT
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with new plants? What’s new? We see an explosion of new annuals, perennials and woody plant cultivars promoted by breeding companies; the marketing power of new cultivars undeniable. Can breeding breakthroughs drive your sales? How can contractors and live plant retailers take advantage of new plant promotions? BY LAURIE SCULLIN
First some background
on why new plants and marketing programs can help your business improve sales and profits.
Trick Question 1: What do a spreading petunia, a free flowing bacopa and a repeat blooming hydrangea have in common? More than 20 years ago saw the advent of ‘Wave’ petunia from Ball Horticulture Company, the Proven Winners specialty annual program and ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea from Bailey Nurseries. All three changed the world of ‘new’ plants, and more importantly, changed how Canadian consumers value new plant introductions. These plants were part of that first wave (pardon the pun)
Canadale Nurseries prominently displays Proven Winners plants.
34 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
of breakthrough new breeding that allowed breeding companies to both trademark and market their new plant introductions — not just to growers and nursery owners, but all the way to the plant consuming public. Trick question 2: Which came first: Great genetics or great marketing? You need both good breeding and good marketing to make the process work. According to Tom Intven of Canadale Nurseries in St. Thomas, Ont., “I think the important moment was 20 or so years ago when Proven Winners first came up with the concept of charging a marketing fee with each plant. It has taken a few years for the strong PW marketing program to gain traction in Canada, but now we have many customers coming into retail and asking for their shrubs by name — which to me
A retail display of Bobo Hardy hydrangea.
is the mark of a true brand.” By being able to attach a marketing fee, royalty or PBR fee with each plant, breeders are now able to support new genetics with marketing programs that will drive demand from both consumers and industry customers. But marketing alone is not enough, as the new plants must also show improvements over older selections. Cautions Coleen Zimmermann, Nursery and Perennial Buyer at Terra Greenhouses, Milton Ont., “New and different plants are always good and will stand out at retail. But the main thing we look for is performance. Our customers will want to see results quickly, so new plants must perform as advertised.” We can add a few other breakthrough introductions to the above list: Knock Out rose by Star Roses and Plants and ‘Limelight’ hydrangea from Proven Winners. Both come to mind as exceptional genetics, well marketed to all levels of the marketplace including consumers, retailers, contractors and growers.
STRONG NEW BREEDING Today’s woody plant breeding trends toward dwarf repeat bloomers that give three or four seasons of colour. Canadian gardens typically demand plants that fit into homes with small lots, plants for deck gardens or plants for balcony container gardens. Our all-too-short summers put a premium on plants that can give more seasons of colour and fit the trend to instant gardens. The Proven Winners Wine Bobo Hardy hydrangea from Proven Winand Roses weigela brand ners is one newer introduction offering both is one customers recognize multi-season colour and compact size. In and request. many zones across Canada we see Bobo as a reliable, hardy, repeat bloomer that is even replacing many of the larger flowered H.
macrophylla, as contractors and retailers both see strong overwintering performance. Other examples include Diamond Rouge hydrangea from the Bailey First Editions program, an H. paniculata which colours up earlier than many other pinks, and Tiny Wine Ninebark from Proven Winners, one of a series of compact and colourful ninebarks.
MARKETING — CONSUMER, RETAILER, CONTRACTOR... It is the combination of genetics plus marketing that makes these programs work. On the consumer side, we see successful programs building consumer awareness with a combination of product packaging, media outreach and social media engagement. Consumers often make plant buying decisions while shopping, so impulse appeal is critical. Programs such as First Editions and Proven Winners have made great use of large plant tags and printed containers to help communicate their plants are special. Some well-known cultivars, such as Endless Summer and Knock Out, are able to command their own printed containers. Store signs, bench cards and posters are often available from breeders to help promote in-store impulse purchases. Consumer marketing to support plant programs often includes traditional media,
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Endless Summer hydrangea’s distinct blue container is recognized by consumers.
such as garden and design magazines, radio and TV, and public events such as home shows. Consumers will see frequent mentions of new breeding, the result of public relations placement from breeding companies, samples sent to key influencers in the gardening and design media and in some cases, direct media spending in consumer publications. Digital marketing has become a major tool for breeders to connect their marketing messages to consumers, retailers and contractors. Digital ad campaigns for new plants often include consumer websites for each new plant or plant series, Facebook pages that allow consumers to post photos and comments, and YouTube videos on how to grow and design with the new plants. In addition to marketing directly to plant consumers, breeders are taking their messages through to retailers and contractors with outreach in industry trade magazines, trade show events, direct mail and e-mail programs. The combination of strong breeding with well executed marketing has created both a push into the industry, as well as pull from consumers.
sales. The signs need to quickly communicate the ‘why’ this new plant is better. Take advantage of the in-store sign and POP programs made available from breeders, and add your own signs telling why you and your staff like these plants. From a retailer’s perspective, one challenge is how to balance the number of ‘new plants’ to the traditional selection. Hydrangea is a great example, with so many newer cultivars to pick from, at the same time customers will be looking for older genetics such as ‘Annabelle.’ Intven comments, “We think as much of 20 per cent of sales space can be devoted to newer plant programs. But keep in mind, some of our new items from a few years ago are really becoming the main cultivars. We are seeing plants like hydrangea Incrediball replacing old genetics.” As newer plants become mainstays in your product mix, key selections will stand on their own in your retail space. Zimmermann says, “Weigela Wine & Roses and Incrediball hydrangea both have such strong sales, they have moved to their own locations at retail. Customers are now asking for them by name.” In addition to in-store displays, many retailers are making new plant programs a major part of their marketing outreach. New plants can be major stories for newsletters, Facebook posts and sections on a retailer’s website. Breeders want retailers to talk about their new plants, so they provide photos, written content and occasionally videos. Retail prices also play a factor, as most newer genetics carry higher royalty, packaging and marketing fees, and often retail at two or three times the price of older plants. These higher retails are a major reason to get involved with new plant programs. As customers upgrade to new plants, there is opportunity to improve both top line and profits.
THE LANDSCAPE SIDE HOW NEW PLANT PROGRAMS PAY OFF To call attention to new genetics, many retailers use end-cap displays and other prime selling locations for new plant programs. These spaces can either feature one selection, or can be an area reserved for a collection of new and important plants. Given the impulse nature of consumers, powerful store signage has been proven to increase 38 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
There are added challenges for contractors regarding new plant programs, as there can be more levels of customers needing to be influenced by a breeding company. Jeff Gibson, the Landscape Business Manager for Ball Horticulture Company, comments, “Marketing new plants to contractors has been more difficult, as we have more levels on the contractor side, with residential
and commercial firms, then split again into maintenance versus design/build. While the landscape supply chain has lagged behind retailers in taking advantage of new plant promotions, we are starting to see a shift. One reason is that consumers are asking contractors for newer plants, while breeding companies are doing a better job connecting messages directly to contractors. One example is with the Drift rose series. Drift is an excellent compact groundcover rose, winter hardy to many zones in Canada and ideal for many uses from contractors.” Another challenge for contractors using newer genetics is making sure the newer plants are available. Generally, retailers have an easier time of placing advance orders with their plant suppliers, while contractors tend to have shorter windows from order to delivery. As a solution, there is a trend by many wholesalers to offer more inventory of newer items. Stronger plant performance and higher per-unit selling prices are just a few of the reasons why contractors are looking to install more new plants. Todd Baker of Baker Nursery, Bayfield, Ont., is a young plant propagator helping a number of European and Canadian breeders introduce new genetics such as Van Belle Bloomin’ Easy ‘Wings of Fire’ weigela. According to Baker, “The interest in new shrub genetics is strong, as I see retailers and wholesalers looking for extra marketplace advantages. At the same time, plant breeders have multiple new lines to launch. Our task is to help put both groups together, so all can benefit.” As more contractors take advantage of social media tools, new plant programs offer much in the way of posting content, with breeders often suppling photos of their plants in foundations, container gardens and large commercial settings. Pre-written content from breeders can complement other social media posts about a contractor’s services and recent installations. Whether it’s added topline sales, added margins or increased customer satisfaction, the marketing power of new plant programs can become a valuable part of your business LT plan.
Laurie Scullin is a horticultural marketing expert consulting for clients in both Canada and the U.S., collaborating with Frank Zuanscherb of ZRB, Brantford Ont., 519-304-4357.
Precision nursery irrigation
A three-year Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Research and Innovation Cluster project BY CHARLES GOULET, LAVAL UNIVERSITY
using wireless tensiometers Water management is one of the most important issues in nursery plant production. Providing enough water to the plants is essential to maintain an optimal growth and has a direct impact on both plant appearance and the duration of the production cycle. Nonetheless, deciding when to irrigate is often challenging and overwatering can be detrimental both for the environment and for production costs. Nursery plant production requires a large volume of water (up to 200,000 liters/ha/day) and optimization can therefore have a significant effect on the volume needed every year. To optimize water use and help in the decision making, we evaluate a new generation wireless tensiometer that measures the water available to the plant and allows precise irrigation control. Using a web interface, we were able to monitor changes in water availability to the plants in real time. This allowed precise control and an accurate assessment of the best irrigation threshold for different species. Based on these results, we are comparing four irrigation strategies in a commercial nursery; using notably wireless tensiometers with or without capillary mats. Water use and plant growth are measured to determine the impact of each of the
40 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
strategies, providing useful information for the evaluation of the wireless tensiometers. In parallel, we try to find the best clustering practices for a wide range of species by combining them to reference species monitored with wireless tensiometers. One challenge in a nursery is the wide diversity of species that are grown together. Each has different water needs and it would be too expensive and/ or complicated to monitor them individually with tensiometers. By knowing what species cluster best together, we hope to set guidelines towards more efficient water use in plant nurseries.
PROJECT DETAILS Irrigation is one of the most important factors for nursery profitability, influencing both quality and production costs. Nursery production requires a significant supply of water, especially for container production. Despite the importance of irrigation, nursery water management appears to mostly depend on the personal judgment of growers rather than measurements. Almost three producers out of four base decisions to irrigate on visual appearance or pot weight. Not enough water can retard plant growth and reduce quality, while overwatering can be highly detrimental to
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the environment and can cause, at least for some species, severe growth disorders. It also raises production costs by increasing the expenses related to water treatment, irrigation system maintenance, pumping and/or acquisition cost, and irrigation labour. By delivering the right amount of water at the right time to the right plant, precision irrigation offers a way to optimize water management. In this project, we evaluate how wireless tensiometers can be used to implement precision irrigation in nursery production. Wireless tensiometers measure the water available to the plant and send the information by cell signals, allowing a real-time monitoring and a precise irrigation. More specifically, the objectives of the project include: l To determine, using wireless tensiometers, the irrigation thresholds (soil water potential) of container grown plants to optimize growth and water use. l To establish the best clustering practices for a wide range of plant species based on their water needs. l To compare standard watering in a commercial nursery to an automatic irrigation controlled by tensiometers with or without capillary mats. The deliverables associated to the project are: the irrigation threshold of ten reference nursery plant species with tensiometers. l 2016 – 2017: Identification of the best clustering practices for a set of nursery plant species with the ten reference plant species and their irrigation threshold. Evaluation of water use and plant growth with four different irrigation strategies l 2015: Identification of
The Quebec Multiplants commercial site. based on precision irrigation in a commercial nursery.
