I began my career as a nursery/landscape buyer in the early 1980’s. One of my first impressions after being promoted to this position was, to borrow a famous cliché, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!” I was suddenly responsible for stocking three thriving retail operations in the Houston, Texas area and a landscape division complete with multiple architects on staff.
I had worked for many years in our retail division, so I had a nodding acquaintance with many of our suppliers. But buying large-size trees and shrubs and thousands of ground covers was something that I had to learn, and quickly. Luckily, all of the suppliers had been long-established by my predecessor so I just had to follow through with the orders in place. This gave me an opportunity to get to know them and to learn how they might assist on future projects.
As time marched on, we closed our landscape division and concentrated on our retail stores. Then the owner sold the company to Calloway’s, a group of retail garden centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Five years later I found myself moving to the North Texas area to carry on my work in our corporate office. Now I was responsible for buying products for 19 stores in two very different geographic areas. Luckily there was an established team of merchandisers that assisted me as I got my feet on the ground. Continue reading “A Buyer’s Challangea: Behind the Scene at a Retail Nursery”
When I was asked to write a blog post about my experiences and impressions of this year’s GWA: The Association of Garden Communicators conference in Atlanta, Georgia, I answered, “Sure, happy to do so.”
I am deeply suspicious of anyone with a bucket truck and a chainsaw. That translates into a fear of anyone getting near any of my trees. My eyes were opened and I felt a renewed sense of trust after talking with R. J. Laverne, Manager of Education and Training for Davey Tree. He is responsible for training all of the arborists that pick up a pruning device in the name of the company. His credentials are ironclad. On the academic side R. J.’s background includes degrees in Biology, Forestry, and a Master’s degree in Remote Sensing. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Planning at Cleveland State University. R. J. is also a Board Certified Master Arborist (ISA), a Registered Consulting Arborist (ASCA), and a member on the Advisory Board for the School Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.
R.J. and I chatted for almost an hour about the way Davey takes care of trees and the broader ecosystem in which they grow. He began by outlining the Davey philosophy. “What we really focus on here at Davey is not only taking a scientific approach to tree care and landscape maintenance but also a broader understanding of how what we do on each individual landscape affects the overall environment of that community, region, state, or country.” Continue reading “Talking Trees With Davey”
NextGen – what the heck is NextGen? This is the question that LastGen’s like me had attending the Region II NextGen Summit. Organizer Brienne Gluvna Arthur, green diva and author of The Foodscape Revolution helped us answer that question and more by luring some of the NextGen voices in this rising horticulture wave to spend a day with us exploring new ideas.
The summit began with a presentation by Longwood Graduate Program Coordinator Brian Trader. He introduced us to Longwood’s support of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) “Seed Your Future” initiative. This multi-year effort is planned to combat declining awareness of horticulture among U.S. audiences and promote horticulture as a vital and viable career path for the nation’s youth. Continue reading “NextGen Summit: New Routes to Horticulture”
Blue skies and superb gardens greeted the 40 attendees of the “Grand Cottages in the Berkshires” Region 1 meeting on July 22. The tour began with an early morning photo shoot at Naumkeag, Mabel Choate’s iconic early 20th century garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. These gardens on the “quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age” are considered to be landscape architect Fletcher Steele’s most famous work.
Several of the attendees (including this writer) remembered the decayed state of this garden from earlier visits. It was a very pleasurable surprise to see its pristine renovated state, thanks to a recently completed $3.5 million program of restoration by The Trustees of Reservations. Continue reading “A Grand Time in the Berkshires”