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June 2017

VOL. 39, NO. 5

Why overheads are improving for contractors Anti-spam law update Bob Osborne on building a steady team



Our most-visited landscape

PROVINCIAL TREES Living symbols of regional spirit PM40013519



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Contents EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Lee Ann Knudsen CLM |

JUNE 2017 VOL. 39, NO. 5


ADVISORY COMMITTEE Gerald Boot CLM, Laura Catalano, Mark Fisher, Hank Gelderman CHT, Marty Lamers, Bob Tubby CLM, Nick Winkelmolen, Dave Wright Landscape Trades is published by Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association 7856 Fifth Line South, Milton, ON L9T 2X8 Phone: (905)875-1805 Email: Fax: (905)875-0183 Web site: LANDSCAPE ONTARIO STAFF Darryl Bond, Amy Buchanan, Rachel Cerelli, Tony DiGiovanni CHT, Denis Flanagan CLD, J. Alex Gibson, Meghan Greaves, Sally Harvey, Heather MacRae, Kristen McIntyre CHT CEM, Kathy McLean, Linda Nodello, Kathleen Pugliese, Ian Service, Tom Somerville, Myscha Stafford, David Turnbull, Martha Walsh, Alexandra Wennberg, 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 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.

Canada’s birthday issue 6 Parliament Hill panorama

A landscape on an impressive site, designed by an influential landscape architect, visited by thousands every day — the story of Parliament Hill.


14 Canada’s provincial trees

Official trees reflect provincial landscapes, offering designers a chance to specify trees with special meaning.


COLUMNS 20 Road to success

Too many business owners make mistakes with real estate values; the only relevant value is market value.


22 Management solutions

A good news story: Overheads are improving for Canada’s landscape contractors. Find out why.


24 Legal matters

An update on compliance requirements for electronic communications vis-à-vis Canada’s anti-spam law.


38 Mentor moment



COVER PHOTO: Jeremy MacLaine


Bob Osborne of Corn Hill Nursery, on assembling a team that truly cares — year after year.











greenpencil How does landscaping mesh with military service?

Proud to serve


anada 150 celebrations are every-

where, and what could be more appropriate? It’s a wonderful time for Canadians to be proud of country and heritage. Our Landscape Trades features tie the Sesquicentennial in with landscaping, and I had a crazy idea to try building a commentary around a landscape pro with a military background. I expected to find a connection between commitment to serve Canada, and commitment to work in her green environment. Finding such a source was By Lee Ann Knudsen not easy, though. One declined to be interviewed, because he felt his service was too brief. He said, “Given the events which have transpired since then, I don’t feel it would be appropriate to refer to myself as a ‘veteran.’  I would feel uncomfortable and, more importantly, it would be a dishonour to current members.” I respect that. The quest paid off with a referral to Pete Campbell. He works in inventory and logistics management with Geosynthetic Systems, an Ottawa supplier of landscape and erosion control products. Pete is a happy type, who obviously loves going to work every day. He was quick to call his landscape customers good citizens and great people; that for sure they work toward something “bigger than ourselves.” He especially enjoys working with business owners. He says joking around with them makes 10-hour days speed by, “It’s so much fun.” Campbell served in the Canadian Forces for 26 years. He was an Army combat engineer, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer. He was responsible for 45 troops as CWO, and says he learned “the ability to pass


on what needs to be done — the urgency. If supplies don’t get out, the mission fails, maybe somebody dies.” With that experience, there is no doubt inventory at Geosynthetic is as he says: lined-up, neat, clean and labelled. Beechwood National Military Cemetery in Ottawa gets a massive spruce-up each fall ahead of Remembrance Day. Landscape companies donate labour, supplies and equipment, through Landscape Ontario’s Ottawa Chapter. Pete Campbell is the day’s organizer; last fall’s effort saw some 30 volunteers turn up. He says his leadership role at the Beechwood Day of Tribute is totally different from military service. “I

Pete Campbell works unexploded ordnance disposal on the Iraq/Kuwait border in 1992.

organize the donations, the food, introduce everybody — then I turn it over to the pros. I won’t tell business owners what to do.” Campbell is a little amused at the direction his life has taken. “The way I look at it, both combat engineer soldiers and landscapers wear special boots, safety vests and helmets. You could dress them up as each other.” How’s that for a mental picture on Canada’s LT Birthday?

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The story of Canada’s best-known public landscape


he same week Queen Victoria chose Bytown as Canada’s capital in 1858, landscaping contractors began removing Colonel John By’s Barracks Hill construction offices. By had used part of the 24-acre outcrop, now called Parliament Hill, as headquarters for his military engineers, who built the historic Rideau Canal. After surveying the site, the government quickly began constructing buildings intended to house Canada’s new parliamentary government. The Queen’s choice was controversial because Ottawa, as we know it today, was an “outback lumber town” with a population of just 7,800 — larger cities like Toronto and Montreal were thought to be better choices. The parcel of land, originally purchased for $3,750, was not impressive and often referred to as a “beaver swamp” by local residents. Today however, the site is Canada’s best-known landscape, visited by over 3-million people every year. It is also focus of the largest remediation project in Canadian history, currently underway and expected to last 10 years; landscaping upgrades are an essential part of the project. HARDSCAPING ON THE HILL Landscaping and hardscaping on the Hill included the cobblestone pathways, retaining walls and stone monuments leading from the stone and wrought iron gateways

nt Hill




Landscaping and site work for the original Parliament Hill site was very well documented; the government appointed an official photographer to assist the Clerk of the Works. All of the mechanical equipment used on-site was steam powered, and a great deal of the earthmoving and grading was accomplished by horse-drawn work carts.

Elevations vary greatly over the acreage, presenting a design challenge for landscape architect Calvert Vaux, known for his work on New York City’s Central Park. Vaux utilized the natural site features to best advantage, and part of the site’s appeal derives from the imagination he used to accommodate these elevations. More recently, the ongoing remediation of the site is using landscape elements to highlight various Parliament Hill improvements. Part of this high-profile project will accommodate the temporary home for the House of Commons, viewers’ gallery and media facilities in the West Block. When completed, the House of Commons and other facilities will be moved to the nearby Centre Block.

that have always been prominent elements. Part of the Parliament Hill footprint are natural stone setts, quarried from Nepean, Ont., and transported six tons at a time using horse-drawn vehicles. The grounds also feature the Centennial Flame, the provincial and territorial flags and a monument displaying the original Victoria Tower bell that survived the disastrous Centre Block fire of 1916. There are 19 bronze statues of former prime ministers, Fathers of Confederation and two monarchs on the site, which is located atop a 150-ft. cliff overlooking the Ottawa River.