SETTING IRRIGATION THRESHOLDS During the first year of the project, we have evaluated the optimal irrigation threshold for ten reference species, selected for their popularity and wide range of water needs. Four irrigation thresholds were selected, ranging from abundant water available to the plant (-3 kPa) to very little water available (-12 kPa). The plants were grown in two gallon pots at the nursery of Université Laval from June to September under a high tunnel to control the irrigation. Water meters were used to measure the volume of water associated with each treatment. Plant growth parameters were monitored throughout the growing season and biomass yield (dry weight) was measured at the end of the season. The experiment for each reference species was conducted as follows: four treatments (soil tension threshold), 12 biological replicates, for a total of 480 plants. After an analysis of the results, each species was assigned an irrigation threshold based on the driest treatment which allowed
SPECIES OPTIMAL WATER THRESHOLD
WATER USE (L/PLANT)
an optimal growth. There were major differences in the total volume of water used by the species regardless of their optimal threshold. For example, the Hosta used around seven times less water than the Astilbe despite growing the best at the same irrigation threshold. This difference, which can be explained in part by their contrasted growth rate, illustrated the need of creating clusters based on their overall water needs during a season. It is important to point out that the amount of water used during a season can change from year to year. For example, the summer of 2016 was warmer and sunnier than 2015 (the effect is accentuated by the tunnel) and plants grew more (and used more water). It can also change drastically depending of the size and quality of the plug used. For example, the Astilbe we had last year were really vigorous from the start, while the quality of the plants from this year was not as good. The result was a decrease in the amount of water used (while it increased for all the other species). Therefore, before clustering species or cultivars together, it is important to assess the vigor of the plants.
Based on the results of 2015, we have evaluPerennials ated in 2016 the efficiency of wireless tensiometers in a commercial setting. We have Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Fire’ -3 kPa 35,7 compared four irrigation strategies for one Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ -6 kPa 43,1 of the reference species; standard irrigation Astilbe arendsii ‘Diamant’ -6 kPa 77,2 by the grower, irrigation by the grower with a Hosta ‘Golden Tiara’ -6 kPa 11,1 capillary mat, automatic irrigation based on Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’ -12 kPa 26,7 wireless tensiometers, and automatic irrigaShrubs tion based on wireless tensiometers in com Thuja occidentalis ‘Nigra’ -3 kPa 29,6 bination with a capillary mat. Water use and Spiraea japonica ‘Gold Mound’ -6 kPa 39,2 plant growth were measured to assess the Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’ -9 kPa 11,8 impact of each of the strategies. Automatic Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ -9 kPa 72,2 irrigation with wireless tensiometers (either Hydrangea paniculata ‘Phantom’* -9 kPa 66,8 with sprinklers or with capillary mat) reOptimal threshold for the 10 reference species used for the project and total water use for each species sulted in plants with the same size and qualat their optimal threshold in 2015. *The cultivar Phantom was not available in 2016 and was replaced by Mega Mindy.
42 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
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ity as the one irrigated by the experienced grower. It didn’t however allow reducing the amount of water used. The main reason is that while the grower was avoiding watering just before rain was forecasted or when the wind was really high and could blow the drops of the sprinklers, the automatization didn’t allow such finesse in the decision process. More complete automatization systems with weather stations do exist (from Hortau and other companies), but were not tested this summer. Those would likely decrease the water used in a completely automated system. Regardless, the wireless tensiometers provided reliable data all summer, likely facilitating the decision process of growers who will use it. The main advantage of wireless tensiometers is the possibility to access the information from wherever you are (either by using the web interface or by receiving alarms on your cell phone). This allowed
Relation between water use and biomass in a nursery setting.
This wide range allowed to establish for each species what association allows an optimal growth. It was interesting to see that most species are able to grow well with several of the reference species. For example, the Potentilla
Best clustering based on growth and water use.
more flexibility in the nursery operations and also prevent an oversight.
FIRST YEAR HIGHLIGHTS The second goal of this project is to find the best clustering practices for a wide range of species by combining them to ten reference species monitored with wireless tensiometers. Each year we are testing 29 new species in combination with the 10 reference species at their optimal threshold. The experiments for this section of the project are made at the Laval University nursery. As expected from the result of 2015, the reference species needed contrasting water supplies. This means that, for example, the Weigela associated with the Euonymus received only 15 per cent of the water than the Weigela associated with the Physocarpus.
gave similar results when clustered with 7 out of the 10 reference species. This also means that they can sometimes give similar results with far less water. In the setting of our experiment, the clustering Potentilla with Hemerocallis resulted in the same growth as clustering with Physocarpus while reducing the water use by 70 per cent. For other species like Cornus, only the clustering with the most water demanding species gave good results. A partial list of the spe-
cies used in 2016 with the best clustering for each can be found at left. Relation between the water use and the gain in biomass can be illustrated above. If the water is not sufficient enough, the plant simply dies. This situation happened for a few species (example: Potentilla) when associated with Euonymus which doesn’t need a lot of water to thrive. Past that threshold; plants gain biomass as water increases until they reach a plateau where more water won’t translate into biomass gain. If too much water is applied, the biomass will start to decrease. To reduce water use while maintaining optimal growth, it is important to target the beginning of the plateau. Results from the clustering experiment illustrate well how it can be done by associating plants together. We can see that we didn’t reach the plateau yet with Cornus (we would need a reference species that needs more water), while we did with Hydrangea macrophylla and Potentilla. It is important to point out that the first
Clustering results for Potentilla.
44 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
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Clustering results for Hydrangea macrophylla.
Clustering results for Cornus.
month after transplanting can be really critical and since species often establish at different speeds, it is important to monitor each species individually at the beginning. It was particularly evident for species like Physocarpus, which despite needing a lot of water later in the season is slow to establish in the beginning. For that reason, the watering based on the clustering was implemented only after the establishment. Precision irrigation has the potential to
reduce water use significantly in nursery plant production. Our project shows that wireless tensiometers provide reliable data that can be used to decide precisely when to irrigate. Moreover, it allows more operational flexibility by giving easy access to the data wherever the grower is. Our research also highlights the great diversity of water requirements between species and how it is possible to reduce water use by making effiLT cient clustering of species.
This project was supported by the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA), an alliance of the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, Flowers Canada Growers and Fédération interdisciplinaire de l’horticulture ornementale du Québec. Project partners include Association québécoise des producteurs en pépinière, Hortau, Soleno Textiles, Quebec Multiplants and Fafard. The COHA cluster is funded in part through the AgriInnovation Program under Growing Forward 2 (GF2). GF2 is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
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CONGRES IPM Symposium ’17 The Importance of Collaboration Monday January 9, 2017
A full day event including keynote speakers, lunch, supplier showcase and closing reception Landscape Ontario’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Symposium has been a uniquely respected event since 1965. Attendees will earn 6 CECs from the IPM Council of Canada.
Monday January 9, 2017 A full-day event, with keynote speakers, lunch and closing reception. Held in conjunction with Congress ’17. Visit LOcongress.com for complete details.
The 2017 edition is presented with recognition of the OALA. Sessions qualify for OALA Continuing Education Credits.
MTO Circle Check Are you and your staff prepared for the future of the Irrigation Industry in Ontario? Join your peers and get prepared at the 2017 edition of the Irrigation Conference.
DAILY 11:15 am & 1:30 pm Trade Show Floor, HALL G
Learn how to conduct a proper circle inspection, forms to use, the difference between minor and major defects and how safe operation helps avoid hefty tickets and fines.
Thursday January 12, 2017
A half day event including keynote speakers and luncheon. Topics include: Irrigation and Sustainability - The New Odd Couple? Smart Irrigation Technologies How to Enhance Your Business WSIP Program Update Held in conjunction with Congress ’17. Visit LOcongress.com for complete details. 48 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Speakers Corner DIG SAFE seminars Presented by The Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA)
Seminars presented daily at 10:00am, 11:30am and 2:00pm
You are invited to join us at the 2017
CEREMONY AND PRESIDENT’S RECEPTION Landscape Construction, Maintenance and Design winners will be announced! TUESDAY JANUARY 10, 5:00 pm
Plaza Ballroom, International Plaza Hotel 655 Dixon Road, Toronto
CONGRESS ’17 SHOW FLOOR FEATURE AREA...
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WED. JAN. 11th
International Plaza Hotel, Plaza Ballroom (upstairs), 5:00 pm to 12:00 am
Join your fellow Congress delegates for dinner and entertainment. Your trade show badge is your admission ticket. That’s right; no fee to attend!
Garden Centre Featuring Awards of Excellence for Garden Centre and Growers Programs WEDNESDAY JANUARY 11, 2017 8:45 am – 1:30 pm, Sutherland Room Workshops presented by TOM SHAY
Open invitation to all members of Landscape Ontario from the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation Drop in for refreshments and network with other members of LO! January 10, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm, Sutherland Room
JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
Most events are at the Toronto Congress Centre (TCC), unless otherwise noted. Fees apply to conference sessions, pre-trade show events and some special events listed below. See registration form for pricing.
MONDAY, JANUARY 9
TUESDAY, JANUARY 10
a.k.a. Warm-Up Monday This is pre-trade show!
REGISTRATION OPEN 8:00 am - Hall D, Hall E SHOW FLOOR OPEN 9:00 am to 5:00 pm OPENING KEYNOTE DAY 1
FEATURE EVENT SESSIONS
IPM Symposium 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Cohen Ballroom
Landscape Designer Conference
8:30 am to 5:30 pm International Plaza Hotel, International Ballroom
Peer to Peer Workshop Leadership: Rising To Your Next Level 9:30 am to 3:30 pm International Plaza Hotel, New York Room
NEW registration entrance! Please enjoy the warm fireplace at the new entrance in Hall D.
Conference goers please use the registration desk in the Mirvish Hall; enter through South entrance off Dixon Road.
