We Can Be Heroes

Several of the growers who have been active getting their cities involved in America In Bloom (AIB) have become local heroes. It wasn’t the reason they got involved but a very pleasant and rewarding surprise.

AIB is a national campaign and contest that promotes enhancing and revitalizing communities through horticulture. In five years, nearly 130 cities in more than 30 states have participated, and both wholesale and retail growers have played a strong role building the program.

In Logan, Ohio, near Ohio University, Rick Webb of Webb Perennials has led the town’s participation the last three years. Prior to that he had been supplying 25-inch hanging baskets in town to a local foundation that purchased them. Master Gardeners and the tourism board really embraced the program.

Webb became chief cheerleader and organizer. The response from volunteers was so strong Logan received AIB’s criteria award for community involvement sponsored by American Horticultural Society both this year and last. Webb is often interviewed in local media and when he speaks at local meetings, he gets a standing ovation. He also received the town’s Barton Hall Award, which recognizes a citizen of the year. But the best results are the ones everyone can see — plantings have doubled in three years.

Also in Ohio, Bob’s Market & Greenhouse sponsored the city of Gallipolis, which won AIB’s floral displays criteria award sponsored by Ball Horticultural Co. Plug production manager Lori Kelly, who also manages two of the retail stores, led the city’s participation with the retail merchants association, which purchased lamppost baskets planted and maintained by Bob’s Market.

The grower donated $5,000 worth of plants this year. In addition to the baskets and urns Bob’s maintains, volunteer groups planted adopted sites.

Ron Marlin of Marlin’s Plant Kingdom in Greenfield, Ind., is thrilled his city won its population category in 2004 and then again as it moved up to the next category in 2006. Marlin leases 24-inch pots that are changed out in spring and fall to businesses in town. The vice president of the chamber of commerce from one of the local banks championed the cause with him. While he paid the entry fee in 2004, the local Rotary did in 2006. Last year he worked with fellow grower Joe Boarini of Grande Greenhouse to organize a local contest showcasing the best front yards to pull plantings out into view.

Also in Indiana, Columbus made a strong debut, winning one of the most competitive population categories, as well as AIB’s landscaping criteria award sponsored by Project Evergreen. The grower-retailer behind the scenes is Gordon Elsbury of Elsbury Greenhouses. He had been supplying plants to the city parks department for 20 years and brought a busload of local officials and employees to Ball’s field days to get them excited about participating in AIB. The group was treated to a special welcome by AIB’s president Marvin Miller, also from Ball.

Each community is different in how it approaches AIB. Ideal organizing partners include city governments, parks and recreation departments, chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus, Master Gardeners, chapters of Keep America Beautiful and tree commissions.

If you think your town would embrace this program, now is the time to approach your civic leaders and community champions. Registration deadline for the 2007 competition is Feb. 28. For more information on how you can get your city involved, visit www.americainbloom.org.

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Farwest Show Floor

April 30, 2016

Registration Is Open For Farwest 2016 In Portland, OR

This year’s show takes place Aug. 25-27 and features educational sessions, nursery and retail tours, and an expansive trade show floor.

Read More
Chick Charms

April 29, 2016

Kelly Norris: Why The Plant Collector Market Is Set To …

In his latest column for Greenhouse Grower magazine, Kelly Norris says there are more plant collectors out there than we think, which opens the way for the gift plant market to explode.

Read More
Natureworks Monarch life cycle caterpillar FEATURE

April 29, 2016

Do Customers Really Care How Plants Are Grown?

The consumer uprising against neonicotinoids has roiled the industry over the past couple of years. In June 2013, someone applied pesticide to a tree in full bloom, using the product in an off-label manner. That misapplication killed tens of thousands of bees, capturing the attention of activists. A short three years later, that activism has led to policy changes for big chains like The Home Depot and Lowe’s. Several cities and towns across the country have banned the sale of neonicotinoids. All of this made me curious. How was all the publicity affecting consumer attitudes at local garden stores? Traditionally, customers have shown little interest in how flowering plants are grown, other than they like the idea that they are from a local source. They have been much more particular about food plants than they have ornamentals. So I sent questions out to a few retailers across the country, and […]

Read More
Pennisetum Fireworks

April 28, 2016

Why Ornamental Grasses Are Great For People In Condos A…

Allan Armitage says breeders need to do a better job of making growers, brokers, and garden centers aware of better ornamental grass cultivars for the increasingly shrinking garden space.

