Big Grower March 2019 - 9

garden center contemporary to address today's
trends and meet the needs of the changing
consumer. A panel discussion of creative and
ambitious leaders in the retail industry, will
share their tips for getting inspired and staying
innovative. Top retail experts from around the
world will share their inspiration, plans, hurdles,
and how they stay relevant to today's consumer.
To learn more about the educational sessions,
workshops and tours and how you and your staff
can take advantage of them, visit
Experiences and
The Plug & Cutting Conference is another
home run event for learning about the best
growing for the 2019 season. The 2018 event
was rescheduled due to Hurricane Florence.
We look forward to hosting this popular event
Sept. 4-6, in the Charlotte, N.C. area. Participants
will have a chance to visit Metrolina Greenhouse
and Rockwell Farms. This conference provides
knowledge to help young plant growers perform
even better in their businesses.
AmericanHort's foundation, the Horticultural
Research Institute (HRI), has exciting news.
Earlier this year, HRI's leadership team voted to
fund fifteen research projects in FY2019, at over
Projects range from innovations, to crop
production for both greenhouse and nursery
segments, to water management in landscapes,
emergent pest issues, and economic and
marketing analyses. The HRI boxwood initiative
continues, with the second year of evaluation
of a standardized protocol to assess relative
cultivar susceptibility or tolerance to boxwood
blight. Preliminary results from 2018 point to the
successful development of a protocol and clear
differences in the level of susceptibility among
cultivars upon testing.
At the end of 2018, HRI hosted a research
roundtable to identify research priorities for
the next five to 10 years. Approximately 50
attendees were present, representing all facets
of environmental horticulture from all regions of
the US. Through brainstorming exercises and an
assessment of the industry, the group reached a
strong consensus on areas of need.
Quantifying the benefits of plants is one
example. Results of the meeting are available
in an executive summary and an in-depth
manuscript in the Journal of Environmental
Horticulture. Going forward, research priorities
will be amended according to the feedback from
the summit to better lead the industry towards
success. Learn more about HRI activities at
AmericanHort's GenerationNext community is
focused on helping young professionals progress
in their career. A key initiative to support these
efforts is CareerUP. We are pleased to offer the
third annual CareerUP workshop for emerging
professionals on July 13, in conjunction with
This year's speakers will focus on improving
team dynamics and communication, discuss the
skills needed to resolve conflict and have tough
conversations, and show how to better deal
with change and let go of the fears that may be
holding you back.
This event provides an invaluable opportunity
to network with horticulture industry peers who
are also trying to figure out how to navigate and
develop their career in an industry where career
progression isn't always obvious. An important
part of this valuable learning experience is
networking. Attendees will be provided multiple
opportunities throughout the event to help
strengthen their own industry connections.
Finally, we are expanding efforts to capture
more consumer discretionary dollars for
our industry through, a
website built in partnership with the National
Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).
We continue to work to expand our sustainability
programming, helping the industry understand
best practices around pesticide, fertilizer, water,
energy, and recycling use. Look for more news
on these exciting new opportunities in the
coming months.
As spring training gets under way and the first
quarter of 2019 comes to an end, the team at
AmericanHort is energized by the opportunities
that lay ahead. I hope you'll join us as we strive
to unite, promote, and advance the horticulture
industry. Because what we do together matters.
Mary Beth Cowardin is vice president
of marketing and member engagement
at AmericanHort. She can be reached at
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Big Grower March 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Big Grower March 2019

Big Grower March 2019 - 1
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