LANDSCAPING THEMES Vaux’s style and use of horticultural elements were based in large part on our unique climate. By incorporating wood, concrete, metal, glass and non-traditional materials, he created designs with distinct contrasts in scale and texture. Vaux used horticultural elements, plantings and textures to create focal points and patterns. Nearly all elements of the landscape were custom-built on-site, without the use of any manufactured products. His design for the site created an impression of great space, freedom and continuity, which appears in many of his other projects, especially Central Park. In areas where the views are quite spectacular, he specified attractive paved terrace installations using natural stone, with ample site furnishings, along with the railings and fencing. At various points visitors are able to view the historic Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River and of course, the Peace Tower and Eternal Flame. Vaux created an impression of space and freedom that is uniquely Canadian; he combined natural features including water, vegetation and open space that contrasts with other areas that are manicured. This contrasts with the steep cliff areas, deliberately left as they were found over 150 years ago. continued on page 10

This photo shows an assortment of heavy-duty landscaping and construction equipment parked on the Parliament Hill site. The upgrading and site improvements now underway are expected to require almost 10 years to complete.


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While elevation is essential to the site’s character, it presents constant maintenance challenges.

While the grounds have undergone many changes over the years, most of its basic and recognizable elements have remained the same: l Large areas of public space surrounded by well executed gardens, flowerbeds and natural horticultural features. l Numerous well-lit pathways, along with many hardscaping features such as pavements and retaining walls, as well as signage and site furnishings. l Mature and well-groomed trees, gardens and shrubs, complemented by excellent examples of natural stone fencing with wrought iron detailing. Today, as one might expect, the site includes a number of parking facilities and also accommodates pathways for cyclists and walkways for pedestrians. CHALLENGE OF MAINTENANCE An important consideration regarding Parliament Hill is the level of effort required to maintain a public site of its size. Parliament Hill

typically hosts over 250,000 visitors per month, even in winter. The site also serves double duty as a working environment for thousands of employees as well as many elected and appointed members of the government. The grounds host many educational, ceremonial and special events as well. Although the site is not a public park in the usual sense of the word, it serves many similar functions. Its usage, over the past two decades in particular, is a great deal higher than even our most popular Federal or Provincial parks. In addition, the usage is virtually continuous, meaning the time available for routine maintenance and upkeep is compressed. As a result, logistics and scheduling of essential maintenance services continues to be a challenge for landscape contractors on the well-known site. According to Ian Rowbotham of Exel Contracting in Ottawa, all landscape work on Parliament Hill, whether it be new construction, remediation or maintenance, needs to accommodate the primary needs of government and administration. This can include official business functions, visits from local or foreign dignitaries and other uses for the Parliament Hill site. Because the site is open to the public around the clock, proper safety procedures are also important, and contractors on-site need to be diligent.

A paved walkway on Parliament Hill, leading visitors to the various statues and memorials. The site typically features native Canadian plants and landscaping materials.


This rendering produced by the remediation architect shows the new glazed roof that will cover the renovated and updated House of Commons. Work is still in progress; the landscaping shown in the foreground is yet to be completed.

Exciting events are planned for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations and it will be back to work on the restoration once the party is over.

BIRTHDAY PARTY THIS JULY The pathways and park benches on Parliament Hill will likely be full on Canada Day this July 1, especially since Canada’s 150th birthday falls on a Saturday. The site is expected to accommodate crowds of over 400,000, and scheduled events include a Changing of the Guard ceremony early in the day, followed by a Snowbirds flyover at noon.

After that, it’s back to work for more than 500 workers employed LT on the on-going Parliament Hill remediation.

Brian Burton is an Ottawa-based construction writer.

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Canada’s provincial BY JEFF McMANN

Living symbols of landscape and heritage


asked an acquaintance to name the provincial trees of Canada. The reply: “What? Provinces have a tree? I did not know that!” Yes, each province, as well as the territories, has one — adopted by Parliament. Many of the chosen trees reflect the history, natural and diverse landscapes of its province. Taking time to research the designated trees provides a history lesson of Canada and the role trees played in the development, survival and economy of our people. The list can be used to create a truly native garden, or to sell the idea of a meaningful specimen tree.

British Columbia Western red cedar Thuja plicata

This shade-tolerant conifer is used as an ornamental tree, for screens and hedges, and can be found in gardens and parks throughout the world. There are a wide variety of forms, sizes, and colours. It can grow to 70 metres tall, with trunk diameters up to four meters. Some individuals live well over a thousand years. continued on page 16

Wes ter





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W h it e Bi r ch




Lodgepole pine Pinus contorta

L o dg e p

ol e

This two-needled pine can grow to 50 m high and live for 200 years. Its crown is narrow and conical. It is valued as an ornamental, with many varieties and cultivars available. Lodgepole pine grows in a wide range of soil types.


White Birch Betula papyrifera White birch is generally planted as an ornamental because of its graceful form and attractive bark, which changes to white after about three years of growth. The fall colour is a bright yellow. It is a medium-sized deciduous tree typically reaching 20 m tall.


White pine Pinus strobus


White pine is a beautiful ornamental specimen, valuable for parks, estates and large properties. With regular shearing it can also be trained as a hedge. This five-needled pine grows to 35 m tall and prefers well-drained or sandy soils. It is extremely intolerant of road salt and compaction.

p in


Red s




it e

White spruce Picea glauca

White spruce is a large conifer, growing to 30 m tall in a wide variety of soils. It tolerates shade and can be used as a landscape specimen, hedge or windbreak. Often slow to grow when young, it does not tolerate urban conditions well. Many cultivars have been selected for use in parks and gardens.


Yellow birch Betula alleghaniensis

Nova Scotia

Red spruce Picea rubens Red spruce is a medium-sized conifer, normally growing to 25 m tall with a crown spread of six m. Preferring welldrained sandy loam, it is suitable as a landscape specimen, hedge or windbreak. Growing at a slow-to-moderate rate, it can live for 450 years and is very shade-tolerant when young.

The bark on mature yellow birch trees is a shiny yellow-bronze, which flakes and peels in fine horizontal strips. The twigs, when scraped, have a slight scent of wintergreen oil. Yellow birch grows slowly and lives to about 150 years. It prefers moist, rich soils and is moderately shade tolerant. continued on page 18



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Balsam fir Abie balsamea

Balsam fir is a small- to medium-sized, symmetrical, narrow conical evergreen that usually grows to 25 m tall and 70 cm in diameter, with a seven-m crown spread. This tree is used in landscaping as a specimen tree, but requires moist conditions to retain its needles, that are dark green above and whitish below.

