On February 4-6, 2015, New England GROWS attracted thousands of commercial horticulture professionals for an industry-wide conference in Boston, MA. Taking a break from what has been described as an epic winter in Boston, participants visited vendor displays, learned from cutting-edge educational sessions, and participated in hands-on workshops and demonstrations. A quick GROWS recap can be viewed via this youTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fawrKvPazq0.
More than 450 exhibiting companies drew horticulture pros throughout the three-day event, as they made buying decisions for the spring market. Many attendees took advantage of “GROWS-only” show discounts while getting to know leading vendors and discovering innovative newcomers.
The New England GROWS’ education sessions were packed with attendees eager to learn new techniques from leading national experts, including Doug Tallamy, Jan Johnsen, Karen Bussolini, Cliff Sadof, Kelly Norris and Ed Gilman. Topics included the latest approaches to turf management, battling tree diseases and insects such as the Emerald Ash Borer, using native plants to enhance landscapes, harvesting rainwater, managing retail operations, choosing the best new perennials, and better team building.
The Women in Horticulture event was a highlight of the conference. Taylor Johnston, horticulturalist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, shared her career insights and the inspiration for her line of workwear for women in the trade, Gamine Co., Inc. GROWS was also thrilled to launch the new Future Leaders program designed to mentor young people who are learning about the horticulture profession.
Sprint Sessions on the Common Ground stage gave attendees the opportunity to get their questions answered by university faculty and other experts. The Live Patio Build with permeable pavers and granite walls was a favorite stop for landscape professionals. Show floor Learning Hubs offered hands-on experiences with commercial composting, a mobile app App Bar, and Houzz – the home remodeling and outdoor design networking site. Another Learning Hub made quite a buzz with demonstrations of safe chain saw maintenance and operation.
The popular GROWS after Dark programs included a sold out gathering at Laugh Boston comedy club on Opening Night. Boston’s burgeoning waterfront continues to add many fine restaurants and great pubs. It’s no surprise that hardy GROWS attendees braved the cold weather to attend networking events around Boston, including a neighborhood Pub Crawl & Dine Around.
Traditionally scheduled in February, New England GROWS moves to the week immediately following Thanksgiving beginning with its next event on December 2 – 4, 2015. With this change, GROWS moves from the last conference on the green industry’s winter trade show schedule to one of the first. For the latest information follow New England GROWS on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, go to NewEnglandGROWS.org, or call (508) 653-3009.
New England GROWS is an educational partnership between the New England Nursery Association, Massachusetts Arborists Association, Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals and Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association. Its co-sponsor network includes 40 allied green industry organizations. New England GROWS supports the green industry through annual grants to the region’s Cooperative Extension Systems, the FFA Organization, local horticultural schools, and more.