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
University of Wisconsin field trial gardens

February 25, 2017

2016 University of Wisconsin Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Wisconsin display gardens at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in Verona, WI.

Read More
North Creek Tim McGinty Steve Castorini

February 24, 2017

AmericanHort Names New Board Members and Officers for 2…

The new board members are Steve Castorani of North Creek Nurseries, Tom Hughes of Hughes Nursery and Landscaping, and Cole Mangum of Bell Nursery.

Read More
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus on Osteospormum

February 23, 2017

4 Pathogens to Prepare For in 2017

Early detection of disease and virus symptoms in the greenhouse is critical. One expert says there are a few pathogens in particular that growers should be monitoring.

Read More
EAGL Graduates

February 22, 2017

Emerging Industry Leaders Earn Business Management Cert…

Dr. Charlie Hall, Ellison Chair for International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, recently announced the graduation of the fourth cohort of the elite Executive Academy for Growth & Leadership (EAGL) program for nursery and greenhouse growers.

Read More
Drone for Bee Pollination

February 21, 2017

Learn How Drones Could Eventually Replace Bees in Polli…

Researchers in Japan are using the principle of cross-pollination in bees to make a drone that could potentially transport pollen between flowers.

Read More

February 21, 2017

Ian Baldwin: 2017 is Off to a Strong Start For Plant Re…

Many garden retailers are telling garden retail consultant Ian Baldwin that sales and the consumer’s attitude toward spending have been very strong the last two months.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More
2016 Top 100 Growers List

February 18, 2017

Top 100 Growers Survey for 2017 Is Now Open!

Operations with more than 400,000 square feet of environmentally controlled production are eligible to take the survey, which only takes a few minutes to complete.

Read More

February 17, 2017

How to Keep Customers Coming Back With Top-Notch Servic…

A recent article on Forbes.com outlines seven ways organizations can take their customer service from good to great and beyond.

Read More
Summerwinds Proven Winners display FEATURE

February 17, 2017

Proven Winners Makes Improvements to Its Retailer Certi…

Understanding the challenges of training new and seasonal staff at independent garden centers, Proven Winners says it is working to equip managers with tools to prepare their employees to better handle customers’ questions and boost their confidence in selling plants this season.

Read More
Tom Foley, WaterPulse

February 17, 2017

Industry Veteran Tom Foley Discusses His New Role as Vi…

Foley, a greenhouse industry veteran who was most recently with EuroAmerican Propagators, will be responsible for North American sales of WaterPulse’s patent-pending capillary mats and associated irrigation systems to nurseries and growers.

Read More
Dan and Jerrys Greenhouse 1

February 17, 2017

Dan and Jerry’s Greenhouse Buys Iowa-Based DeJong Green…

The acquisition will allow Dan and Jerry’s, a bedding plant grower headquartered in Minnesota, to extend its seasonal product offerings and service a new customer base with local distribution.

Read More
Savor New Website

February 16, 2017

Pleasant View Launches Updated Website for its Savor Ed…

The site is designed to offer a friendly and informative vehicle that delivers product information in an easy-to-navigate format.

Read More
Syngenta Obsession Cascade

February 15, 2017

Syngenta Introduces Two New Flower Series for 2017

‘Sunfinity’ Sunflower produces multiple branches with numerous flowers that bloom all season long, while ‘Obsession Cascade’ Verbena quickly fills containers with vibrant flower patterns.

Read More

February 15, 2017

Growers Planning to Invest in Structures in 2017

Data from this year’s Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry survey indicates that growers are planning to make major investments in structures and facility upgrades this year.

Read More
NVAC Greenhouse prototype

February 15, 2017

New Greenhouse Cooling System in Development for Hot-Cl…

Researchers at McGill University in Quebec have developed an alternative evaporative cooling solution for greenhouses in warm climates, and are now seeking commercial partners.

Read More