Get connected and get social with the Congress ’17 App! Go to APP.LOcongress.com
In Good Taste
9:30 am to 10:30 am Cohen Ballroom SHOW FLOOR FEATURES Speakers Corner 10:00 am, 11:30 am 2:00 pm Hall G Hardscape LIVE!10:30 am and 2:30 pm Hall F MTO Circle Check 11:15 am and 1:30 pm Hall G SESSIONS
The Value of Design: Knowing What You're Worth
10:45 am to 11:45 am Pinsent Room
Succeed and Prosper .. With the World of Water Gardening
10:45 am to 11:45 am Waxman Room
Tree Planting For Success: Beyond The Warranty 10:45 am to 11:45 am Berton Room LIFE LESSONS AT LUNCH
Thoughts From the Top - Learn from Leaders 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm Cohen Ballroom OWNERS ONLY WORKSHOP
Create Stickiness in Your Landscape Company – People Need Stability 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm Cohen Ballroom SESSIONS
Using Business Objectives as the Cornerstone of Your Website Foundation 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Berton Room
The Microbial Life in Soil and the Health of Your Business
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Pinsent Room
Resilient Plants For The Garden Now
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Waxman Room
Garden Challenges in a Changing Climate
2:45 pm to 3:45 pm Pinsent Room
Marketing For Green
2:45 pm to 3:45 pm Berton Room FEATURE EVENT
Awards of Excellence Ceremony
5:00 pm to 8:30 pm International Plaza Hotel, Plaza Ballroom 50 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Conference presented in partnership with WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12
REGISTRATION OPEN 8:00 am - Hall D, Hall E SHOW FLOOR OPEN 9:00 am to 5:00 pm FEATURE EVENT
REGISTRATION OPEN 8:00 am - Hall D, Hall E
8:45 am to 1:30 pm Sutherland Room OPENING KEYNOTE DAY 2
Garden Centre Symposium
Satisfied Customers Are Killing Your Business: Unlocking Secrets of Customer Loyalty
SHOW FLOOR OPEN 9:00 am to 4:00 pm FEATURE EVENT
9:00 am to 1:00 pm Sutherland Room
OPENING KEYNOTE DAY 3:
9:30 am to 10:30 am Cohen Ballroom SHOW FLOOR FEATURES Speakers Corner 10:00 am, 11:30 am 2:00 pm Hall G Hardscape LIVE!10:30 am and 2:30 pm Hall F MTO Circle Check 11:15 am and 1:30 pm Hall G SESSIONS
Learning In Thin Air
10:45 am to 11:45 am Waxman Room
Recommended Repertoire of Respectable Plants 2.0
10:45 am to 11:45 am Waxman Room
Eeny meeny miny moe... No!
10:45 am to 11:45 am Pinsent Room
Tree Pruning: Timing and Techniques to Promote Optimum Tree Vitality, Structure and Life Expectancy 10:45 am to 11:45 am Berton Room LIFE LESSONS AT LUNCH
Relieving Stress with Humour: Ingredients for Living Well That Don't Include Tofu
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm Cohen Ballroom SESSIONS
The Six Deadly Mistakes of Job Costing 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Berton Room
Better Sales with Combination Container Designs
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Pinsent Room OWNERS ONLY WORKSHOP
Performance Evaluation of the Owner
9:30 am to 10:30 am Cohen Ballroom
SHOW FLOOR FEATURES
Speakers Corner 10:00 am, 11:30 am 2:00 pm Hall G Hardscape LIVE!10:30 am and 2:30 pm Hall F MTO Circle Check 11:15 am and 1:30 pm Hall G Double Your Business
BOOMING Business! Take Your Designs, Installs, and Maintenance to the Next Level
10:45 am to 11:45 am Berton Room
Finding Voice: An Examination of What Makes ‘Home’ 10:45 am to 11:45 am Pinsent Room
LIFE LESSONS AT LUNCH
Thoughts From the Top - Learn from Leaders 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm Cohen Ballroom FEATURE EVENT
Grow For Gold Keynote
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm Berton Room
1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, Waxman Room SESSIONS
OWNERS ONLY WORKSHOP
2:45 pm to 3:45 pm, Berton Room
1:30 pm to 3:30 pm Waxman Room
Taming Hecklers – Strategies For Dealing with Difficult Personalities Transformative Landscapes: Healing Gardens and Sacred Spaces
2:45 pm to 3:45 pm, Pinsent Room FEATURE EVENT
5:00 pm to 12:00 am Plaza Ballroom, International Plaza Hotel
Leader of the Pack - Creating a Service Culture That Leaves the Competition in the Dust!
...and that’s a wrap! Thank you and hope to see you January 9,10 & 11 for Congress ‘18. JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
52 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
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of the pollinators What green industry professionals need to know BY CASSANDRA WIESNER, BSC. (ENV.)
“Save the Bees!” “Bring Back the Butterflies!” No doubt you have heard these statements a hundred times. Threats to our insect pollinator populations have recently dominated the media. The message is clearly being heard. However, like any hot topic in the media, someone with an agenda can twist the facts. Here is what you need to know as a professional in the green industry. We rely on pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, for maintaining biodiversity in the natural environment, keeping our gardens bountiful for food production. Bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 80 per cent of flowering plants, including our favourite perennials and many staple agricultural food crops. Several factors are responsible for the decline and stress on pollinating insects, including our changing climate, pests and disease, the improper or prophylactic use of pesticides, and most significantly, habitat loss and fragmentation. The horticultural industry has been targeted by some activist groups, suggesting the use of pesticides in horticulture contributes to the decline of pollinator populations. Yes, it has been shown that improper and prophylactic use of pesticides has affected bee species negatively. However, in horticulture, growers practice Integrated Pest Management. When a pest is present, pesticides are used only as a last resort if other physical measures are unsuccessful — and they are always administered according to the label. In reality, growers are actually impacting pollinator species in a very positive way, by supplying pollen- and nectar-rich plants. Our profession creates and maintains 54 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
beautiful outdoor spaces every day. These spaces provide crucial habitat for both foraging and nesting. Habitat loss and fragmentation has put enormous pressure on pollinators, especially native bees and butterflies. The green spaces and gardens our profession creates are very important habitats within cities. For example, over 364 bee species inhabit the Greater Toronto Area. Most are solitary, meaning they do not live in social hives, like honey bees and bumble bees. They cannot travel very far from their nests to forage for pollen and nectar. Most native bees nest in the ground in sandy soil; others nest in hollow reeds, or old insect tunnels in wood debris. Residential land comprises the majority of green space within cities, suggesting backyard environments can have a very significant impact when it comes to providing habitat. Our profession brings back yards to life, and turns them into oases, not only for us to enjoy, but for wildlife as well. The more conscious we are of pollinators’ survival needs, the more impact we will have. Slightly tweaking the types of plants we choose for garden designs is a rather simple solution. Choose native plants or plants that will thrive in your climate or zone, to avoid having to water and fertilize as frequently. Plan to have a continuous sequence of flowers in bloom from early spring to fall, and try to include flowering shrubs and plants, as they can provide a huge amount of pollen and nectar in the early spring when bees
are emerging. Another suggestion is to choose single-bloom varieties over double blooms, so pollinators are able to access the nectaries. Planting host plants for butterflies is another great way to provide habitat, as each butterfly species lays eggs on specific host plants. Considering pollinator’s needs when performing property maintenance could also have a very positive impact. Choosing to fertilize with compost, leaving patches of bare soil or wood debris for nesting, choosing to weed manually instead of using chemicals, as well as deadheading and pruning regularly to encourage new growth are all easy ways to make a difference. Green industry professionals can make a difference every day. We should promote pollinator gardens and incorporate pollinatorfriendly gardens into our landscape designs. It could be as simple as watching bees and butterflies, studying which plants they prefer, and incorporating those plants into your projects. Moving forward, our profession will play a very important role in protecting bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. For more information on pollinator-friendly habitat, visit http://landscapeontario.com/polli nator-friendly-garden. LT
Cassandra Wiesner is a project coordinator at Landscape Ontario.
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New Brunswick Each year the Atlantic Association of Landscape Designers organizes a garden tour and field trip. This year we visited gardens and nurseries in southern New Brunswick. We started out Sept. 10, with an evening social get together at the home of Peggy Wright who did most of the organizing for the trip. On Saturday morning, we drove to the historic resort town of St. Andrews By-the-Sea, meeting up with more members and friends. We visited Kingsbrae Gardens, Wrightman Alpines Nursery, and five private gardens, in-
Perennial garden at Kingsbrae Gardens
Garden tour group.
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houses and becoming more well-known in our region. From Acanthelimon to Zauchneria, Wrightman Alpines Nursery has perhaps the largest selection of rock garden plants in Canada. Several of us started a personal plant buying spree at the nursery.
Wrightman Alpines Nursery has a huge selection of rock garden plants.
cluding some large properties with magnificent views of the sea, and some quite small gardens with finely crafted detailing of the stone walks and meticulous pruning. The first day had beautiful weather, which showed off the gardens at their best. Harvey and Irene Wrightman showed us their impressive specialty nursery. They have done a tremendous amount of work over the last two years since moving their nursery from Ontario. They are establishing demonstration gardens, building green-
Private garden on the Kingston Penninsula.
58 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
In the afternoon we had a guided tour of the Kingsbrae Gardens. This 27-acre public garden opened in 1998 and has a surprisingly mature feel. Built on the grounds of a former estate, large cedar hedges separate the garden spaces. Walking through the large garden “rooms” leads to repeated surprises, for example, from the rose garden into the perennial garden. These gardens emphasize environmental practices and are a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. They include walks through old-growth forest, children’s activity areas (including lots of animals) and a large sculpture garden. We got a lot of exercise walking through gardens all day, so there were no guilty feelings about eating, drinking and joking around. We had gotten to know each other, and our group is as much a gathering of friends who love landscape and gardens as it is a professional organization. We had several people join us this year who are friends of the group, not formal association members. We ended the day back in Saint John for a lovely meal with 21 people around the table.
Sunday morning started out overcast and much cooler. We walked from Douglas Avenue via the new Harbour Passage to downtown Saint John. This walking and bike path is a brilliant improvement for getting downtown from the “wrong” side of the highway. The plantings are Oehme- and van Sweden-style grasses and prairie flowers. The signage and the relaxed atmosphere presented a people-friendly, accessible harbour area for Saint John. Next we drove and took the ferry to the Kingston Peninsula. Here we visited a landscape garden designed by our AALD member host, Peggy Wright. There are big views of the river from decks and terraces, featuring extensive tree plantings, island beds of perennials and annuals and well-crafted stone and masonry work. This property felt very relaxing, and the owner made it clear that relaxing at home and having friends over is her main design goal.
As we headed to the last property of the day, the weather began to feel more threatening. Would it rain on our picnic? Duncan Kelbaugh, one of our longtime members and owner of Brunswick Nurseries, Pools and waterfalls, built by Duncan Wright, including an extensive water feature with a “floating” step path across the water, that was fun to walk on!
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Bob Osbourne of Cornhill Nursery, proudly shows organic apples he is growing to Bob Howard.
and his wife Betty, were our hosts for the afternoon meal. Things were set up on the patios for all 21 of us. Their property is extensive, joining the nursery by an on-farm
road. The new plantings already fill in with lots of annuals and a good deer fence. Set on a hill overlooking the Kennebecasic River, the garden is meant for outdoor entertaining. But as the clouds got heavier, we quickly retreated, moving all the tables and chairs inside, and enjoyed the big view from the dry side of the windows. We’ve been very impressed by the large and trouble-free pools and waterfalls that Duncan builds. At his home, there is an extensive water feature with a “floating” step path across the water, that was fun to walk on! After a delicious home-made lunch we headed out for Bob Osborne’s Cornhill Nursery. Here, the plant lover’s buying spree took off again, with many of us taking home new treasures. We had a nice glass of wine in the Cedar Café at the nursery. It’s fall, but the nursery is still full of plants and activity. We admired a very skinny tall Scotch pine and a good collection of ornamental grasses. Bob showed us his organic apples and the propagation area. Also, he is testing some new, as yet unreleased, Artist Series roses in his fields. The excellent health of the foliage and late-blooming colour range was impressive. These new, very disease-resistant roses will go through several years of testing and evaluation; the best will be released in five years or so. We learned a lot, traded ideas and enjoyed seeing real world deLT sign ideas and installations. Where shall we go next year?