B l a ck s pr u


Newfoundland and Labrador Black spruce Picea mariana



Subalpine fir Abies lasiocarpa




The black spruce is an adaptable tree that grows well in a variety of soils, moisture levels and light conditions. It is a slow-growing evergreen, reaching heights up to 15 m. Pyramidal in shape, it makes an excellent specimen tree. Unique cones are dark brown, and egg shaped; they may stay on the tree as long as 30 years.

No r t h

Also called Rocky Mountain fir, Abies lasiocarpa is a medium-sized tree growing to 30 m tall, and makes for a unique specimen. The branches are short and drooping, the trunk is cylindrical and the narrow crown is dense and conical. It can live for 200 years. Hardiness zone 0.

Northern red oak Quercus rubra


Prince Edward Island


l pi



Frequently seen cultivated in gardens and parks, northern red oak prefers good soil that is slightly acidic. This deciduous tree grows straight and tall, up to 25 m. Under optimal conditions and full sun, it is fast-growing, and a 10-year-old tree can be six m tall.

Northwest Territories

Jeff McMann is a long-time advocate for the grounds management sector, and arbor services coordinator at Toronto’s historic Mount Pleasant cemetery. 18 | JUNE 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES


Tamarack is a deciduous conifer reaching 20 m tall. The leaves turn bright yellow before they fall in autumn, leaving the pale pinkish-brown shoots bare until spring. It is not often used in the landscape, as it needs wet soil LT conditions. Hardiness zone 0.


Tamarack Larix laricina




Value is subjective I attended a Winnipeg landscaping seminar 20 years ago. The instructor posted a slide of an ugly tree. He asked, “How much is this tree worth?” We all laughed. Of course, the tree had no value at all. You did not need to be a professional to understand that determination. The instructor upped the ante. “Let’s add in one more variable. This is the only tree left in Winnipeg. There are no others.” By adding in that qualifier, he was teaching us there are many variables in determining value. Many years ago, a nurseryman passed away in his 40s, a much-too-early death. His widow wanted to dispose of the nursery; it had been his passion, not hers. A kind-hearted member of the trade wanted to assist the widow in determining how much to ask. The well intentioned man provided her with a figure based upon what he would like to get for his place if he sold. The valuation was high, very high. He did not factor what others would be willing to pay, or market value. A friend and I drove up to the nursery to visit with her, and ask about the price and equipment included in the sale. We did not have a strong interest, but we were willing to consider a purchase. She told us the asking price and we were flabbergasted. I tried to be as delicate as I could; I explained that time was not on her side, that a nursery deteriorates quickly without someone to look after the stock. She insisted, quite vehemently, that this gentleman with many years of experience had told her this was the correct price, and she would not consider anything less. Who could argue with that position? We left and wished her well. Two years later, with weeds overtaking the nursery stock and general deterioration setting in, she sold to a farmer — who paid her only the going rate for the land. The farmer bulldozed the nursery stock. The man who ‘helped her out’ had done 20 | JUNE 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES

her no favour. He had denied her the opportunity to sell her property as a going concern. In the end, all she received was the market rate for the land. There is the adage that value is nothing more than what someone else is willing to pay. The seller can attach all sorts of sentimental and perceived attributes, but value is determined by willingness of a buyer to pay a certain price, and only that price. There are no other particulars to value unless there is a willing buyer. Years ago, I was selling a house for a family member. It was well constructed and well maintained, with no problems. It was spotless, and everything worked. One problem: This excellent home was in the heart of ‘the hood.’ Upon hearing the address, potential buyers would hang up. After three months, I received an offer that was close to established fair market value, the only offer I had received. I accepted it. Another family member was upset. She suggested I should have gotten more since the house would have been worth double in a good neighbourhood. No problem. I don’t want to argue with family members. I simply asked for the name and number of a person willing to pay more and I would cancel the deal. Of course, there was no one else willing. Value was determined by what others were willing to pay. “You don’t always get what you want,” is not just a Rolling Stones song. I am writing this story because a few operators from our trade have been listing their operations for sale. They are calculating the value of the land, the replacement costs for the buildings, the value of the customer base and the potential to increase that business. It sounds good, but life is not always fair. First and foremost, there has to be someone who wants that business and can finance the sale. If there is not at least one such person, the


valuation changes. So often, owners want to value all of the hard work they have put into a place. We work 70- and 80-hour weeks, we work when we are cold and hungry, we work when we are not working. We see value in that work ethic, but sadly, others do not. This is not what most people want to read or to hear and I wish it were not so. My neighbour was facing financial difficulty with his greenhouse operation. He owed a lot of money and thought he could sell to bail himself out of this problem. He was asking $1 million, but was willing to sell to me for $700,000 cash. I examined the books and his assets. There was no value for his business, as it consisted of a lower-end clientele, and he was losing money on sales. All I could include in the value was the land, the greenhouses and equipment; all three had been poorly maintained. The place needed lots of work to bring it up to retail standard. I offered him $250,000, which he angrily rejected. How does this story end? He was placed into bankruptcy shortly thereafter; the bank seized the property and offered it to me for $200,000. By this time, six months had passed and I was no longer interested. Someone else bought it for even less. Over-valuation is not unique to the green trade. It exists in all parts of our society. Just ask any car salesman how many people think their vehicle is worth much more than Blue Book value. Listening to others is not always in our best interests, as those ‘others’ often have no idea of value. One homeowner had three spruce trees in his front yard. ‘Someone’ had told him they were worth $300 each. I visited his property and would have driven by, but I just had to stop and chat. The spruce trees were tall, skinny, growing close together and impossible to remove with a tree spade. I asked why he thought they had value, and

again it was “someone told me.” I informed him they had no value to me or anyone else, and if he wanted them gone, he would have to cut them down. “Nope,” he argued. They are still there, growing even closer together. The same scenario applies to setting prices for our greenhouses and garden centres, and quoting landscape projects. In determining price, we have to factor in our operating cost, the price we paid, our input costs to produce the product and our desired rate of return. One thing often missing when determining price is what I call PMV or Perceived Market Value. I was visiting my old friend Heinz at Wascana Nursery. He had alpine currants priced at $12. Right next to the $12 plants were more alpine currants that were only eight dollars, yet they were larger and nicer. I asked about the discrepancy. He told me he had paid more for the $12 one. Customers do not care what you paid; they look at perceived value and they think the smaller ones should be eight dollars, because they are smaller, and the bigger ones should

be $12 because they are bigger. Pretty simple. Value is in the eyes of the buyer as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. All of us have paid too much for something at one time or another. Once, I was desperate for alyssum. I had none and my customers were asking for it. None of my growers had any left and I had to turn to a fellow I regularly chose not to do business with. I had to pay him a much higher price in order to obtain the plants. The question I had before me was, “Do I want the alyssum or not?” That’s life. Sometimes we pay more than what we want to pay. Even in my personal life, I have come to understand that if you really want something, you are willing to pay more. Buyer resistance decreases in all of us at certain times. My wife and I were on Granville Island in Vancouver. She wanted to go into a shop. I told her, in no uncertain terms, “This place is nothing more than a tourist trap and everything is overpriced!” As most husbands understand, we went into the store.

