Industry News:
Delegates help “keep a good thing growing” at Hort East ‘01

Presented with an unbeatable combination of top notch speakers and an ever-expanding trade show, delegates to this years Hort East Trade Show found it a relatively simple matter to keep in step with this year’s theme of “Let’s keep a good thing growing.” Held every other year in January at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, NS and blessed with remarkably good weather, especially in view of the winter overall, Hort East experienced increases in the numbers of both exhibitors and delegates.

     Attracting delegates from across the Atlantic provinces, the Hort East conference is a must-see for industry managers and employees, and organizers go to great lengths to ensure a high quality speaker program that features something for everyone. For the retail garden centre sector, speakers such as Karl Stensson of Sheridan Nurseries, Doug Green of Simple Green Gifts and Farms and Kirk Brown of Joanne Kostecky Garden Design brought a diverse outlook on retail trends and marketing strategies. For the landscape contractor sector of the industry, topics ranged from natural stone in the landscape by Joe Biderman, nightlighting trends from Raymond Josephian and design and drawing tips from the always-popular Mike Lin. The continued interest in water gardening was also reflected in the speaker agenda, with presentations by Perry Molema of Aquascape Ontario and an update on some of the better pond plants now available from John Bueglas of Dubé Botanical Gardens. The needs of the plant lover were also well catered to, with presentations from Debbie Lonnee of Bailey Nurseries speaking on trees, shrubs and perennials, and annuals covered by Jack Willams of Paul Ecke Ranch. With soil, or the lack thereof, in the Atlantic provinces always a concern, the landscape industry was especially interested in the panel discussion by Jack Wetmore (The Greenfield Group), Robert Glenwright (City of Fredericton), Bob Areseneau (Maritime Sod), Stephen King (HRM) and Mike Pink (Kel-Anne Organics) on “Topsoil: a new era of opportunities.

     There was also a good deal of focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM), especially with the City of Halifax being a “hot spot” for some of the recent pesticide-related controversies. Related seminars by Dr. Linda Gilkeson, (BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks) and Graeme Murphy (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) were particularly well-attended and provided an excellent forum for the trade to catch up on how new regulations or proposed regulations will, or may, affect how they conduct their businesses in the coming months and years.

     The over 80 exhibitors at the Hort East trade show also represented a good cross section of companies from across Canada and the U.S. Exhibitors reported they were pleased with both the quantity and especially the quality of inquiries. Overall, expectations were high for the coming year.