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Healing gardens The power of nature Virginia Burt believes passionately in the therapeutic power of nature, and the transformative potential of healing gardens. “Any garden can be considered a healing garden,” says Burt, owner of Burlington, Ont.-based Virginia Burt Designs. “Regardless of how extensive, gardens have the potential to decrease blood pressure, reduce stress and bring about a feeling of relaxation.” Many of Burt’s gardens are created for health care institutions. However, she says 60 per cent of her work is for residential properties. In her 30 years as a landscape architect, she has created more than 300 inspiring gardens, from balcony boxes to 500-acre properties. The two gardens profiled here are among those Burt will share in a presentation at Congress ’17.
The Gathering Place, Kitchener, Ont.
Norma’s Garden was created for The Gathering Place, an organization that addresses the emotional, physical, spiritual and social needs of those touched by cancer. The garden is a series of 11 interconnected rooms highlighting sculptures and water features, and providing areas for quiet meditation. Using input from staff, cancer survivors, family members and donors, Norma’s garden was designed with two main themes: play and meditation. Participants are as diverse as the garden spaces themselves — at times children run squealing with delight and at others quiet reflective spaces are needed.
PHOTO: RICHARD MANDELKORN
PHOTO: RICHARD MANDELKORN
The Gathering Place was created to help those touched by cancer.
Eileen Saffran, executive director of The Gathering Place, said, “Virginia captured the spirit of our organization and wove it into the fabric of the garden. Every functional area has the appearance of a unique piece of art. When you gaze upon Virginia’s creation, you are overwhelmed by the tremendous thought, foresight, and inspiraJANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
Each area of The Gathering Place garden is a unique work of art. Windows from the hospital allow patients to look into the Schneider Healing Garden.
PHOTO: RICHARD MANDELKORN
PHOTO: BRAD FEINKNOPF
tion that went into the placement of every tree, bench and sculpture. As an organization, we are truly thankful that Virginia, and her wonderful spirit, will forever be a part of our work.”
University Hospital Schneider Healing Garden, Cleveland, Ohio
Catch Virginia Burt at Congress ’17
Virginia Burt will share her innovative design strategies and principles with audiences at Landscape Ontario’s Congress 2017 at the Toronto Congress Centre on Jan. 11. Her richly illustrated presentation is titled “Finding Voice: An Examination of What Makes ‘Home.’” The stories of her gardens contain universal challenges and surprise opportunities; each is a unique expression of home. Register at www.LOcongress.com 62 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
PHOTO: BRAD FEINKNOPF
Virginia Burt Designs was commissioned by University Hospital to create a respite for cancer patients, survivors, staff and family members, adjacent to the Seidman Cancer Center (SCC). After input sessions with patients, their loved ones and staff, Burt turned to the 1924 A.A. Milne poem, Halfway Down, for inspiration. “Somewhere else instead” is an apt metaphor for the suspension of daily life that those facing cancer. A garden wall separates the garden from busy streets, while windows in the adjacent hospital allow patients to look into the garden from several levels. Passing through the gate and into “somewhere else instead,” street noise recedes, replaced by rustling leaves. Spiraling outward from the center is an accessible granite labyrinth. Moveable furniture encourages gatherings or finding a shady place to reflect. A snow-melt system using reclaimed
steam, combined with illuminated LED walls, ensure that the garden remains vibrant during Cleveland’s long winter months. In creating the Schneider Healing Garden, Burt balanced the patient’s need to recharge with the complex administrative require-
LED walls keep the garden looking bright in all types of weather and at all times of the day.
ments of a large medical institution. Remaining true to the project’s mission — to create delight for the eye and solace for the soul — Burt facilitated patient/client input, designed the master plan, selected appropriate materials to achieve LEED accreditation, collaborated with artists, coordinated with multiple consultants and oversaw all construction. One cancer survivor wrote, “As I walked the labyrinth, I became intensely aware of how this garden brings a new level of healing to my heart. I can only imagine what it will mean to people who are coming here during their long course of treatment. It is an ongoing gift to those who come back many years after treatment and find LT comfort for past fear and sorrow in this beautiful space.”
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Fighting ignorance with science: Lessons for the turf grass profession For years,
turf grass pathologist and green solutions specialist Dr. Paul Giordano watched his mentor, University of Michigan professor Dr. Joseph Vargas, deliver impassioned talks using science to dispel common misconceptions about biotechnology. Controversies surrounding products such as DDT or Agent Orange had poisoned public perception, making it difficult for scientists and researchers to bring effective and safe products to market, he explained. Even after substantial advances, a stigma persists amongst the general population; social media are flooded with misinformation, conspiracy theories and scaremongering. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Giordano is continuing his mentor’s legacy by explaining some of the most common fallacies and misunderstandings about pesticides, biotechnology and the turf grass industry to audiences. He counters the misinformation using peer-reviewed science and empirical data to illustrate the true ramifications and realities of pest control activities. For green professionals, Giordano’s insight and no-nonsense approach offers a blueprint to use when a client asks questions based on conspiracy theory, rather than science and research. LT: Why is this an important topic? PG: This talk has always been well received, particularly by superintendents and professionals in the industry because it helps justify what we do and why we do it. Whether it’s golfers, homeowners or every-
day citizens, they question the safety of lawn products put down near their homes and schools. It’s obviously an important topic, but it’s a hot-button issue as well, particularly when you consider the kinds of public policy being enacted. Ontario, for instance, bans cosmetic pesticides, including products containing glyphosate. These hot-button issues come up anytime I give a talk about disease or weed control. I’ve kind of taken what Dr. Vargas was doing 25 years ago and modernized it. It’s not just about pesticides anymore, because there is no shortage of misinformation out there, whether it’s on biotechnology, genetic modification, vaccinations, climate change — you name it. All of these are well-founded scientific concepts, but quick Google searches yield a whole number of different conspiracy theories related to health and safety that are quite dangerous. LT: What impact has social media had on these issues? PG: It’s easy to use scare tactics and to gain attention with a message that says something is causing cancer or harming children. What’s difficult is science, and when you really dig into the science around a lot of these topics, you start to realize that it’s not as dire or scary as many would lead you to believe. It is pretty clear to me that social media, including Facebook and Twitter, have done damage to the real science related to biotech and a whole range of fields.
Catch Paul Giordano at Congress ’17 “Perception vs. Reality: How Science Can Help Dispel Common Misconceptions,” is a featured presentation at the 52nd annual Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Symposium, held Mon., Jan. 9 as a pre-Congress event. Paul Giordano PhD of Bayer CropScience will give industry professionals some valuable tools to use in today’s information wars. Register at www.LOcongress.com 64 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Most people obtain information very quickly, because they don’t have the time or inclination to dig deeper, particularly because it can be a little confusing and difficult to understand. The general public certainly isn’t reading peer-reviewed journals and the real science that is being conducted. And it seems as though on platforms like Twitter, the loudest voice ends up being heard, even though it is nothing more than propaganda for some sort of company or organization that has a vested interest in getting people to believe something. LT: What can professionals and researchers in the industry do to curb the tide of misinformation? PG: A good scientist is never sure of anything. Because of that, scientists have always been reserved; they can’t be absolute. Whereas the other side typically takes the stance that whatever they are arguing is an absolute. ‘Such and such is dangerous, and it’s killing children!’ Or whatever the case may be. As a result, the scientific message often gets lost because it’s not as sensational or attention-grabbing. One way to overcome that is to find scientists, particularly those working in the biotech industries, that are better at communicating. Some of the most brilliant people in the world are not always the best communicators. Most real scientists kind of live within their own world, doing research day after day after day, that’s what they do; they aren’t necessarily PR machines who can go out and get a message across to laypeople who don’t understand the intricacies of the research. And so that is where the problem lies, in taking highly complex and technical information, and translating it into a message the public will understand. Across the board, there is absolutely room for improvement. We have some great people in the industry that do it well, and when it is done well it is very effective. Those are the type of people we need to bring to LT the forefront.
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Heroes, everyday people, faith during slow times BY ROD McDONALD
When I was young, just starting out in business, I heard that business people who were active in charities and volunteer activities did so for tax reasons and to enhance their business. In other words, all good deeds were related to the bottom line. That is what I was told. More than 40 years have passed and what I was told was not true. Yes, you do get a bit of a tax break with a charitable donation. It is usually between 15 and 30 per cent, give or take. The other 70 per cent comes out of your pocket. It is not 100 per cent, as some would have us believe. If it
were, I would be incredibly generous. Yes, people who volunteer are often successful. It is not because they have volunteered that they have been successful, rather, it is because they are decent human beings, wanting to make a difference in their community that has lead them to volunteer. With their personal commitment to community, other people recognize their decency and want to do business with them. No matter what the business, real estate, running a radio station or selling plants out of a greenhouse, people want to do business with decent people.
Jerry Tell owned a successful concrete plant. This was in the 1970s. He was involved in Minor Hockey as a volunteer dad. Minor Hockey had equipment spread all over the place. He had a bit of unused land at his plant and he offered it to Minor Hockey, to build a small warehouse. He asked them to volunteer their labour and they did. He then asked the brick layers, builders, concrete workers and his customers to pitch in and help the hockey dads. They did. In short order, all the hockey equipment in Regina had a safe and dry home during the off-season. I was told his
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generosity was for self-serving reasons. I had no opinion. I didn’t know him. A year later, Jerry Tell’s company started to manufacture bricks. I was now a potential customer and I dropped out to his office. I stood at the front desk; Jerry spotted me and asked if I needed assistance. I introduced myself, with all the confidence of someone in his second year in the trade. Jerry said, “Let me get you a cup of coffee.” He brought the coffee, a wholesale price list and a credit application. He said to me, “You look like you are an honest, hardworking young man, so I will start you out with $1,000 of credit.” He preapproved my credit application; all I had to do is fill it out, while I drank his coffee. As I filled out his application on a rainy day in 1978, I realized he did not volunteer as a hockey dad to gain business. He had a lot of business because he was a decent man. I have been a friend of Jerry’s for almost 40 years now, and he has been nothing but decent. Our local soup kitchen needed three concrete flower pots. “We will have the truck drop those three pots
off for you on Friday,” was Jerry’s answer. Sadly, he now has Alzheimer’s. Yet, he still has a big smile for me. He’s not certain who I am, but he knows that I am a friend. That’s good enough for me.