My friends know I have an addiction/attraction to flower vases, excluding the Ming Dynasty. There is something about a beautiful vase I cannot resist. This shop had vases including one I just had to have. Who could not pull out his Mastercard quick enough to make this purchase? My buyer resistance was gone. I paid tourist price and did not complain. Ask any price you want, and it only takes one buyer to get it, but sometimes an adjustment must be made. As hard as it is, we need to take our egos and sentimentality out of property and business valuations to stay on LT the road to success.

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.




Improving overhead spending BY MARK BRADLEY

In the April issue, we looked at some Canadian overhead benchmarks, to establish basic guidelines for what profitable companies spend on overhead. Most Canadian landscape companies spend 20 to 30 per cent of revenues on overheads; this category does not include equipment. This issue, we’ll examine what efficient companies are doing to improve their profits; either by spending less on overhead or by getting better results from what they are spending. Slowly, but certainly, overhead spending as a percentage of sales has been falling over the past four years. Not for every company, of course, but most established companies with some history behind them have seen the percentage of sales they spend on overhead trending down. This is certainly good news, as it allows companies to increase profits, be more competitive on price, or often a bit of both. Growth of revenue One reason overhead spending percentages are on the decline is the rise in landscape spending over the past few years. Not that long ago, the global recession caused a dip in spending as people and businesses got cold feet about the economy. Canada’s strong economic performance carried us quickly in and out of that recession, and a subsequent very strong real estate market has given consumers more equity to spend on their homes. Most landscape company revenues are growing faster than their overhead spending, and therefore, the percentage spent on overhead is on the decline. Having said that, there are exceptions. Some regions have not been as fortunate as others. The drop in oil prices and slowdown in oil sands investment has caused a micro recession in the western provinces, and a 22 | JUNE 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES

Companies are doing more training and paying attention to efficiency.

slowdown in the real estate market as well. Companies out west haven’t necessarily seen the same drop in overhead spending — their overheads have stayed constant (rent, salaries, etc. haven’t changed), but slowdowns in revenue may have even caused overhead to rise.

Impact of technology We may be a few years behind most industries, but technology is finally gaining traction in the green industry. I certainly wouldn’t have considered myself a ‘techie’ at all, but I realized the benefits it offered my company years ago. I saw technology like I see heavy equipment. Technology enables us to get more productivity from our staff — for far less cost per hour. We issued a Blackberry to all our foremen, even before screens had colour! Sure, we spent more on phone plans, but for 37 cents an hour we had anytime/anywhere

access to communicate with one another, which improved planning, productivity and the information we used to make decisions. Next we rolled out software and (eventually) apps for estimating, time-tracking, sales/customer management, and fleet management. Lately, we’ve invested heavily in surveying, grading, and excavation technologies — which have helped us do more projects, more accurately, with fewer people and less cost. If good people are hard to find in our industry, then we must look for solutions that allow us to do more with the good people we have. Technology allowed me to grow my business exponentially, but I was able to control the growth of spending on overhead staff. This gives us a real advantage in pricing against competition, but we also enjoyed better, faster, more accurate information, and less reliance on finding superstar office staff to maintain our growth trajectory.

Impact of snow and ice

Greater focus on efficiency

Being Canadian, many of us depend on the ‘white’ industry for a portion of our income. Over the past few years, climate has played an unexpected role in many companies’ overhead spending trend. Most areas have experienced lighterthan-average snowfalls over the past four years. For companies who rely on all-inclusive contracts, this could have had a positive effect on overhead spending. Revenue for snow and ice has been coming in, but the cost of performing snow services has been dropping. There simply have not been as many events to staff. Companies doing mostly bill-per-service work have likely have seen the opposite effect. Overhead for these companies is climbing — because overhead costs such as rent, utilities and salaries are relatively fixed, but revenues are down due to fewer snow and ice events.

Gone are the days where honest, hard work and “grinding it out” were good enough to make it in this industry. Competition is everywhere. Our customers demand more (for less money!) and staff are harder to come by. Forward-thinking companies are getting smarter, they are doing more training, they are paying attention to the efficiency of their yard, equipment and operations. While the world around is us is going “green,” landscape companies are getting “lean.” They are

making short term investments in overhead, that ultimately add up to more sales, with lower overhead costs in the long run. LT

Mark Bradley is CEO of TBG Landscape and LMN, based in Ontario.

Cost to acquire customers is dropping Gone are the days of expensive Yellow Pages ads, or canvassing door-to-door with flyers. Elaborate booths at home shows have their place for some contractors, but you don’t need those events to make the same impression on a new prospect. Websites are doing the selling for contractors. Great websites are helping you get to more customers with less cost per lead. And really good websites are making customers want to work with you before they even meet you, meaning a faster sales cycle, higher close rates, and more sales for less cost. Sure, you’re going to pay good money for a great website, but it’s still a small investment compared to the cost — and manpower — required to propel many more traditional marketing activities. You can have a very good website for three years, for the same cost as labour and materials to set up a nice booth at a home show, which might last only two or three days. A website means spending more money on overhead, but it’s far cheaper and easier to have customers flipping through a portfolio on a website, compared to the cost and time we used to spend driving out to meet them — especially when so many were just curious, and not real prospects anyway.






Revisting anti-spam legislation BY ROBERT KENNALEY

Prior to July 1, 2014, you were probably inundated with requests to provide your consent to receiving businessrelated email communications. On that date, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into force — in relation to “commercial electronic messages,” including emails, texts, voice mails and other electronic business messages. Most of us continue to receive what appear to be unsolicited commercial emails and are by now quite familiar with the “unsubscribe” option that accompanies them. Many of us also use email, of course, to brand and promote our businesses. On July 1, 2017, a “private right of action” comes into force, allowing anyone who has received improperly sent electronic messages to sue the sender for damages. In addition, it will allow class action law suits to be commenced; scaring business people, and their lawyers, who are concerned that class action lawyers may be lining up to commence actions. This causes

us to think a refresher on Canada’s AntiSpam legislation is in order. Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation is actually named (believe it or not) “An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act.” Because its long name does not even mention “spam” or “e-mail,” it can be hard to find on-line. Find it by plugging some or all of the name into the search window at Unlike many pieces of legislation, CASL is actually fairly easy to read as it relates to your anti-spam obligations. With private actions looming, if you send emails as part of your business, it is worth a read. We will summarize the legislative framework below — but must confirm that this is only a summary.

