Near record crowds took advantage of the mild winter as 12,877 green industry professionals came to New England Grows 2012 on February 1 – 3 in Boston. This popular trade show and conference for growers, garden center retailers, arborists and landscape professionals celebrated its 20th anniversary with a 24% increase in attendance over 2011.
Held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, New England Grows featured an exposition filled with a wide variety of industry suppliers offering classic and new products or services, as well as “Grows-only” show specials. Attendees crowded the aisles to see nearly 600 industry suppliers, including 63 new exhibiting firms.
Also popular on the tradeshow floor were ongoing educational presentations at the Great Ideas Pavilion and the new Expo Classroom. Throughout all three days these forums provided information packed presentations in a more intimate, ask-the-experts setting.
The well-known New England Grows’ educational programs were once again a big draw. Seminars that focused on great plants for this region, design and innovation, emerging trends, new pests, and the latest research often attracted standing room only crowds. The schedule included presentations by Frank Drummond, Dennis Schrader, Cheryl A. Smith, Lew French, Tony Avent, Randall Prostak, Dan Kitteredge, and Richard A. Casagrande who spoke on topics that ranged from honeybees to annuals, tree health, designing with stone, perennials, weeds, organic growing and insect pests.
In its second year the special program for retailers, Garden Center Success, drew nearly 600 people for a day of inspiring and informative presentations by business and retail professionals. From groundbreaking business thinker Bill Taylor to retail wizard Chad Harris and urban trendsetter Kimberly Sevilla, the audience came away with practical ideas and motivation for future action plans.
“Bill Taylor’s presentation was particularly useful for us,” said C.L. Fornari of Hyannis Country Garden, a family-owned garden center on Cape Cod. “Although it’s impossible for us to always compete in price with the box stores, we can move forward in ways that define us differently. The Garden Center Success program definitely sparked several ideas for how we can do this and we’ll be implementing those concepts this season before the spring rush.”
New England Grows supports the green industry through annual grants to the region’s Cooperative Extension Systems. This year $25,000.00 was awarded to Cooperative Extension programs in the region.
Next year, New England Grows is scheduled for February 6-8, 2013 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. For the latest information visit www.NewEnglandGrows.org, follow New England Grows on Facebook and Twitter, or call (508) 653-3009.