I have written that this past year was my 40th season in the trade. I will testify, from the top of the mountain if need be, that this trade of ours is filled with decent men and women. Kindness prevails, and a willingness to help is present. There is no denying we have those peculiar types within our trade, and I am trying to be civil, that will donate nothing. It is noteworthy they are the same people who are always complaining. Pick a topic, from government to seed suppliers, and their negative energy will wear you to the nub of your essence. We had a greenhouse operator in Regina, many years ago, who rarely came out to trade meetings. One afternoon he showed up. We were trying to organize a
group advertising plan to save money. We asked if he would participate. His answer: “Well, we have our own plan but I can talk it over with my board of directors.” The man who doesn’t have the proverbial pot to pee in, turns out to have a board of directors. Give me a break! We have also within my city, a fellow who gives nothing to anyone. He knows his stuff. Yet, on a personal level, ask him to buy two tickets to a charity event, “Absolutely not.” Ask him to put up a poster for The Kidney Foundation, “It would devalue my windows.” When this fellow passes away, I think I will check his coffin to see if he really took his money with him. When I travel, I often run into readers of this magazine and they tell me, “We have a guy in our community just like the guy you wrote about!” We really do share common experiences. I prefer not to dwell upon the negatives of life, but look at the positives. I have been fortunate to have surrounded
JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
roadtosuccess myself with positive people from the business community. My friend Nicky is a fellow who got off the boat from Greece in 1964, and wound up in Regina, speaking only five words of English (four of which he could not say on television). Today he is very much a success. Besides the obvious hard work, Nicky has always been the first to volunteer to help someone out. He shows up at so many places, and so many people know him from his volunteer work, his restaurant is always packed. He once told me his customers are not customers, “They are my friends.” A positive attitude, and a willingness to help, is a winning formula.
Now, onto the downturn — something that has been on many minds. I have been listening with great interest: Alberta has been hit harder than other areas. This spring, my wife and I went to Calgary to visit our oldest son and his wife. There is a highly-rated restaurant closeby. It would often take two weeks to get a reservation. This spring, our
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son calls at 4 p.m. and we have a 7 p.m. reservation. He told me it is easy to get a reservation now, because 70,000 people are laid off from the oil industry. How does that story affect the rest of us? I have been through downturns before and the best of our trade will survive, no problem. Who will struggle are those who over financed, something I have warned readers about in previous columns. Personal or business debt should never be so large that in a bad year, interest cannot be paid. Those who have operated as if nothing would ever change are delusional, and have left themselves open to being hurt. The late Bert Rutmann from Minneapolis said it best: “Always prepare for that bad year as it will show up one day. The good operators are ready for it.” In a slower economy, I have found gardeners still landscape their yards, but they do it in installments, not all at once. I also found smaller plants had an increased appeal to consumers. They comment “it will
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grow,” when homeowners are reluctant to toss money around just to show off for the neighbours. Seminars, here I go again, are even more important to retail — teaching homeowners how to plant everything from veggie gardens and hanging baskets to caliper trees. Information is easily your best selling tool: Use it. Those operations who built their business upon regular customers and repeat business, do much better than those who took the opposite approach and built nothing. In 1979, I was chatting with a reputable framing carpenter. A building boom was on and fellows who owned a hammer were now operating as framing carpenters. I asked the reputable carpenter about this phenomenon. He told me during boom times, these come-and-go carpenters appeared, as the good carpenters could not get to all of the work quickly. “During the more difficult times, the good carpenters keep working, as their reputations precede them, whereas the marginal ones disappear.” Why I share that story from so long ago is simple. So many new companies claim to be experts in our trade, and know nothing. I have had these people tell me you can spray Roundup and then rototill immediately, and others don’t know that you take the plastic growing pot off before you plant. The slowed-down economy will whittle these people down a lot quicker than the good operators. In a slow economy, the good operators will be able to get to their customers quicker. That’s what it has meant in the past. If you want to stay on the road to success, remember that faith and fear are not compatible. You are going to be okay. LT Rod McDonald owned and operated Lakeview Gardens, a successful garden centre/ landscape firm in Regina, Sask., for 28 years. He now works full-time in the world of fine arts, writing, acting and producing in film, television and stage.
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Good faith and the duty of honesty in contracts
BY ROBERT KENNALEY
A number of issues ago, we wrote about a Supreme Court of Canada decision, Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, which drastically altered the way the our Courts will approach litigation in the future. The Court called for a ‘culture shift’ in the way litigation is undertaken and embraced resolution of litigation before trial, through the increased use of ‘summary judgment’ motion procedures. Another 2014 Supreme Court of Canada decision appears equally likely to impact those of who enter into contracts for the supply of services or materials (which, of course, is virtually every CNLA member). In Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71, the Court dealt with the extent to which a party to a contract owes the other(s) any duties or obligations of good faith or honesty. In addressing the issue, the Court embarked on a new and expanded approach which will most certainly affect anyone who contracts in the construction and maintenance industries. VISIT US AT CONGRESS BOOTH #832
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In Bhasin, the Supreme Court unanimously held that our common law has recognized a “general organizing principle” of good faith. In addition, the Court held that contracting parties have a duty to act honestly in performing their contractual obligations. The facts of the case involved Bhasin, who sold investment products under an agreement that automatically renewed for successive three-year terms, unless either party gave notice of its intention not to renew. (We note that these clauses are very common in winter maintenance contracts, which often call for automatic renewals, particularly in the context of surety agreements that will only provide bonding on a year-to-year basis). To make a long and sordid history short, Bhasin was an investment dealer for Can-Am. Hyrnew, one of Bhasin’s competitors, had proposed a merger with Bhasin, but Bhasin had rejected the overture. Hyrnew pressured Can-Am to push Bhasin to agree, but Bha-
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legalmatters sin continued to resist. At around the same time, Can-Am was required to appoint an auditor to audit the books of its dealers (a process required by the Alberta Securities Commission). Curiously, Can-Am appointed Hyrnew. When Bhasin complained about conflict of interest, Can-Am insisted that Hyrnew have access to Bhasin’s books. Bhasin refused and Can-Am then gave notice that it would not renew Bhasin’s contract.
The Supreme Court determined the notice of non-renewal was made for clandestine reasons completely unrelated to Bhasin’s performance under the contract. It concluded Can-Am acted dishonestly toward Bhasin in exercising the non-renewal clause, misleading Bhasin about its proposed agency restructuring and Hrynew’s role as auditor. It held that Can-Am’s dishonesty was directly connected to the per-
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formance of the agreement and its exercise of the non-renewal provision. Accordingly, the Court found that Can-Am breached the dealer agreement. In doing so, the Court ultimately held Can-Am had also breached its duty to perform the agreement honestly. In assessing the matters at issue, the Court first considered the extent to which a duty of good faith should be inferred into all contracts. The Court fell short of recognizing an independent, standalone, duty of good faith, however. Rather, the Court determined a general organizing principle of good faith should be considered when applying other, already established standards
A Court will consider the principle of good faith in deciding whether or not a party breached its other obligations, including the duty of honesty. of conduct. One of these previously established standards, the Court found, was the duty of honesty — which requires honest, candid, forthright, and reasonable conduct in the performance of a contract. In this regard, the Court stated the reasonable expectations of the parties to a contract include honesty in contractual dealings, and that a duty of minimum honesty should be inferred into all contracts. The duty was held, for example, to preclude parties from lying or knowingly misleading each other about matters directly linked to the performance of the contract.
So what does this all mean? Well, it doesn’t mean we can accuse the other side of breaching an obligation of good faith under a contract (unless the contract expressly provides for such an obligation). Rather, it means a Court will consider (in the event a dispute gets litigious) the principle of good faith in deciding whether or not a party 72 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
breached its other obligations, including the duty of honesty. The principle of good faith could be taken into consideration in making decisions of contractual interpretation, for example, in deciding whether or not a party can rely on a technical notice requirement under the contract as a way to avoid an obligation to pay, or perform. The case also means parties are now clearly held to a standard of honesty, one which many did not believe previously existed. If a party lies or knowingly misleads the other side about a matter arising under or in relation to the contract, that party can be found directly liable for a breach of the duty of honesty. In construction, the case can and will no doubt have significant impacts. In addition to interpretation in relation to notice provisions and the basis upon which renewable contracts are not renewed, the case should have a role to play in the tender process. Clearly, it appears, those who put contracts out to tender will have to consider the extent to which their decisions and motives, in awarding or not awarding a contract, fit within the principle of good faith and the duty of honesty. We will accordingly be watching how the courts LT apply Bhasin with a fair degree of interest.
Robert Kennaley is a former landscape design/build contractor and an Honorary Member of Landscape Ontario, who now practices construction law in Toronto and Simcoe, Ont. He can be reached at 416-368-2522 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. This material is for information purposes and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers who have concerns about any particular circumstance are encouraged to seek independent legal advice in that regard.
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Implementing change in your landscape company
BY MARK BRADLEY
Change. If you’re a business owner, that one word likely makes the hair stand up on your neck. Not a week goes by where I’m not approached by someone asking how my landscape company, TBG, made so many fundamental changes to the way we operate over the years. If they only knew how many changes we tried that weren’t successful, they might better appreciate how much work and commitment it took to put our changes in place. To this day, we still struggle with why we can’t — or don’t — put some good ideas into action, even when those ideas benefit everyone in this company. Why is it so hard to introduce change? And what steps can you take to better implement change in your company? In this article, I’ll outline the strategy we use to roll-out significant change at TBG. But be warned, knowing the steps is only five per cent of the solution. Committing to execute the steps is
the other 95 per cent. And even then, you are still going to fail sometimes. However, if you are not changing, your business is dying.
Get involved. Get committed. Recently, a friend who owns her own small business rolled out some new software. On a Wednesday, her staff gathered to get trained on the new processes. My friend, the owner, skipped the meeting and met a client instead. We all know clients are important, but what did her absence demonstrate to staff? That the change wasn’t very important? That change was optional? That she didn’t appreciate the significance of the change to their daily roles? All of the above. As an owner of a software company, I am always amazed when I see company owners who want to drive change, but do not get engaged in the process. They don’t take an interest in making sure the software solution
they chose is set up to drive change in the right direction. They miss start-up meetings, fail to actually audit progress (have your staff demonstrate the software in action!) or learn how to use the management reports. If you’re going to roll out significant changes in your business, you do not have to execute them, but you must actively support and show your commitment. If the leader doesn’t get behind the change, neither will staff.
Explain why the change is important If you’re going to make a change, you must explain the change clearly to your staff. Gather the staff to explain it, and make sure to plan lots of opportunities to get their feedback as well. To help you put together a complete explanation, think about explaining: l What is the change? What is changing, how is it going to affect each department, and when is it taking effect?
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l Why the change? What are the root
causes of the change? What problems is it going to fix — save time, make a job easier, improve communication, etc.? Take this opportunity to ask why staff think it is important; their ideas may be different than yours, but more meaningful from their perspective! l What if we don’t change? What happens if we ignore the problem and the change? Will we continue having frustration, breakdowns, working late, going over budget, higher overheads? Again, start by asking staff this question: What do they think will happen if we ignore the change? l Ideas to make the change better. Now that the change has been explained and everyone sees the risks and benefits, ask for suggestions on how it might be rolled out. Are there any ways to improve its adoption? Use this step as an opportunity to share responsibility for the change. If someone has a good idea, make him responsible for seeing it through!
Explain how the change benefits staff Don’t skip this step. Now that you have outlined the change and why it is important, ask your staff to explain how it could benefit them. It’s really important at this step
Make sure to explain the reason for change and how it might affect staff.