Under CASL, a commercial electronic message is essentially an electronic message (such as a email, text or voice mail) that encourages participation in a commercial activity. It includes any electronic message that offers to purchase, sell, barter or lease a product, good, service, land or an interest in land, that offers to provide a business, investment or gaming opportunity or that advertises or promotes anything or anyone in this regard. Under the Act, you cannot send a commercial electronic message unless the recipient has either expressly or impliedly consented to its receipt. Even where the consent has been obtained, the message must identity the sender, along with the person on whose behalf it is sent (if applicable). It must also set out the contact information of the sender and provide an “unsubscribe mechanism.” The contact information must be valid for a minimum of 60 days. There are exceptions. The above does not generally apply to non-profit and charitable

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organizations. It also does not apply to a commercial electronic messages sent in personal or family relationships (as defined in the regulations), to messages sent to those engaged in commercial activities about those activities or to messages and circumstances specified in the Act and its Regulations. Such circumstances, for example, include messages which provide information about an item under warranty. For present purposes, it is important to understand when consent might be implied, so that you can send a commercial electronic message — to market your services, product or brand — without breaching CASL. Consent is implied if there is an existing “business relationship” or “non-business relationship” with the recipient. A “business relationship” is pretty much what you would expect it to be. A non-business relationship arises where, as between the recipient and the sender, a donation or gift has been made, or volunteer work has been performed, in the prior two years. It also arises where the two are involved as, or in, clubs, associations or voluntary organizations. Consent is also implied where the message is sent to someone about his or her person’s business, role, functions or duties in a business or official capacity and that person has “conspicuously published” or disclosed his or her electronic address without stating that he or she does not wish to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages. Such consent can be implied, then, if the recipient has disclosed his or her email address on a web-page or on a business card given the sender. Implied consent will expire two years after it has been obtained. As above, if you sent out an email to market or sell your services or goods, and you have the expressed or implied consent of the recipient to do so, you have to include an “unsubscribe” mechanism in the email. This must enable the recipients to indicate, at no cost to them, that they no longer wish to receive any commercial electronic messages, or any specified class of such messages, from the sender. The mechanism can be the same “electronic means” by which the message was sent (ie: text, email, voice mail) and, if using that means is not practicable, JUNE 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES |


any other electronic means that will enable the person to unsubscribe. It must also specify an electronic address, or link to a web page, where the unsubscribe notice can be given. The recipient must receive confirmation within 10 days that the unsubscribe has been applied. More information is available at LT

Rob Kennaley practices construction law out of offices in Toronto and Simcoe, Ont. He speaks and writes regularly on construction law issues and can be reached for comment at (416) 700-4142, (519) 426-2577 or at



cnlanews New Canadian Nursery Stock Standard released Originally published in 1967 as a guide to minimum production standards for nursery stock, the Canadian Nursery Stock Standard continues to be one of the industry’s most-referenced documents. The Standard is reviewed regularly to ensure consistency with modern production and marketplace practices. Under the guidance of the Nursery Stock Standard Committee, this Ninth Edition resulted from two years of work involving nursery growers with varied production proficiencies, representing all regions of Canada. The process also included consultation with landscape architects and municipalities. Committee chair Brett Mattson, of Mattson Tree Farms, acknowledged the efforts of all nursery grower participants, and extends thanks to the committee members Bart Brusse of Sheridan Nurseries, Aaron Krahn of Lakeshore Tree Farms and Harold Voogd of Sunstar Nurseries. “We are especially grateful to our committee members and editors Arnold Heuver and Dr. Glen Lumis for their many hours spent to review and incorporate changes and even to contribute to the new and improved format. Their efforts were above and beyond the high standards we have come to expect from our many dedicated volunteers.” The committee intends the edition to be a living document, allowing for changes and edits to be made as necessary. The Standard will therefore be available as a downloadable PDF document only at Also available for download is a list of relevant changes compiled by Dr. Lumis. In related news, The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects and CNLA are proud to announce the latest Canadian Nursery Stock Standard will be included within the Canadian Landscape Standard. Revised editions are available to anyone who has purchased the document since its release in March 2016. The Canadian Nursery Stock Standard replaces Section 12: Container Grown Plants. 26 | JUNE 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES

The Skills Canada mini-series will provide an inside look at the green profession.

New CNLA website launched

Help for employers

The national CNLA trade website has undergone a much-needed update to make it a better resource for members. The website, www., is the go-to resource for members looking for information on member savings programs, national events, business resources and more. Designed specifically with members in mind, each member company received an email with directions to set up a login to the “members only” section of the website. This is where you will find information exclusive to members of the provincial horticulture trades associations. If your company did not receive a login, or joined since March 2017, please contact Anne Beifuss at the CNLA office, anne@, to get set up.

CNLA’s strong alliance with the Commissioner for Employers yields quick action. Recently, members have been dealing with employees who have been denied access to Employment Insurance. The Commission continues to support CNLA strongly, so please bring any issues to Stacey Porter’s attention if you require assistance:

Best practices for utility locates CNLA has partnered with Canadian Common Ground Alliance (CCGA) to encourage use of the Underground Infrastructure Damage Prevention Best Practices document, version 2.0. The Best Practices represent a dynamic statement of the activities the CCGA believes provide optimum levels of diligence towards preventing damage to underground infrastructure. Through the commitment and consensus of its members working together towards a safer Canada, the National Best Practices Committee will be part of an ongoing effort to develop new damage prevention practices as well as improve existing ones. Updated in October 2016, the document is online at

Skills Canada update The Skills Canada National Competition took place May 31 to June 3 in Winnipeg, Man. During the competition, Skills Canada followed the six teams competing in the Landscape Gardening competition to film a series of videos. This is the first trade to take part in a series of episodes that will provide an inside look at the national competition and what it takes to bring a team through. The goal is to encourage others to picture themselves capable of achieving the same level of accomplishment, and to promote skilled trades to youth. The mini-series will also provide an excellence opportunity to show the world what the landscape profession is all about. See how the teams did at this year’s competition by visiting the CNLA Facebook page: LT

The Canadian Nursery Landscape Association is the federation of Canada’s provincial horticultural trade associations. Visit for more information.

