January is national "be-at-a-tradeshow" month. Or at least that's what it feels like to me.
Last month I attended the Western Nursery and Landscape Association meeting in Kansas City, MO. The Western is a great show for the plains states with folks largely from Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. Ball Seed has been a strong supporter of this show for many years, including their Emerging Leaders program. Sarah Bibens and her team are doing a fantastic job focusing on the 35 and under crowd with interesting and engaging educational opportunities for horticulture-related fields. The WNLA's version of "Field of Dreams": Build it and they will come.
The trade show floor talks Ball Seed presented were on Beacon Impatiens and their high resistance to Impatiens downy mildew, as well as a talk on Subscription Container Services. Visit BallLandscape.com/presentations for a copy.
At the Wednesday evening reception a very special friend of Ball Seed, Jeffrey Bruce, FASLA, was honored. Jeff passed away in January 2020. He was a driving force within the WNLA and a number of other organizations. He was deeply involved with the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities group from the start. His firm JBC is known for building and maintaining sustainable landscapes and green roofs. Jeff will be missed.
The Georgia Green Industry Association invited me to speak at their Wintergreen trade show in Duluth, GA the following week. Dr. Matthew Chapel, Ball Publishing's Nursery and Landscape Insider columnist asked me to join their day-long new variety plant session This is Dirr and Armitage territory, so yes, they were there, too!
The University of Georgia - Athens is one of the noteworthy trialing sites for Ball Horticultural Company for those in the south. Many thanks goes to Dr. John Rutter and Brandon Coker, trial managers for planting and maintaining these valuable regional performance trials. See Ball Seed 2020 best in class LS annuals & perennials Wintergreen.
The last week of January two back-to-back trade shows occurred in Greensboro, NC and northern Illinois.
The Green & Growin' show brought a packed house to my presentations on "Ball Seed 2020 Best in Class LS Annuals and Perennials Green Growin" and "Garden Next! Garden Retailing in the Age of Distraction." Check them out here. The North Carolina Nursery and Landscape organization sponsors two days of education, followed by three days of trade show.
The I-Landscape show brought the month to a close for trade show season with a bang. Good News: We did not suffer from last year's -38ºF "polar dip"! The weather cooperated and the pre-registrations were over 6,400 attendees to the show; 1,900 were pre-registered for the educational sessions.
We had our Ball Seed and GrowIt! gardening app companies exhibiting. Lots of question on the new Beacon Impatiens, including a "Microgreen" talk from Lisa Lacy, PanAmerican Seed landscape product manager (pictured above). As the closest show to our home office, we typically have a table for recruiting summer garden help. Always a draw. We were mobbed with inquiries. A good sign for our industry overall!
January was a fantastic month to reconnect with so many of you at the winter shows. Everyone was very excited and positive for spring 2020.