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managementsolutions to let them lead the conversation. An easy way is by changing your statements to leading questions. For example: “So we’ve talked about daily equipment inspections and how important they are. But how are they going to make your life easier?” If you don’t get answers right away — and there’s a good chance you won’t — resist the urge to give the answers. Instead, ask questions that allow the answers to surface. “What happens when equipment breaks down? Who has to do the heavy lifting?” This leads them to realize their jobs are physically harder. “How much longer does the job take? And what happens when our jobs go over budget?” This leads someone to suggest raises are tough when we keep going over budget. “What else could happen if the equipment isn’t inspected?” This question leads someone to suggest that everyone deserves to go home safely at night. Write these statements down as your
staff’s ideas. Print these ideas out, and hand them out to staff after the meeting. If the change fails down the road, meet again and use these minutes as a discussion starter. “You guys suggested you wanted to do daily equipment inspections to help save work, help us all make more money, and keep you and your crew safe. What’s changed?” I don’t have any fancy studies, but I bet only 20 per cent of your company actively gets behind the change, while the other 80 per cent fall somewhere between apathetic (don’t care) and sabotage. That is why change is so hard. Make sure you examine who is working for you, and identify who is a risk to sabotage the change you are trying to implement. “Double agents” must be sought out. These types are the single biggest risk to change. They will sit quietly in the meeting, then as soon as it’s over, they tell anyone who will listen how stupid the idea is. And they will be effective — because it’s much easier
to convince people not to change. You need to know who these people are, and you must control this virus before it spreads. Sometimes, you can deal with double agents by taking them aside before the meeting. Privately explain the change and how important it is for them to support the idea. That means you need to sell them on the benefits. Sometimes, you are better off getting rid of the virus. Let them be an anchor around some other company’s neck.
Assign responsibility, and set a deadline You need not shoulder all the responsibility. Many people like power and responsibility — even without pay. Assistant managers in retail and service industries are not paid much more than front-line staff, but they shoulder lots of extra responsibility. Why? Because they feel more valuable. They feel like they are important — and they are advancing themselves.
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Be very clear in your assignment Define who is responsible. “Janice is going to make sure equipment inspections are completed every day.” Define what success looks like, and when. “Starting on Monday the 25th at 8:30 a.m., Janice is going to make sure your inspections from yesterday are turned in.” Define the consequences. “If you fail to turn in your completed inspections on time, Janice will record your name. If you fail three times, you will receive a written warning. After two written warnings, you will have a face-to-face disciplinary hearing. After three written warnings, you will be demoted or terminated. We cannot risk each other’s safety and future livelihoods because you don’t want to follow a system.”
Verify and hold accountable Once you’ve rolled out a change, the worst thing you can do is assume it is happening. Schedule a meeting for the week after
the deadline. Ask the person accountable to show you the results so far. Ask them to host a meeting to demonstrate where the project is at. If it is a really significant change, invite others to the meeting. The more people invited, the more pressure Janice will feel to ensure success. Celebrate the short term wins. Ask whether obstacles have come up. Again, use questions to help solve the issue. If obstacles are raised, ask “Why?” And then “Why?” again and again, until you get to the root cause of the problem. You will enjoy better success if you can coach the person responsible into solving the problem. When the change is stable, explain how Janice can regularly keep you up-to-date (e.g. Send a monthly summary report by the first Friday of every month). Rolling out change isn’t like following a recipe. It takes commitment, an investment of time and training, and strong leadership. There will be failures, but if you hope
to grow your business, make more profit or gain an edge over your competition, you must embrace and pursue change with a relentless fervor. LT
Mark Bradley is the president of TBG Landscape and the Landscape Management Network, based in Ontario.
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industrynews Lamarche retires
Canadian Shield rose
After 30 years serving the horticulture industry, J. Paul Lamarche of JPL Consulting has announced his retirement. Lamarche worked with business management clients across Canada and the U.S., always as a strong advocate for proper estimating and overhead recovery. He also wrote several books on financial management and retail. In addition, J. Paul Lamarche Lamarche developed service industry software for budgeting, fleet cost management and estimating. As a thank-you gesture to the industry, Lamarche has enabled free download of his software at www.jplbiz.ca. Technical support is no longer available, but registration is not required
and the software will never expire. Lamarche says, “This is my gift to all, for your encouragement and support over the years. These past 30 years have indeed been fulfilling and rewarding, especially in meeting so many wonderful people.”
Canadian Shield rose featured at Canada Blooms When the 21st annual Canada Blooms flower and garden festival — the largest of its kind in the country — opens in March, there will be a distinctly Canadian flavour to the show, from the design of the displays to the plants being used. Central to this “O Canada” theme is the 2017 Plant of the Year, the Canadian Shield rose. “Canada Blooms 2017 will boast more Ontario grown plants and a Canadian influence weaving its way throughout the show floor, and a key part of that will be the Canadian Shield rose,” says Canada Blooms general manager Terry Caddo.
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“The Canadian Shield rose is truly a made in Canada rose. It has rich colour and a majestic beauty, and like Canadians is hardy enough to survive and thrive in the diverse weather conditions of our broad and diverse land.” Branded and marketed by the Vineland Research and Innovations Centre (Vineland), the Canadian Shield rose is the first of Vineland’s 49th Parallel Collection to be released. It will make its debut in garden centres across the country in time for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. The collection is from the Canadian hardy rose program at Vineland, in partnership with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA). The Canadian Shield rose is a versatile garden and landscape rose with a more than onemetre spread and full, red flowers and glossy green foliage. It’s a repeat bloomer that stays stunning throughout the entire garden season. Just as its name suggests, Canadian Shield is a hardy rose that’s resistant to black spot and is winter hardy from coast to coast. More than 20 Canadian nurseries are licensed to propagate and grow 50,000 Canadian Shield roses for home gardeners and landscapers to plant in time for Canada Day 2017.
William Dam Seeds places third in AAS design contest Dundas, Ont.-based William Dam Seeds placed third in the annual All American Seeds landscape design contest. The 2016 contest theme was pollinator education. “With an impressive number of AAS Winners, William Dam Seeds used annuals and perennials to create a colourful berm to attract pollinators,” the organization said. “Signage near AAS Vegetable/Edible Winners explained why pollinators are vital for fruit production in those plants. Garden tours
and speaking engagements furthered the message to visitors, customers and other interested gardeners.”
GreenTrade Expo 2017 expands show floor Join 1,400 landscape professionals and over 120 exhibitors for networking, education and a chance to see new products up close at GreenTrade Expo 2017. The event runs Feb. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the EY Centre (4899 Uplands Dr., Ottawa) and marks the 24th year
A colourful display to attract pollinators at William Dam Seeds.
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industrynews casino night, the popular Ministry of Transportation breakfast and a varied slate of educational speakers. For full details, visit the GreenTrade Expo 2017 webpage at greentrade.ca or call 613-796-5156.
in the tillage and hay and forage segments under various brands, including Kongskilde, Overum and JF Kongskilde will continue to operate through its current sales organization and its dealer network.
New CEO at Caterpillar
Star Roses rebrands BrazleBerries line
Jim Umpleby has been named CEO at heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar. Umpleby takes over from Doug Oberhelman, who stepped down Dec. 31, 2016. A 30-year employee with Caterpillar, Umpleby takes over during a difficult time, as the company has shed some 14,000 jobs since 2015 in the wake of slumping oil and gas prices.
GreenTrade Expo offers networking for industry professionals.
for Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec’s premier landscape business building show. Geared towards members of the landscape design, construction, maintenance and interiorscape professions, municipal employees, members of the golf course industry, as well as building managers and owners, GreenTrade Expo 2017 includes the Landscape Ontario Ottawa Chapter’s 3rd annual Awards of Distinction gala and
New Holland aquires Kongskilde Industries New Holland Agriculture has reached an agreement to acquire the agricultural grass and soil business of Kongskilde Industries, part of the Danish Group Dansk Landbrugs Grovvareselskab. Kongskilde develops, manufactures and sells solutions for agricultural applications
Star Roses and Plants announced a rebrand of BrazelBerries line of small fruit to Bushel and Berry. “Following the purchase of the BrazelBerries program this past May, we asked our network growers, garden centers and consumers for feedback,” says Layci Gragnani, program manager of Bushel and Berry. “Enthusiasm was very strong for what Fall Creek had done creating and building the program, but there were naming and packaging improvements we identified. After much discussion and thought, we decided to rename and rebrand the program to Bushel and Berry.” The rebrand includes a new logo, tags and containers, which will be available at retail in 2017.
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China takes top prize at AIPH Exhibition The garden of the People’s Republic of China won the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) prize at the A1 International Horticultural Exhibition in Turkey. Congratulating China, the Chairman of the International Honorary Jury and Secretary General of AIPH, Tim Briercliffe said, “This amazing garden, covering 3,000 square metres, incorpo-
“Year of the” marketing materials for growers.
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reau Board of Directors selects crops with which consumers can grow successfully. Each “Year of the” crop is easy to grow, genetically diverse and includes lots of new varieties — all traits that will help consumers and their gardens flourish.
The merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont may be delayed as European antitrust officials examine competition issues in the rapidly consolidating pesticides and crop seeds industries. The $59 billion dollar agreement, struck in December 2016, is expected to go through in the first quarter of 2017. LT
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NGB “Year of the” materials now available Promotional materials for the Natural Garden Bureau’s (NGB) annual “Year of the” program are now available online at www.ngb.org. Each year the non-profit organization that promotes gardening on behalf of the horticulture industry and its members, encourages the use of the crops it has chosen for its “Year of the” program. For 2017, those crops include: annuals, pansy; vegetables, edibles, brassica; perennials, rose; bulbs, daffodil. The National Garden BuJANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
SERVING COMMUNITIES ACROSS ONTARIO For over 45 years, the G&L Group has been a valuable part of the neighbourhoods where we live, work and play. Through the construction, landscaping and contracting industries, the G&L Group proudly provides quality products and services that build communities from the ground up. We’re honoured to be a part of the roads that take you to work, the playgrounds your children love and the places you call home. Trust the G&L Group, Partners in Your Performance.
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cnlanews Vineland improves container-grown blueberry Edible container gardening is a popular trend among urban gardeners today. It fulfills the need for functional beauty that many Canadians, especially those living in urban areas, look for in potted plants. However, blueberries are not the easiest plant to keep alive in a container, let alone produce fruit, since they require fairly acidic soil. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VRIC) research scientist, Youbin Zheng led blueberry trials, which largely focused on finding the
ideal substrate to allow the bushes to grow in containers. Zheng’s findings have produced positive results that have produced protocols to grow the plants in a variety of ways. Zheng also mentions the lessons learned during the blueberry trials can potentially be applied to other fruits and berry bushes. Visit the VRIC website for more information on this and other exciting projects: www.vinelandresearch.ca.
Join us in Niagara Falls this September! CNLA is hosting the International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) annual Congress in Niagara Falls, Ont., in 2017. This is a must-attend event for all garden retailers. Delegates will experience more than the average Canadian tourist and learn from some of Canada’s best garden centres. Southern Ontario boasts a high concentration of garden retailers and nursery growers; this means companies must be able to thrive in a competitive market. Each garden centre or nursery we visit has developed something unique. Whether it means integrating into the history of their community, implementing environmental initiatives, or simply displaying products in a new, fun way — these retailers work hard to set themselves apart. Register early to secure a spot — this conference will sell out quickly! Registration form available at www.igcacanada2017.ca.