NEW FOR 2017

industrynews Snowposium returns in September Landscape Ontario’s Snow and Ice Sector Group and Landscape Trades magazine will stage Snowposium 2017 on Sept. 28 in Milton, Ont. New for 2017, there will be two streams of education sessions with networking breaks in between. The event will feature an outdoor trade show open to all snow and ice management professionals, regardless of conference

New general manager at Echo Canada

registration, which allows attendees to visit with experts and see new products, hear presentations and discuss practical tactics for efficiency in various areas of snow and ice management. Registration and a schedule will be available at For more information contact Amy Buchanan,, 800-265-5656 ext. 2329. For exhibit space contact Darryl Bond,, ext. 2366.

Michelle Wagter has accepted the position of General Manager of Echo Power Equipment Canada, according to Vice President of Sales Ed Zynomirski. She will lead Echo Canada’s London, Ont. head office management team, and will be directly responsible for financial operations. Wagter joined the company in 2010 as director of finance and has been instrumental in strategic planning and the development and implementation of key initiatives designed to create efficiencies and deliver service to customers.  

Public garden conference comes to Hamilton The American Public Gardens Association will hold its 77th annual conference in Hamilton, Ont. June 19-23, 2017. While many of the 750-plus professionals expected are from public gardens across North America, delegates Snowposium 2017 will be held at the LO site in Milton, Ont., September 28.

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from every continent will gather for the five-day conference. This year’s event boasts 15 host gardens and partnering organizations. From gardens renowned for their sustainability and conservation practices, to showcasing the power and beauty of Niagara Falls, these host gardens reflect a region famous for its heritage, hospitality, and diverse culture. For more information, visit 2017.

Canadian researchers develop wasp to fight EAB Researchers at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., are planning on rearing 10- to 12,000 tiny Tetrastichus wasps, which feed on emerald ash borer larvae. Dr. Krista Ryall of Natural Resources Canada hopes these new wasps can help stem the spread of the borer, which so far has killed millions of ash trees in Canada and the U.S. The wasps will be spread across six new release sites in Ontario and Quebec, she said. But the presence of this parasitic army shouldn’t alarm anyone. “They don’t attack humans,” Ryall said. “They don’t bite or sting or anything like that. It only likes to eat emerald ash borer.

The Green Street Challenge brings communities and families together in temporary outside green spaces.

So really, that’s its only host that it’s out there looking for.”

Cub Cadet partners with Come Alive Outside In 2017, Cub Cadet and Come Alive Outside will be working with Ontario communities to celebrate the importance of outdoor, unstructured play by laying down sod and creating temporary parks on prominent streets, with The Green Street Challenge. The programs create an opportunity for

children and families to play outside and value all the benefits that green spaces have to offer. With childhood obesity and mental illness on the rise, time spent outside getting active and connecting to nature has never been so important. The Green Street Challenge is a way to remind communities of the importance of creating and developing green spaces that encourage families to get outside and get active. “We were really excited by the idea of creating a canvas in which families can be reminded

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of the importance of creating their own outdoor spaces and “unlocking the possible” of their yards and communities,” said Melanie Kacic, Marketing Director of Cub Cadet.

JCB appoints new president JCB has announced the appointment of Richard Fox-Marrs as president and CEO, responsible for the company’s operations in North America, including sales and support for the construction, agricultural, rental, government and defense industries. Additionally, Fox-Marrs is responsible for production at JCB North America’s Savannah, Ga., headquarters. “As JCB’s senior executive in North America, RichRichard Fox-Marrs ard Fox-Marrs will further our position as a global leader in technical innovation, product quality and customer service, and accelerate our strong business performance and growth across all business sectors,” said Graeme Macdonald, JCB’s chief executive officer.

Gateman-Milloy wins CCA award Construction company Gateman-Milloy received the national award for corporate social responsibility, the CCA Community Builder Award, at the annual Canadian Construction Association conference (CCA). CCA is the national body representing the construction industry to government and business. Annually, the association awards a dozen construction companies from across Canada for excellence in building, and with this award recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to our communities. Gateman-Milloy received the award for its significant contribution to the Waterloo Region community and beyond over more than 35 years in business. Its efforts have included supporting such programs as Conestoga College’s Heavy Equipment Apprenticeship Program; funding an endowment for high academic achieving engineering students needing financial assistance to complete their degrees; and the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture, alma mater of the company’s founder and president, Michael Milloy.

Tuff Stuff wins Shrub Madness competition Tuff Stuff mountain hydrangea took top prize in Proven Winners’ annual Shrub Madness bracket competition. Coming from a crowded field of 30 | JUNE 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES

64 contenders, the competition narrowed to two hydrangeas after several rounds of consumer voting on close matchups. Throughout the competition, over 89,000 votes were Tuff Stuff hydrangea cast. This year’s Floral Four included 2016 Shrub Madness Runner-up Let’s Dance Rave hydrangea, Invincibelle Spirit II smooth hydrangea, Tuff Stuff hydrangea, and newcomer Czechmark Trilogy weigela. “Tuff Stuff hydrangea is stunning, with attractive lacecap flowers that create a mass of colour in early summer, and this rebloomer continues to produce new flowers right up until frost,” Proven Winners said in a release. “A very hardy hydrangea, Tuff Stuff really delivers with improved bud and stem hardiness.”

Ball Horticulture purchases Newflora Ball Horticultural Company purchased the assets of Newflora, which included the master license to sell an extensive line of garden and potted rose offerings throughout the U.S. and Canada. Since 2003, Newflora has been the exclusive agent for Kordes, the world’s largest breeder of roses. The transaction transfers the Kordes garden rose license management to Star Roses and Plants, and the Kordes potted rose license management to Ball Ingenuity, a division of Ball that has successfully introduced and managed a diverse range of flowering potted plants into the North American market since its inception in 2011. “The trialing, supply management and patent protection of Kordes that was well-cared for by Newflora will continue at Star Roses and Plants,” confirms Steve Hutton, president of Star Roses and Plants. “We are excited to expand our network of garden rose offerings to our customers, which will ultimately grow the North American market and introduce gardeners to a wider variety of roses.”

Caterpillar cuts jobs Caterpillar recently announced it will close facilities in Aurora, Ill., and Gosselies, Belgium; the move will see some 2,800 employees lose their jobs. The decision is the latest in a line of Caterpillar facility closings and consolidations that began in the final quarter of 2015 as part of a cost reduction plan designed to save the company $1.5 billion annually through 2018. One year later, the company announced market

conditions had forced it to be “more aggressive” than it had anticipated in making the cuts. Though the company’s initial estimate on global workforce cuts was 10,000, as of October Caterpillar had cut 14,100. The company says it has consolidated or closed about 30 facilities, an elimination of around 11 per cent of its global manufacturing square footage.