Read More

April 28, 2016

Holistic, Integrated Approach To Pest Control Rooted In…

Greenhouse growers have been practicing integrated pest management for decades, but it’s becoming increasingly more important with the continued scrutiny of conventional pest control by a number of “regulators” — government, retail, and consumers. I just returned from Meister Media Worldwide’s Biocontrols USA 2016 Conference, in Monterey, CA, at the beginning of March this year, which served 450 attendees and 50 exhibiting supplier companies. It’s clear from the presentations and the growing attendance at this specialized event — now only in its second year — that use of biocontrols in IPM will continue to be adopted widely, as more growers get past their personal hurdles of doubt and intimidation, and embrace a new way to approach pest and disease control. Many growers think of using biocontrols as an all-or-nothing approach, but ultimately, IPM is about balance. Growers will need to continue to focus on IPM, integrating chemistry with biology, because […]

Read More
Drip irrigated citrus liner

April 27, 2016

Unclog Drip Emitters In Your Greenhouse

This is the first article in a series of case studies designed to help growers reduce, remediate, and recycle irrigation water as part of a multi-state research grant (CleanWateR3.org).

Read More
Andropogon gerardii Blackhawks (Intrinsic Perennial Gardens)

April 27, 2016

Know Your Market When Choosing Ornamental Grasses

Growers have no shortage of choices in the ornamental grass market. Narrowing down the selection comes down to finding the right plant for the right purpose.

Read More
Fine Americas Website Feature Image

April 26, 2016

Fine Americas Offers A Digital Resource For Plant Growt…

The blog section of Fine America’s website is updated regularly, with input from both technical managers and independent researchers

Read More

April 26, 2016

“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, Accord…

Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.

Read More
Cicada (Greg Hoover, Penn State)

April 26, 2016

Cicadas Set To Emerge In Several Eastern States This Sp…

While there’s no immediate cause for alarm, experts say the cicada’s egg-laying process can damage woody ornamentals and make them vulnerable to diseases.

Read More

April 26, 2016

How To Host A Spectacular Farm Dinner

Farm-to-table dinners are a great way to connect your customers with a love for nature and growing things. These three green industry companies have had a lot of success with their farm dinners. Find out what it takes to pull one of these dinners off successfully. Advice from Tangletown Garden’s Dean Englemann: You have to be certain you’re matching the ticket price to the experience, make sure you’re exceeding expectations. It can’t just be about the food. You have to deliver the experience. For us, we want to make sure there’s a lasting experience of connecting our food to families and dining. For lack of a better comparison, we want sitting in a field, eating food we grew and created, to be a religious experience. There’s almost a ceremonial aspect to these dinners. We’ve always thought that the shortest distance between the earth and people is the distance between the hand and the […]

Read More

April 26, 2016

Fun Display Ideas From California Spring Trials

In a year that was light on new introductions, plant breeders ramped up their display creativity. Garden retailers can find a lot of inspiration for their own stores here!  

Read More

April 26, 2016

12 Questions To Test If Your Store Is New-Customer Frie…

Consultant Ian Baldwin offers ways to help you look at your store with fresh eyes and how you can make it welcoming for new gardeners.

Read More
University of Florida Online Greenhouse Training Courses

April 25, 2016

University of Florida Offering Online Training Courses …

There will be five courses offered, with the first starting on May 30. Courses are available in both English and Spanish and range from beginner level to advanced education.

Read More
Bee on Bidens

April 25, 2016

Breeders Go The Distance To Bring New Plant Varieties T…

Breeders are meeting the demand for new varieties that perform and sell well by extending trialing to engage the grower community, using advanced technology, and encouraging international collaboration.

Read More
Parisitic Wasp Aphidius colemani

April 25, 2016

Plant Growth Regulator Use Can Affect Biological Pest C…

The use of plant growth regulators may negatively influence the outcome of biological control programs, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

Read More
HGTV_2015CAST

April 24, 2016

9 Business Predictions Smart Brands Should Pay Attentio…

Andreas von der Heydt, Director of Kindle at Amazon, recently predicted what smart businesses will do in 2016 to strengthen their brands and promote their products.

Read More
North American greenhouse 1

April 23, 2016

Light Matters In Greenhouse Structures

The design of your greenhouse structure, in terms of light transmission, can have a powerful impact on your bottom-line profits.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]