The 2017 Joint Winter Meeting was held in Concord at the Grappone Center on January 18th, sponsored by the NH Plant Growers Association, the NH Landscape Association and the UNH Cooperative Extension. Despite a few inches of snow that morning and the decision to postpone the start of the meeting by an hour, attendance was excellent. Landscapers came to learn pest management techniques and choosing perennials which grow well together. Greenhouse growers came to hone their skills by learning how to utilize biocontrol insects in their greenhouses as well as reviewing how recent drought in New Hampshire can affect water quality and the importance of water testing for greenhouse growers.
The keynote speaker, Roy Diblik, co-owner of Northwinds Perennial Farm in Burlington, WI, came and spoke about forming perennial communities in gardens and the “know” maintenance approach to perennial gardens. His approach to landscape planting and maintenance takes in consideration a plant’s unique needs when combining with other plants in the landscape. By limiting his plant palate to about 20 plants which he knows everything about, he creates sweepingly beautiful landscapes formed of sustainable plant communities with beauty all season, while reducing the landscape maintenance needs through design. He shared photos from his recent work, including at the Art Institute of Chicago. Roy was such an engaging and unassuming speaker, he was given another hour-long time slot to continue with his ideas. He even quipped he could keep talking if other speakers couldn’t come because of the weather! His second talk expanded on the theories he presented in his keynote address, stressing the individual plants he uses and why. His palate of plants has many native flowering perennials and grasses, which he weaves into a living tapestry, reminiscent of the works of his Expressionist painter heroes, Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard.
The NHPGA was happy to announce its new marketing campaign, Plant Something NH. Jeffrey Meulenbroek and Linda Zukas explained how NH is the 24th state to adopt this program. Plant Something NH carries a message which can be embraced by any nursery, greenhouse, garden center, florist or landscaper. The more participation from NH businesses in the campaign extends the reach of the program and its effectiveness for all involved. Plant Something NH stresses the importance and seeks to increase public awareness of the health, environmental, social and economic benefits of plants in everyday life. The Planning Committee for Plant Something NH has created a marketing campaign, including the website, PlantSomethingNH.org, advertising on Facebook and Instagram, and TV ads on WMUR this Spring and PSA’s on NHPR. TV and social media advertising will feature a video made by NH’s own Super Secret Project, a comedy rap group and YouTube sensation. The message will also be promoted on the popular segment, “Grow It Green” on WMUR. A statewide Plant Something NH day is planned for May 20th with activities and events at member garden centers and businesses. There is plenty of time to plan an event at your own business. For ideas, contact info@PlantSomethingNH.org. Program sponsor, RC Brayshaw, a marketing solutions company, has created a campaign library with signage and messaging that can either be downloaded to use in a member business’s marketing or printed and shipped to a member business, making it easy to participate in Plant Something NH.
-Jeffrey Meulenbroek, President NHPGA & owner of Studley’s Flower Gardens, Rochester, NH