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About 12,000 expected at 44th Landscape Congress

Visit www.locongress.com for details and to register


December 6, 2016
By Turf and Rec Staff

Canada’s largest conference and trade show aimed at the landscaping industry returns to Toronto’s Congress Centre Jan. 10-12. Landscape Ontario Congress, now in its 44th year, offers several industry-themed seminars, an IPM symposium, peer-to-peer workshop, a landscape designer conference and Landscape Ontario’s annual general meeting and awards of excellence ceremony.

The event attracts about 12,000 industry professionals who come to learn new trends, network with others and get a first-hand look at the latest in new equipment.

The education program:

Tuesday, Jan. 10

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  • The value of design: knowing what you’re worth. (Beth Edney, Designs By the Yard, Toronto). Would you like to charge more per each job? Can you charge more than your competition? Why you should charge more and how to do it? Understanding how clients make buying decisions will allow you to employ different techniques that appeal to their core behaviours. The session is aimed at landscape designer, design/build contractors or their sales team members.
  • Succeed and prosper with the world of water gardening. (Derek Dunphy, Aquascape, Chatham). Landscape contractors or retailers: if you are not selling water features, you may be missing the boat. The session will help profitability by explaining how to integrate water feature sales in a business plan. Contractors can expect to earn consistent 50 per cent margins on their projects following a simple installation system.
  • Tree planting for success: beyond the warranty. (Ian Bruce, Bruce Tree Expert Company, Toronto). What is transplant shock, what causes it, and how and when can we finally get it right and move beyond it? Bruce shares years of experience, from assessing tree planting specs, planting detailed graphics and what actually gets done in the field for “root” causes of transplant mortality. He will refer to A Reference Guide for Developing Planting Details in his presentation.
  • Resilient plants for the garden, now. (Sandra Pella, Toronto Botanical Garden). Her top 20 plant choices that stand up to impending weather conditions will be highlighted. She will also discuss her favourite plant selections from the Toronto Botanical Garden and the reasons they should be considered when planting time comes next.
  • Microbial life in soil and the health of your business. (Bob Reeves, Root Rescue Environmental Products, Waterdown). Reeves, a garden centre and landscape trade journeyman, will unravel the mystery of why plants in undisturbed ecosystems are more drought-tolerant. He will also answer why they live longer, why they are less likely to suffer from disease or insect attack, and how they are able to obtain water and nutrients when the same plants in suburban landscapes need constant care. His presentation will include an exploration of beneficial soil microbe communities that support the landscape.
  • Business opportunities as the cornerstone of your website. (Timothy Howard, Clarity Connect, Holly Springs, N.C.) Before working on a site map, design or making a down payment on a website, clearly-defined business objectives must be made and the “sweet spot” and “resource pit” known. Real-world exercises will be worked through during the session. Attendees are expected to leave with the tools needed to evaluate how their site helps meet their business objectives.
  • Gardening challenges in a changing climate. (Charlie Dobbin, Garden Solutions by Charlie Dobbin). Highlighting recent weather events, she will explain the difference between weather and climate. Other topics for discussion include plant phenology, migratory patterns of birds and insect populations. She will also present tips, tricks and techniques to be proactive with garden designs and maintenance schedules.
  • Marketing for green. (Jason Wilton and Bob Wilton, Boundless Productions, Markham, Ont.) The session will focus on an organization’s current marketing efforts and how to turn branding dollars into quantifiable leads. The presenters will focus on what happens after setting a company’s position and brand in the marketplace, and bridging the gap between marketing and sales. They will demonstrate that simple branding and an attractive website are not enough to generate the revenue a firm deserves.

Wednesday, Jan. 11

  • Satisfied customers are killing your business: unlocking the secrets of customer loyalty. Bill Hogg, Bill Hogg & Associates, Aurora, Ont.). Three-quarters of a company’s customers have no compelling reason to return, and organizations today have not forged the emotional connections that create customer loyalty and advocacy. The session will focus on the practical application of customer engagement, leaving attendees with actionable strategies and tactics to move from customer service to customer experience. He will share the principles with drive customer focus throughout an organization.
  • Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…no! (Timothy Howard, Clarity Connect, Holly Springs, N.C.) Don’t use guesswork or gut feelings to make decisions about a website. Use data from site visitors to improve website results. With A/B Testing and Google Analytics, the guesswork can be taken out of improving a website. The tools available are either free or inexpensive and provide the data necessary to confidently improve a website. Real world examples will be used to explain how to get started with these tools.
  • Recommended repertoire of respectable plants 2.0. (Jon L. Peter and Alex Henderson, Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ont.) A summary of “respectable plants grown and appreciated at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The presenters will offer insight into new and old varieties proven to succeed in Ontario.
  • Tree pruning: timing and techniques for optimum vitality, structure and life expectancy. (Ian Bruce, Bruce Tree Expert Company, Toronto) The methods and timing related to pruning and where the practice has come since 1975.
  • The six deadly mistakes of job costing. (Mike Lysecki, LMN, Whitevale, Ont.) Job costing is often over-talked and under-delivered, and few companies know how to follow through effectively. Lysecki presents the case of a landscape company that changed its habits and fortunes by implementing simple job costing procedures.
  • Better sales with combination container designs. (Christina Salwitz, The Personal Garden Coach, Renton, Wash.) A presentation of out-of-the-box design thinking to inspire 21st century customers is featured. Included are sales and buying strategies to increase sales in all departments of the nursery, beginning in spring and on into winter.
  • Taming hecklers: strategies for dealing with difficult personalities. (Judy Croon, K&M Productions, Pickering, Ont.) In the business world, a heckler is a person who disrupts the flow. The strategies performers use to deal with hecklers are also effective in the business world. They improve the company’s culture, productivity and efficiency and decrease the amount of bullying and absenteeism.
  • Transformative landscapes: healing gardens and sacred spaces. (Virginia Burt, Virginia Burt Designs, Burlington, Ont.) Research shows that healing gardens have a positive effect on patients’ experience of health care facilities, including shorter stays and improved outcomes. The process of creating a transformative healing garden is explained, from engaging with stakeholders to donor cultivation, from funding to building, and managing such gardens.

Thursday, Jan. 12

  • Irrigation and sustainability: the new odd couple? (Warren Gorowitz, Ewing Irrigation, Phoenix, Ariz.) A discussion of how irrigation and sustainability are linked together. The presentation will explore what sustainability is and how it can be viewed as an opportunity for the industry.
  • Smart irrigation technologies: how to enhance your business. (Warren Gorowitz, Ewing Irrigation, Phoenix, Ariz.) The presentation will offer a variety of smart irrigation technologies and practices that can be used to enhance a business, allowing it to stand out from the competition.
  • Double your business. (Andrew Wall, Sandler Training, Milton, Ont.) The attitudes, behaviours and techniques required to grow a business will be shared. Wall will share the formula he has devised to help a landscape business owner to profitably double his business over three to five years.
  • Booming business: take your designs, installs and maintenance to the next level. (Christina Salwitz, The Personal Garden Coach, Renton, Wash.) By asking the right questions, consciously making the right connections and supporting clients with high-end skills will help a landscape contractor capture his share of the market, when he knows the secret. The presentation will allow attendees to get more sales and better quality sales that create long-lasting relationships.
  • Finding voice: an examination of what makes “home.” (Virginia Burt, Virginia Burt Designs, Burlington, Ont.) The presentation will explore three award-winning gardens in the context of “home.” The first is a garden where a harsh setting dictated design. The second was constructed from the beautiful historic remnants of a home that had been lost. The third found voice through its characters.