Snapshots from New England Grows


Landscape, nursery and tree care pros flock to Boston despite wicked fierce weather

The New England Grows trade show floor at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center had something for everyone in the nursery, landscaping and tree care industries, from compost to biodegradable pots, paving stones to decorative stones, flowers to trees, birdhouses and fountains, ropes and harnesses, and equipment and tools for the job site.

New England Grows brings nursery professionals, landscape contractors and arborists to Boston for the chance to see the hottest new products, plants and equipment. Attendees also have many learning opportunities during the three-day event, which was held February 5-7 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

The Yard at Pleasant View’s display on the New England Grows trade show floor made it easy to forget about the snow falling outside. Its two locations in central New Hampshire provide a pleasing selection of ornamental plants and trees, including Proven Winners and Proven Seletions annuals and perennials, as well as Proven Winners ColorChoice flowering shrubs.

A full program of education seminars covered business topics, as well as tips and techniques, and provided inspiration with seminars such as “Achieve Efficiency & Profitability in Your Nursery & Landscape Business,” “Simple Rules for Pruning Fruit Trees” and “Gardens of the Jazz Age.”

Unique and recycled can be used to describe the items from Colonial Wagon and Wheel. The made-in-the-USA metal art includes frogs, flowers and dragonflies like this one, made from rebar and recycled knives. The company also offers Southern bottle trees, the origins of which I learned during my visit to the booth. Any of these items would be the perfect accent in a shabby chic garden.
Photos by Brooke A. Rockwell.

Sprint Sessions, 15-minute updates that are held right on the trade show floor, included The Economics of Alternative Nursery Production Methods, Ergonomics and Rejuvenation Stretching, Wilt Based Irrigation of Turf, Arborist Climbing Knots and Hitches, and MNLA’s 15 Favorite Apps for the Green Industry.

Techo-Bloc’s Inflo paving system provides stormwater management for heavy traffic industrial, commercial and institutional use. It meets sustainability goals, making it a good fit for LEED projects. The wall was built using Semma split-face blocks in shale grey. The 6-by-16-inch double-sided segmental retaining wall has tapered sides and an independent mechanical interlock allowing for a vertical or battered wall.

One of the new Learning Hubs was the ICPI Concrete Paver Installer Course and Certification exam, sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals with support from Techo-Bloc. Content included job planning and layout, soil characteristics, compaction, base materials, edge restraints, bedding and joint sands, paver installation and maintenance, and estimating.

On a cold February day, Proven Winners plants were a welcome sight at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. The Double Take ‘Pink Storm’ quince Chaenomeles speciosa pictured “puts on a spectacular early season display of pink blooms.” They’re also thornless and deer resistant, according to the Proven Winners website.

Interacting with the expects on a more personal level is made possible through the Speakers Unplugged sessions, Ask Extension and, new at this year’s show, Dining with the Speakers. This year attendees had the opportunity to break bread with business consultant Mark Bradley, plant guru Dale Hendricks, horticultural historian and preservationist Glyn Jones, landscape architect Jane Knight, or Nalini Nadkarni, queen of forest canopy research.

T.S. Mann Lumber, based in Athol, Mass., showcased some of its reclaimed granite millstones and troughs. The company’s website claims: “Recycled granite is our bread and butter.” These one-of-akind items include curbing steps, blocks, posts, millstones and troughs. A visit to their Granite Garden might unearth just what you’ve been looking for as a feature for your next project.

New England Grows also gives attendees a chance to catch up with their peers, and the Brew Garden, also new to the show this year, provided the spot to do just that.

If it’s February and there’s snow in the forecast, it must be time for New England Grows. The show was cut short in 2013 by winter storm Nemo, and this year’s show got off to a slow start on Wednesday while approximately 10 inches of snow hit the Boston area. Crews were busy cleaning around the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center so those who ventured to the show for the first day had no trouble getting to the trade show floor, where they were greeted with a taste of spring.

The 2015 show will return to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center February 4-6, and remember, you don’t have to be from New England to attend.

Brooke Rockwell is a senior editor at Moose River Media.