Vineland focuses on improving container blueberry plants. (Photo courtesy Vineland Research and Innovation Centre)
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Encouraging women in horticulture Last fall, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum held a three-part webinar series, “Skilled Trades Opportunities for Women.” CNLA Industry HR Coordinator Stacey Porter was the speaker for Part Two, “Encouraging Women in Horticulture.” This webinar explains the exciting and diverse pathways that make up the horticulture industry. Check out the full series on CAF’s YouTube channel; www.youtube.com/user/cafapprenticeship.
Effective Leadership The Effective Leadership online resource is built to provide insight into business management and effective leadership for green professionals. Several landscape and horticulture business managers and owners share their own experiences through each growth phase in their company. Elpathway.ca provides an opportunity to learn from peers, while learning best practices to apply in your business. View the tools and resources at www.elpathway.ca.
Utility locates online The Canadian Common Ground Alliance has announced one-call centres for all homeowners, landowners and contractors across Canada. Anyone can call or visit www.digsafecanada.ca to get information on underground infrastructure before beginning a project.
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Garden centre benchmarking software Garden Centres Canada continues to offer free benchmarking software to help members leverage their sales data. Participants simply enter weekly sales information into the software, which then compiles it and allows for comparison between aggregate data of other participants in their region and across Canada. With this software, garden retailers will have easy access to reports on total sales, transaction count, labour and inventory spending, etc. Not only is this information helpful to the main user, it is also helps CNLA, to develop programs that are useful and relevant to members. Apply for your free access at www.cnla-acpp.ca.
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Canadian Landscape Standard spreading across the country Almost a year after the initial launch of Canada’s first national landscape standard, landscape contractors, landscape architects, landscape designers, municipalities, educators and others are ensuring they have at least a copy or two. The purpose of the Canadian Landscape Standard is to document Canadian landscape construction best practices, resulting from collaborative national industry input. It sets the guidelines and makes recommendations for all major aspects of the landscape industry. This document recognizes professional members of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and CNLA provincial associations, and promotes competence, conformity, consistency and compliance. Order your copy today at www.csla-aapc.ca/standard. LT
The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association is the federation of Canada’s provincial horticultural trade associations. Visit www.cnla-acpp.ca for more information.
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newproducts Bag attachment for stand-on mowers Toro recently announced a new attachment for the GrandStand and GrandStand Multi Force stand-on mower product lines. With the addition of the Powered Bagger attachment, Toro offers the ability for landscape contractors to efficiently collect grass clippings while taking advantage of all the benefits of a stand-on mower. The compact design of the side-mounted soft twin bagger, and vertically mounted blower, allow for excellent maneuverability in tight spaces and maximum visibility during operation. Toro www.toro.com
Excavator The new TB2150 hydraulic excavator is the largest in the Takeuchi lineup. At 34,480 pounds, the machine delivers greater functionality, performance, comfort, and serviceability than the previous TB1140 SERIES 2 model. The TB2150 offers a maximum digging depth of 18 feet, maximum dump height of 20 feet 4.9 inches, maximum reach of 28 feet 8.9 inches and maximum bucket breakout force of 22,190 pounds. Powered by a Deutz TCD 3.6 litre turbocharged diesel engine that is U.S. EPA Final Tier 4 emission compliant, the TB2150 produces 114 horsepower, which is a 10 per cent increase over the previous version. It also delivers 339 foot-pounds of torque, a 19 per cent increase. Takeuchi-US www.takeuchi-us.com
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Don’t miss Eastern Ontario’s Landscape & Construction Show…
Now BIGGER than ever! You won’t want to miss this one! With over 100 exhibitors, GreenTrade Expo 2017 is your one-stop place for the latest products, business-building ideas & valuable contacts. Here’s a taste of what we’ve got planned…
The 3rd Annual Awards of Distinction Gala & Casino Night – This ticketed event, held the evening before GreenTrade Expo 2017, recognizes and inspires excellence among our industry suppliers and Chapter members. A Vegas-style Casino Night follows the Awards Gala.
Great Industry Networking – For businessgrowing ideas, new products, or just to reconnect – with over 1,400 attendees and over 100 exhibitors you can network to your heart’s content.
Ottawa Chapter of Landscape Ontario
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The Educational Workshops – The ticketed MTO Contractors Breakfast and FREE business building seminars – offer something for everyone.
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February 15th, 2017 • 9 am - 3 pm EY Centre • Ottawa Airport Register on-line TODAY for your FREE admission to GreenTrade Expo 2017…
Brought to you by the Ottawa Chapter of
newproducts Open and closed-reel tape measures The new open- and closed-reel long tapes from Milwaukee feature the industry’s first blade clearing system with a wiper that keeps contaminants out of the housing. The open-reel tape utilizes a 3:1 planetary metal gear system that distributes force evenly and puts less stress on internal components to prolong life. The open-reel tapes are available in 100 and 300 feet lengths, while the closed loop is 100-feet long. Milwaukee Tool www.milwaukeetool.com
Hydraulic cooler The redesigned Cool Flow auxiliary hydraulic cooler from Loftness provides increased cooling capacity to help keep machines and attachments running safely. The Cool Flow reduces the risk of overheating in almost any machine, including tool carriers such as skid steers, backhoes and track loaders. Twin 11-in. diameter fans, an aluminum brazed core and a peak flow of 45 GPM push cooling to 120,000 BTUs per hour. Fan speed is controlled by a 12-volt system and an automatic thermostatically controlled on/off switch. Loftness www.loftness.com
VISIT US AT CONGRESS BOOTH #1718
VISIT US AT CONGRESS BOOTH #1212 & 1216
YOUR SOURCE FOR HIGH QUALITY CLAY PAVING BRICKS • “Genuine Clay Brick Pavers”Hard fired, tested, proven to endure and enhance any landscape design. • Available in over 100 colour ranges, 30 sizes, and thicknesses from 1” to 3” • NEW Permeable Clay Brick Pavers - For rainwater conservation and stormwater management.
WORK FASTER…LIFT HEAVIER…
REACH HIGHER talogue Samples & CaRequest Available on
9-5115 Harvester Rd., Burlington, ON L7L 0A3
Burlington: 905-637-6997 • Toronto: 416-252-5811 • Ottawa: 613-739-5850 Toll-Free: 800-567-5800
www.ThamesValleyBrick.com 86 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
Just try one
Worksaver recently introduced two new models of its ETG-26 grapples, the ETG-26G and ETG-26JD. Both models feature dual upper grapples of 3/8-in. steel that are 16.5-in. wide to help retain brush, logs, pruning and other loose debris, leaving the dirt behind. The ETG-26JD offers a John Deere 400/500 style mount, while the ETG-26G features a Euro/ Global mount. Both units are six feet wide. Hydraulic hoses are protected with a nylon abrasion-resistant fabric sleeve and are routed through the mainframe tube. Worksaver www.worksaver.com
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H O R N BY, O N
Turf care hand pump The new Gulp Ultramax Plus from Underhill is the first suction pump that completely disassembles for easy maintenance. The hand pump is used for quick clean ups of water-soaked areas on turf and landscape, including valve boxes and sprinklers. Three models are featured: 36-in. length with 72-in. hose; 21-in. length with 18-in. hose; and 12 oz. syringe version. The UltraMax Plus o-ring and wiper seal, head assembly and intake foot/filter are all removable for maintenance. Replacement parts are available. Underhill International www.uicorp.net
Walk-behind mower Sarlo Power Mowers introduces the new BigMo 34-in. Hydro, a walkbehind mower with a 34-in. cutting deck, hydro transmission and the patented Twin Track Deck. The Twin Track cutting system features an in-line spindle design built into an compact platform. The Twin Track blade system offers an extraordinary quality cut. The BigMo 34-in. Hydro is built to commercialduty specifications with a powerful 10.5 hp. Engine and hydrostatic drive system, providing the ultimate blend of performance and convenience. Sarlo Power Mowers www.sarlomower.com
JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
AT COIVIC SPECIMEN TREES WE OFFER A WIDE VARIETY OF THE FINEST QUALITY PLANT MATERIAL. WE INVITE YOU TO VISIT OUR NURSERY AND BROWSE OUR HAND-SELECTED SPECIMEN PIECES.
T: ( 9 0 5 ) 8 7 8 - 9 1 0 1 F: ( 9 0 5 ) 8 7 8 - 9 4 7 1
E : I N F O @ CO I V I C . CO M O N L I N E AT: CO I V I C . CO M JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |
January 3-5, Indiana Green Expo, Indianapolis, Ind. www.indianagreenexpo.com FINN Hydroseeders & Bark Blowers New and Used • Flex Guard FRM • Soil Guard BFM • Erosion Control Blanket Seed & Fertilizer Prefilled and Unfilled Filter Sock Toll free: (888) 298-9911 • Fax: (905) 761-7959 www.fibramulch.com
CLASSIFIED INFORMATION: All classified ads must be pre-paid by credit card. Rates: $62.15 (HST included) per column inch (approx. 25 words). Minimum charge $62.15. Deadline: 10th day of the month prior to issue date. January deadline is Nov. 15. Space is limited to a first-come, first-served basis. Paid ads are also posted to the website for the same month they appear in the printed magazine. To advertise: E-mail your name, phone number and ad to Robert at classifieds@landscapeontario. com. Website only advertising: Minimum cost is $67.80 HST included for association members and $90.40 HST included for non-members, up to 325 words. If over 325 words, an additional $20.00 fee applies. Website ads are posted for 31 days. For more ads and full details, visit www.landscapetrades.com/classifieds. Post employment ads for free at landscape.jobs.
January 10-12, Congress ’17 Trade Show and Conference, Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, Ont. www.locongress.com January 10-12, Northern Green Expo, Minneapolis, Minn. www.northerngreen.org January 11-13, The Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show, Baltimore, MD. www.mants.com
January 24-27, Sports Turf Management Association Conference and Exhibition, Lake Buena Vista, Fla. www.stma.org January 23-25, The Great Lakes Trade Exhibition (GLTE), Lansing Centre, Lansing, Mich. www.glte.org January 24-27, International Plant Fair, Essen, Germany, www.ipm-essen.de/world-trade-fair
January 16-18, Midwest Green Industry Xperience (MGIX), Columbus, Ohio. www.onla.org
January 29- February 2, Toronto Spring Gift Fair, International Centre and the Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, Ont. www.cangift.org
January 18-20, The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. www.fngla.org/tpie/
February 1-3, ILandscape, The Illinois and Wisconsin Landscape Show, Schaumberg, Ill. www.ilandscapeshow.com
January 18-20, Your Next Level, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. www.yournextlevel.org
February 15, GreenTrade Expo 2017, Ottawa, Ont. www.greentrade.ca February 16-18, Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals Annual Conference, Scottsdale, Ariz. www.aolponline.org
AT T E N T I O N
LANDSCAPE / CONSTRUCTION
February 20-23, TPI, The International Education Conference & Field Day, Tampa Bay, Fla. www.turfgrasssod.org February 22-24, ISA Ontario Conference, Niagara Falls, Ont. www.isaontario.com
CREW UP TO GET THE JOB DONE!