Kébol to acquire Witteman Kébol B.V. announced the purchase of the assets and activities of Witteman and Co. B.V., a 150-year-old Dutch company that specializes in sourcing and distributing bare root perennial products and conducting business as Darwin Plants, which is currently owned by Ball Horticultural Company. The acquired assets include the Darwin Plants portfolio of bare root-propagated perennial varieties sold in various markets around the world, as well is its related mail-order and liner distribution business. The transaction does

The addition of bare-root perennials complements Kébol’s current bulb line.

not include business activities or the vegetative perennial assortment of U.S.-based Darwin Perennials, which remains under the helm of Ball. “Darwin Plants’ bare root offering, longstanding relationships and worldwide network of customers make it a great complement to our existing strength in sourcing, sales, distribution and warehousing,” says Jos van der Drift, director of Kébol. “The natural seasonality of the Darwin Plants assortment perfectly offsets the natural seasonality we’re seeing in our amaryllis, tulips and other bulb products.”

Deadline for therapeutic garden grants In 2017, National Garden Bureau and Sakata Seed America are partnering to provide $5,000 in grant money to be split among three thera-

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peutic gardens in North America. National Garden Bureau promotes the health and healing powers of human interaction with plants through a yearly grant program for therapeutic gardens. To apply, therapeutic garden applicants should complete an application and submit it to the NGB office by July 1, 2017. In July and August, a group of horticulture therapy experts will narrow down applications to three finalists. The finalists will be asked to submit a one-minute video that will be posted on All involved parties will solicit feedback from the public, us-

ing social media, to vote on the garden they wish to receive the grants. The top vote-getter will receive $3,000, second and third place will receive $1,000 each. For more information about this project or National Garden Bureau, visit:

Husqvarna tests sharing economy pilot project in Sweden This spring, Husqvarna launched a project that will see homeowners in Stockholm, Sweden gain access to pay-per-use power tools for their gardens.



C A N W E S T H O R T E X P O . C O M

The Husqvarna Battery Box, is a “smart,” eight by three-metre, unattended container with 30 electronic lockers that store battery powered garden care products. Via an iPhone app, homeowners can reserve tools, get instructions, pay, and open the locker to pick up their prebooked power tool. The “box” will be placed at Bromma Blocks, a shopping center 15 minutes west of Stockholm.

Registration opens for 2017 AAS Summer Summit Registration is now open for the 2017 Summer Summit, hosted by All-America Selections, the National Garden Bureau and Home Garden Seed Association in upstate New York, Sept. 5-8, 2017. The itinerary includes tours of the Wegman’s Super Store, Harris Seeds’ trials and offices, Greentopia, Green Vision’s cut flower farm and the ecodistrict renaturalization around the falls, Bejo’s vegetable trials and Sakata Seeds’ trials, Seneca Vegetable Research, Cornell University, HGSA’s trials and the New York Wine and Culinary Center. The annual AAS Awards Banquet also takes place during the event. For full details and to register, visit: aas-meetings-events/. LT


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Dear Lee Ann Knudsen, Re: The recent issue of Landscape Trades and your editorial; I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I was a professional writer who has been editor of many in-house publications. “Green with gratitude” contains fine insights.   Catherine Macleod Kincardine, Ont. LT 32 | JUNE 2017 | LANDSCAPE TRADES

newproducts Vehicle battery charger The new vehicle charger from Milwaukee plugs into 12 volt outlets and accepts all M18 and M12 battery packs, charging them sequentially. With Milwaukee Redlink Intelligence, the charger communicates directly with M18 and M12 battery packs to monitor cell voltage, temperature, and charge status to optimize the performance and overall life of the packs. Milwaukee

Excavator-mount potter The new excavator-mount potter from Dutchmaster makes digging for small plants in narrow rows easier. The new potters can be built with either two or three blades, and on 12-, 15-, or 25-degree angles to properly fit the pot or basket of choice. They use minimal ground space when working and offer excellent visibility, as the operator can look under the spade instead of overtop. The high frame potter can dig in areas as tight as two- by two-ft. centres, and can be outfitted with electronic controls. Dutchmaster

Excavator line Bobcat has launched the new R-Series line of excavators. The first to launch will include the Bobcat E32 and E35 in the three to four-ton size class. Additional R-Series excavators from Bobcat will be introduced at a later date. Bobcat


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newproducts Hopper spreader The new Poly-Caster UTV hopper spreader by Fisher combines the features of larger spreader models with a lightweight design specifically tailored for utility vehicles. Features include a multi-angled hopper that prevents bridging and clogging and provides maximum flow; a quick-connect spinner assembly offering easy access to the vehicle’s hitch; a traverse auger delivery system that automatically backs itself in and out; and dual variable-speed control that allows independent control of auger and spinner motors to precisely match flow and spread pattern to conditions. Fisher

Walk-behind broom and liquid sprayer Western Products has added a new RB-400 rotary broom and SS-120 liquid sprayer to complete its line of commercial-quality walk-behind products. The new RB-400 walk-behind rotary broom is a combination sweeper and plow blade that cleans pavement along buildings, curbs and sidewalks. The plow helps remove heavy snow, while the centrally driven broom delivers a clean finish. Western Products

Snow pusher for sports turf Pro-Tech recently introduced its Turf Pusher, a snow pusher designed for turf sports fields. The line now comes with a standard pin-on coupler, making it easy to swap out different coupler plates to adapt to the required prime mover. Pro-Tech

Pump mud guard MudGuard, a new slip-on filter for Gulp UltraMax Plus Pumps, is now available from Underhill. MudGuard minimizes clogging and facilitates dirty water clean-outs from valve boxes, sprinkler leaks or other water-soaked areas on turf and landscape. MudGuard easily attaches to the Gulp UltraMax Plus and prevents the pump from burrowing into mud and debris. Underhill



Landscape design software Drafix Software has announced the release of PRO Landscape Version 23, which gives users all the tools necessary to create the highest quality photo imaging designs, accurate site plans in any size or scale, and complete, professional proposals. The new version contains an additional 3,000 high quality images of both plants and non-plants, pushing the overall image total to over 17,000 items. Drafix Software

All-purpose hose Underhill’s new multi-purpose, heavy-duty UltraMax Blue hose offers an array of features, including 1200 PSI burst pressure strength; long-life TPE material construction; machined brass couplings; easy-to-grip smooth finish; flexible handling; and abrasion resistance. Underhill

