Friday, February 22, 2019
Agenda + Session Descriptions

With 2 Keynote speakers and 8 concurrent sessions to inspire you, the GardenPRO 2.0 Conference offers a wide range of topics targeting gardening professionals’ interests and an opportunity to knock off those CEU requirements early in the year. 
Choose from 2 thought-challenging tracks in the Concurrent Sessions: ACTION > STATUS QUO and FUTURE > TODAY

To view conference speaker biographies, click here.
Learn more about the Conference here.

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8:00 AM - 8:45 AM  –  3 AB Lobby


Take a Stand: How to Create an Identity for Your Landscaping Business

Chris Heiler—President & Founder, Landscape Leadership

If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing. Now is the time to differentiate your landscaping business by creating an identity in the mind of your prospects and customers. What does Google stand for? Search. What does Starbucks stand for? Coffee. What about Victoria’s Secret? Yes, lingerie. What does your company stand for? Your competitive advantage doesn’t lie in being “better” or offering “higher quality.” Better isn’t necessarily better. Different is better. In this presentation you will learn how to differentiate and effectively position yourself against your competitors no matter your size or number of years in business.

8:45 AM - 10:00 AM  –  3 AB


10:00 AM - 10:30 AM  –  ROOM 307/309

Green Trends in Landscape Architecture: Increasing the Diversity of Plants In Public and Private Projects

Richard Hartlage—Landscape designer and principal/CEO of Land Morphology

This seminar will be an overview of trends in planting design by the most accomplished landscape architects and garden designers in the United States. Project examples will be private estate and gardens as well as public projects. Richard will explain how to design, install and manage meadows, which are an important emerging trend. The dynamic block-plant style will also be discussed, along with sustainable matrix planting and arts and crafts naturalistic style. Richard will promote and celebrate the talents of many notable people and firms in the United States. Beautifully presented with the stunning images that Richard is well-known for, it will be both inspirational and practical, with plenty of information for the green industry professional. A wide geographic range of projects will make this seminar appealing to everyone.

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM  –  ROOM 310

Create a Marketing Plan based on Your Company Strengths

Melinda Myers—Award-winning author of 20 books, radio/TV host and nationally recognized garden expert

Discover strategies for developing and implementing an affordable PR and marketing plan that will help you increase sales.  Position yourself as the go-to business in your area with quality and timely content delivered through various outreach platforms. Tips on creating an effective marketing plan that includes social media, TV, radio, your website, video and more will be covered. We’ll discuss strategies for developing relationships with local media, so you become their green professional expert. Plus tips on preparing for interviews, strategies for conducting in-person and on-air interviews and other ideas for getting the best value out of media opportunities.

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM  –  ROOM 303


11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Critical Factors When Designing Pollinator Gardens

Eric Lee-Mäder—Pollinator Conservation Co-Director, Xerces Society and co-author, Gardening for Butterflies

More than 85% of plant species on Earth depend on pollinator to reproduce. These essential animals supply us with food, maintain functional ecosystems, and provide food for other wildlife such as songbirds. Whether clients specifically ask for pollinator gardens, or simply want a functional and beautiful diversified landscape, core fundamentals of plant selection, spatial planning, and structural diversity can ensure the resulting garden hums with life. Join ecologist, author, and nurseryman Eric Lee-Mäder of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation for this discussion covering basic pollinator ecology, habitat design, installation and management, and extensive real world case studies illustrated with stunning photography from project sites. 

11:45 AM - 12:45 PM  –  ROOM 310

Selling Nicely to Tough Customers: Keys to Getting to Yes

Christina Salwitz—Award-winning co-author, Fine Foliage and Gardening with Foliage First

In the business of selling plants, we sell much more than just pretty flowers. We sell design, science, ecology, maintenance practices, tools, tricks and much more. So, what do you do when you need to close the sale with a challenging customer or convert an unhappy customer to one who sings your praises? Learn the Six Keys to dealing with bullies, noncommittal customers and just plain difficult people.

11:45 AM - 12:45 AM  –  ROOM 303


It’s Wake Up Time

Sharon Lacey—Motivational Humorist and author, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Dementia

Our keynote speaker is the perfect antidote to that post-lunch somnolence and will get you energized for the rest of the day. Motivational humorist and comedian Sharon Lacey will give you a “wake up call” as she describes how her life took a huge turn, and what she decided to do about it. Discover how Sharon turned her challenges into opportunities, and how you can, too.

12:45 PM - 2:30 PM  –  3 A/B


2:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Growing a Revolution: Best Practices for Healthy Soil and Happy Clients

Anne Biklé—Biologist and co-author, The Hidden Half of Nature
Dr. David R. Montgomery—Award-winning Geomorphologist and author, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

“Soil health” sums up the chief goal of what is becoming known as “regenerative agriculture,” which means to leave the land better off, not worse off. The gardening world has an opportunity to adapt the practices of this new type of farming for home gardening, reaping beauty and resilience, the way farmers reap yields. Discover new scientific information that reveals what practices you can implement in client gardens, and what practices you need to modify, especially those that affect the soil, so that they dovetail with, and better support soil health that, in turn, supports the grand inner workings of a plant’s green body.

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM  –  ROOM 310

Landscape Labor: Navigating the Shifting Ground for Hiring Workers

Dan Fazio—CEO, Washington Farm Labor Bureau

A top concern for landscape companies is attracting a stable seasonal workforce, and this is even more of a concern given the lack of immigration reform in D.C. and recent federal crackdowns on foreign workers. Luckily, one of the top firms in the nation for seasonal workforce issues, wafla, is located in the South Sound.  Last year wafla accounted for 18,000 H-2A and H-2B labor certifications, more than any firm west of the Mississippi, and even conducted a wage survey to help landscape firms in the King County region secure visas for workers. Dan Fazio, an attorney and founder of wafla, will discuss labor issues, immigration reform, H2B visas, and what green industry employers can expect on the labor front in 2019.

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM  –  ROOM 303


3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

First Look: Hot New Plants in the Pipeline

Nicholas Staddon—Horticultural Consultant, former Director of New Plants for Monrovia Growers

Plant breeders, hybridizers, plant explorers, nurseries and others introduce a plethora of new plants every year. Which ones are really “new and improved” and which are merely a reincarnation of a popular plant with a minor variation? Nicholas Staddon has scoured the wholesale growers to find the best and the brightest of the 2019 – 2020 introductions; plants your customers will covet! He will also take a look back a few years to make sure you have not missed some of his favorites. He’ll share the details of the latest and greatest plants you’ll want for client gardens—or maybe your own. These are plants that are easy to grow, can grow in our region and will soon be on everyone’s must-have list.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  –  ROOM 310

Guidance to Go: Developing a Paid Consultation Service

C.L. Fornari—Author, Coffee for Roses and The Cocktail Garden Hour and co-host, 'Plantrama' Podcast

Does your garden center or landscaping business make house calls? This talk explains how on-site consultation services can build customer loyalty, boost sales, and position you as the go-to source for landscaping needs. Learn how a consultation service builds trust, and drives IGC sales, plus how it makes good business sense for professional design/install companies. Find out how to turn your knowledge of plants and gardens into a garden coaching business, and why a paid consultation is better than a free estimate. Discover why average homeowners need your expertise for problem solving, plant identification, landscape brainstorming and design.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  –  ROOM 303

For questions or sponsorship inquiries for the GardenPRO Conference, please contact Conference Manager Janet Endsley at janete@mpeshows.com.

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