Fran will put her 25 years experience to work for you.
Great products, great selection. Delivered to you, on your schedule, guaranteed.
FRAN MACKENZIE FLEET MANAGER
PHONE: 905•845•6653 CELL: 416•420•6455 email@example.com
PROUD MEMBER OF LANDSCAPE ONTARIO 88 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
February 23, Manitoba Nursery Landscape Association Grow17, Canad Inns Polo Park, Winnipeg, Man. www.grow.mbnla.com February 27- March 3, Canadian Golf Course Management Conference, Victoria, B.C. www.golfsupers.com March 7-8, Michigan Green Industry Association Trade Show and Convention, Novi, Mich. www.landscape.org March 10-19, Canada Blooms, Toronto, Ont. www.canadablooms.com March 14-17, The World Truck Show, Indianapolis, Ind. www.ntea.com LT 88 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
where to find it COMPANY
A.M.A. Plastics Ltd 26 800-338-1136 firstname.lastname@example.org 905-939-8491 email@example.com Allstone Quarry Products Inc. 11 Arborjet Inc. 78 781-935-9070 firstname.lastname@example.org Armtec/Brooklin 39 800-655-3430 email@example.com Atlas Polar Company Ltd 59 888-799-4422 firstname.lastname@example.org Avant Tecno USA Inc 80 847-380-9822 email@example.com 416-222-2424 firstname.lastname@example.org Beaver Valley Stone Limited 75 Best Way Stone Ltd 17 800-BESTWAY email@example.com Bobcat Company 31 firstname.lastname@example.org Coivic Specimen Trees 85 905-878-9101 email@example.com 519-571-2345 firstname.lastname@example.org Cub Cadet Pro 25 DEWALT Canada 37 800-4DEWALT Tamara.email@example.com 877-324-6660 firstname.lastname@example.org Echo Power Equipment Canada 73 Exmark Manufacturing Co Inc 41 402-223-6300 Ferris 65 800-933-6175 800-933-6175 888-907-7258 email@example.com G & L Group 81 GoGPS 76 866-964-6477 firstname.lastname@example.org 800-472-8359 email@example.com Gravely 91 519-653-7494 Greenhorizons Sod Farms 72 888-GRO-BARK firstname.lastname@example.org Gro-Bark (Ontario) Ltd 27 905-670-3352 email@example.com Hino Motors Canada 35 519-291-4162 firstname.lastname@example.org Horst Welding 83 905-612-0100 email@example.com Isuzu Commercial Trucks of Canada 82 800-465-9825 John Deere 9 888-347-9864 firstname.lastname@example.org LMN 12, 13 905-878-7226 email@example.com M Putzer Hornby Nursery Ltd 84 firstname.lastname@example.org Makita Canada Inc 77 866-887-6457 email@example.com Miller Compost - The Miller Group Ltd 46, 79 800-306-2111 firstname.lastname@example.org Miska Trailers 63 866-984-5381 email@example.com National Leasing 67 250-652-5888 firstname.lastname@example.org Neudorff North America 43 Oaks Concrete Products by Brampton Brick 2 800-709-OAKS email@example.com 800-463-9278 www.permacon.ca Permacon Group Inc 92 800-231-8574 firstname.lastname@example.org PRO Landscape by Drafix Software 19 800-361-0907 email@example.com Pro-Power Canada Inc 45 Proven Winners ColorChoice 28, 29 800-633-8859 firstname.lastname@example.org 888-855-9999 email@example.com Rinox Inc 69 408-778-7758 firstname.lastname@example.org Sakata Seed America Inc 55 905-845-6653 email@example.com South Oakville Chrysler Fiat 88 519-681-3000 firstname.lastname@example.org Stihl Limited 5 905-841-8400 email@example.com Stonemen’s Valley Inc 36 800-465-SEAL firstname.lastname@example.org Techniseal 33 905-637-6997 email@example.com Thames Valley Brick & Building Products Ltd 86 905-479-1177 firstname.lastname@example.org The Salt Depot 70 800-348-2424 LCEproducts@toro.com The Toro Company 57 TIMM Enterprises Ltd 74 905-878-4244 email@example.com 800-561-8873 firstname.lastname@example.org Turf Care Products Canada Ltd 68 800-UNILOCK email@example.com Unilock Limited 20, 21 604-853-3415 firstname.lastname@example.org Van Belle Nursery Inc 66 519-647-3912 email@example.com Winkelmolen Nursery Ltd 23 70, 86 905-628-3055 firstname.lastname@example.org WPE Equipment (Windmill) 877-727-2100 email@example.com Zander Sod Co Ltd 60
EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Lee Ann Knudsen CLM | firstname.lastname@example.org ASSISTANT EDITOR Scott Barber | email@example.com ART DIRECTOR Kim Burton | firstname.lastname@example.org LANDSCAPE ONTARIO MAGAZINE EDITOR Robert Ellidge | email@example.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Mike Wasilewski | firstname.lastname@example.org
ACCOUNTANT Joe Sabatino | email@example.com SALES MANAGER, PUBLICATIONS Steve Moyer | firstname.lastname@example.org INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS REPRESENTATIVE Greg Sumsion | email@example.com COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Angela Lindsay | firstname.lastname@example.org ADVISORY COMMITTEE Gerald Boot CLM, Laura Catalano, Mark Fisher, Hank Gelderman CHT, Marty Lamers, Jan Laurin, Bob Tubby CLM, Nick Winkelmolen, Dave Wright
www.amaplas.com www.allstonequarry.com www.arborjet.com www.armtec.com www.atlaspolar.com www.avanttecnousa.com www.beavervalleystone.com www.bestwaystone.com www.bobcat.com www.coivic.com www.cubcadet.ca www.dewalt.com www.echo.ca www.exmark.com www.ferrismowers.com www.gandlgroup.com www.gogps.com www.gravely.com www.greenhorizonssod.com www.gro-bark.com www.hinocanada.com www.horstwelding.com www.isuzutruck.ca www.johndeere.ca www.golmn.com www.putzernursery.com www.makita.ca www.millergroup.ca www.miskatrailers.com www.nationalleasing.com www.neudorffpro.com www.oakspavers.com www.prolandscape.com www.propowercanada.ca www.provenwinners-shrubs.com www.rinox.ca www.sakataornamentals.com www.southoakvillechrysler.com www.stihl.ca www.stonemensvalley.com www.techniseal.com www.thamesvalleybrick.com www.saltdepot.ca www.toro.ca www.timmenterprises.com www.turfcare.ca www.unilock.com www.vanbelle.com www.winkelmolen.com www.wpeequipment.ca www.zandersod.com
Landscape Trades is published byLandscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association 7856 Fifth Line South, Milton, ON L9T 2X8 Phone: (905)875-1805 Fax: (905)875-0183 Email: email@example.com www.landscapetrades.com LANDSCAPE ONTARIO STAFF Darryl Bond, Amy Buchanan, Rachel Cerelli, Tony DiGiovanni CHT, Denis Flanagan CLD, J. Alex Gibson, Jeff Hicks, Heather MacRae, Kristen McIntyre CHT, Kathy McLean, Linda Nodello, Kathleen Pugliese, Ian Service, Tom Somerville, Myscha Stafford, Martha Walsh, Cassandra Wiesner Landscape Trades is published nine times a year: January, March, April, May, June, August, September, October and November. Subscription rates: One year – $46.90, two years – $84.74; three years – $118.64, HST included. U.S. and international please add $20.00 per year for postage and handling. Subscribe at www.landscapetrades.com Copyright 2017. All rights are reserved. Material may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Landscape Trades assumes no responsibility for, and does not endorse the contents of, any advertisements herein. All representations or warranties made are those of the advertiser and not the publication. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the association or its members, but are those of the writer concerned. ISSN 0225-6398 PUBLICATIONS MAIL SALES AGREEMENT 40013519 RETURN UNDELIVERABLEJANUARY CANADIAN2017 ADDRESSES TO: | LANDSCAPE TRADES | 89 CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT, LANDSCAPE TRADES MAGAZINE 7856 FIFTH LINE SOUTH, MILTON, ON L9T 2X8 CANADA
Love the small jobs, too John van Roessel,
owner of JVR Landscape in Calgary, Alta., is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s horticulture and landscape architecture program and has worked in the green profession for 34 years. Over the past five seasons, van Roessel has brought two talented team members into an ownership partnership, demonstrating an innovative approach to management and transition planning that has benefited his company. How has the profession evolved during your career?
I look at some of the young people that start their own businesses after a few years of experience, and I think it’s a different world than it was when I started in the early 1980s. The speed of growth now is just way faster. My expansion was gradual, and I think growing from one employee to two or three happened within the first 10 John van Roessel years. But I was still working as the foreman most of the time, and I had a lead hand who was really just the person in charge when I wasn’t there. I did all my sales meetings, accounting and designing in the evenings. So there were long hours back then. It might be because of the evolution of labour. Back then, it was rare for a smaller company to own large equipment. Now, someone starting out knows they are going to need a skid steer and an excavator, so they’re in a different world because you need so much business to support your overhead, and you need to have financing in place. There are advantages to both growth models, but for me, it was really about taking into account the needs of the people I had on staff at the time. Why did you decide to bring on two staff members as business partners? I felt they were good, key people and I wanted to spend time and effort on training and keeping them. I thought about people I had in the past, and I had learned I can’t just keep paying people more money and expect them to stay. And so I decided the best way would be to
90 | JANUARY 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES
actually bring them into the business and to make them partners. Many in the industry can relate to how draining it can be, to get where you have trained someone to be that master foreman, and they leave to pursue another opportunity. Especially as you get older, you realize you just don’t want to go through that again. I was fortunate to have a couple of employees that were really motivated, and just good people, and I told them that honestly, this would be my last kick at the can, so to speak. So we had a round of meetings and a golf trip to Mexico, and decided this was the right move. After about five years, I am now a 50-per cent partner and the two of them are each at 25. How has the transition worked? We created a plan with minimum and maximum time periods for when they would gain their ownership stakes, and we’ve now completed the first part. We are going to be looking at the next phase, and figuring out what that will look like. It has taken a lot of patience, in terms of training, but nothing I hadn’t expected. Overall, it has been a really positive experience. I couldn’t have asked for better people to work with, and I feel like bringing them into ownership created real excitement and drive on their end. And in fact, they got to the 25 per cent level sooner than anticipated, because we have enjoyed a few successful years. And again, their drive to be part of a successful company has been the main reason why it has worked so well. What’s the most important lesson you have passed on to your mentees? I always say there are three things you have to do as a landscape designer: Listen, listen and listen to your clients. I’ve heard from so many customers that other people just want to sell product. They don’t really listen to the customer, to find out what the customer wants. So I think that’s one of my strengths, being able to transpose what they’ve told me into a plan that works with their budget. Not all customers here have unlimited budgets. So, being able to adapt a big plan and scale it back into something that fits is a challenge, and not every landscaper wants to do that. But it doesn’t matter to me; I love the small customers and I love the big ones, too. Sometimes the small ones can be better projects and better customers in the end. LT
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