Compact plow Western Products introduces the new Defender compact snowplow, designed specifically to fit mid-size pickups and SUVs. The plow features a high-strength, low-weight, alloy-steel blade, which is stronger and lighter than conventional steel. Six vertical ribs reinforce the blade, providing torsional strength and eliminating blade twisting. A fulltrip moldboard helps protect the plow and truck when encountering hidden obstacles. Western Products

instant gratification Light-weight shirt Milwaukee Tool’s new Workskin Light Weight Performance Shirts, available in both long- and short-sleeve, utilize CoolCore Fabric Technology, which regulates sweat evaporation to move moisture away from the body and provide a cooling effect – allowing the lightweight fabric to stay up to 30 per cent cooler and reduce the body temperature of the wearer. Milwaukee



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BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES Two great Guelph Business Opportunities TURN-KEY GARDEN CENTRE FOR SALE: on 9 acres of owned land, with nicely updated home for owner/manager. Established in 1988; market leader in the Guelph area; profitable with potential to become much more so in the years ahead. A true once in a lifetime opportunity for the right buyer! LOST HORIZONS PERENNIALS NURSERY: Renowned throughout Southern Ontario and beyond as THE go-to source for rare perennials - over 3,000 varieties in-stock. 5.5 acres including 2.5 acre public display gardens and upgraded heritage residence. Original owner will assist in the transition. For details on both of these great business opportunities, go to or phone Steve Dawkins, Sales Representative with REMAX Real Estate Centre Inc, Brokerage Toll Free: 1-855-95-REMAX

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events June 9-18, Garden Days, June 19-23, American Public Garden Association Conference, Hamilton and Niagara, Ont. June 20-22, Salon De Vegetal, Nantes, France June 20-23, 20th Annual Snow and Ice Symposium, Montreal, Que. June 22, Canadian Water Summit 2017, Toronto, Ont. June 25-28, Garden Centres of America Summer Tour, Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va. July 2-18, IPPS International Tour and Conference: European Region, July 15-18, Cultivate ’17, Columbus, Ohio. July 29-August 2, ISA Annual Conference and Trade Show, Washington, D.C. August 13-16, Toronto Fall Gift Fair, Toronto, Ont. August 15-17, Independent Garden Center Show, Chicago, Ill. August 23-26, Plantarium, Boskoop, N.L. August 24-26, Farwest Show, Portland, Ore. September 11-13, GLEE, Birmingham, U.K. Sept. 13-16, Communities in Bloom 2017 National Symposium on Parks and Grounds and Awards Ceremonies, Ottawa, Ont. Sept. 27-28, CanWest Hort Show, Tradex, Abbotsford, B.C. LT


where to find it COMPANY


404 Stone Limited 21 Allstone Quarry Products Inc. 25 Atlas Polar Company Ltd 29 Beaver Valley Stone Limited 24 Best Way Stone Ltd 27 CanWest Hort Expo 32 Ford Motor Company of Canada Ltd 9 Gateway Chevrolet Buick GMC 19 Gravely 39 Greenhorizons Sod Farms 37 Horst Welding 28 LMN 12, 13 MARK IT Locates Inc. 23 Munger Lawnscape Inc 36 Neudorff North America 17 Oaks Concrete Products by Brampton Brick 2 Outdoor Supplies & Equipment Inc. 34 Permacon Group Inc 40 PRO Landscape by Drafix Software 35 SIMA 33 Stihl Limited 5 Thames Valley Brick & Building Products Ltd 28 Unilock Limited 15 Zander Sod Co Ltd 11




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Here because I love it Bob Osborne operates Corn Hill Nursery in King’s County, N.B, where he grows fruits, ornamentals, vines and perennials without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. Jim Landry of Landscape New Brunswick recommended Osborne for this column: “Bob has mentored everyone ... his life is all about passing along his vast knowledge to anyone who comes within a 20-foot radius.” Osborne is a published author and a Red Seal apprenticeship instructor. To what do you attribute your business’s longevity and success? Our business probably breaks every rule; we don’t have any positions here, nobody has a title. Most employees have worked for me at least 20 years, some for 25 or 30. That makes my life easier because I don’t Bob Osborne have to do a lot of training — they all know what to do. I don’t even have to tell somebody when to irrigate or when to take the cuttings for grapes, because they do it every year. Employees come first. If they have family issues, I have never said no to anybody needing a day off or to go do something. One of my landscapers just asked the other day if he could go to a concert in July, and I said, ‘Just as long as I know when you’re going, we’ll find a way to fill in for you.’ That’s part of why our staff have stayed with us over the years. We also give raises each year; it’s a nominal raise, maybe, but if they’ve worked here long enough, they are making a fair salary. Of course it doesn’t compare to what other industries offer. But our team is made up of people who just love the work. What do you look for in employees? Really what you’re looking for is people with drive and energy. If somebody comes in the door and says they are looking for work, drop off their resume and head out, I’m probably not going to hire


them. Whereas if someone comes in to tell me they really want to work at our nursery, and can talk about why they are interested, I’m certainly going to be more engaged. I may tell them there’s nothing open, but if they come back again, they’re the type of person we want to add to the team. There’s a real work ethic here at our nursery. I remember hiring one fellow; after the first day, my other crew members said if he stays, we go. It turns out he had been lying down, literally, in the field. So our team has a strong work ethic and they don’t put up with anybody who doesn’t cut the mustard — and they’ll tell me about it. Why have you taken an active role in apprenticeship? I’ve always loved teaching, and talking about what we do. Over the years, I have given a lot of talks to Kiwanis clubs and garden clubs. So when the opportunity to work with apprentices came along, I was very interested. It’s interesting because you’re working with students who are already in the industry, and have enough passion to get their Red Seal, which is a three-year program. However, many are from hardscape backgrounds and don’t know as much about the nursery side. I’ve found it very rewarding to work with these young people, and share my passion for the business. When students can tell the teacher is truly passionate, they are so much more likely to get engaged. What would you like to share with newcomers to the nursery business? If you don’t love it, you’d better leave it — because it will drive you crazy. If you want to make money, this is the worst business in the world to get into. There’s just very little money in any kind of farming, but nursery ... it’s the worst. But I love the work, and the people here love the work. It is just a pleasure to work here. It’s a very beautiful environment; you’re surrounded by colour and you’re working in fresh air, and it’s always changing. Now they’re digging, and then they will be cultivating and then they will be weeding and potting perennials. It’s seasonal and LT cyclical, but it’s always changing.

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Aesthetic and eco-responsible

CassaraÂŽ Verde Pavers Cassara Verde is a perfectly eco-responsible paver. Its complete vegetated paving system allows to reduce runoff water and minimizes its ecological footprint. Ideal for vehicular areas, it offers an aesthetic visual signature and complements Cassara pavers especially to manage pedestrian circulation. To learn more, reserve a lunch and learn session at your office with your Permacon representative.


Landscape Trades June 2017  

Provincial trees: Living symbols of regional spirit Parliament Hill: Our most visited landscape