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Archives for March 27, 2017

Rainy weather helps Flower and Garden Show

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – This rainy weekend isn’t stopping hundreds of people from enjoying one particular perk of springtime. 

The Flower and Garden Show was held at the QCCA Expo Center.

It’s been around for about three decades.

People from all over the Quad City Area checked out the show.

Some were looking to do landscaping work, while others just looking for a plant or two.

“I didn’t want to come. He did, so I’m glad I listened to him,” said Marr.

Karla and Logan Marr say they haven’t been to the Flower and Garden Show for about a decade.

This year they have a pretty big reason to make some changes in their yard.

“Our grandson’s getting married in June at our place on our property. So, we’re really looking for some ideas to add to that, and then just some new ideas put into our existing flower beds and stuff,” said Marr. 

The couple says the hour trip from Canton, Iowa was well worth it. They say they’ve been inspired by many of the exhibits, including this one.

“We saw some really nice pergolas made out of old rustic beams with made a stone wall, with maybe one wall at the back. Some of the new plantings to add to our existing plantings, trees and stuff,” said Marr. 

Corn Crib Nursery Owner Derek Engstrom says they meet all kinds of people.

Some look to makeover their yards.

Others just want to find the best flowers for their garden.

“Landscaping has come so far, as far as, the different types of materials you can incorporate into the landscape to build your patio or retaining wall and things like that. And also with the different displays it gives people a lot of ideas on how they can be creative to make their space their own,” said Engstrom.

… and there’s been plenty of people checking out the show this year according to the coordinators.

Show Director Rob Junker says the wet weekend helped out.

“The weather has played a huge part in helping our show because the nice rainy days there’s not really a lot for people to do, and what better way to see some gorgeous flowers,” said Junker.

You can buy some of the flowers that were at the show Monday.

They will be on sale at the QCCA Expo Center in the north hall between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. 

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Tap schooled talent

Recruiting college graduates with green industry degrees has become an important aspect of recruiting at Surrounds Landscape Architecture + Construction in Sterling, Virginia. “Having career-minded people who are excited about the landscaping business is refreshing and brings a lot to our company,” says Barry Schneider, president.

“They don’t know what they can’t do,” he says, relating how those who have just been schooled in the field are not afraid to try new approaches. This reminds veterans that different can be very good.

“In my experience, it’s important to have someone at the fair that students can relate to.” – Barry Schneider, president

Surrounds likes to bring in recent grads because their energy is a real booster. It all started five years ago when Schneider recruited an intern from West Virginia University. The landscape architecture student gained lots of experience during his summer with Surrounds and joined the company after graduation.

Then the company began attending a career fair at Penn State University. “They have a great program for landscape contracting and horticulture,” Schneider says. Surrounds sets up a 10- by 10-foot booth that’s mostly a backdrop with photos of Surrounds’ work. Schneider attends the fair and takes a younger colleague along with him. “In my experience, it’s important to have someone at the fair that students can relate to,” he says.

Surrounds offered logoed drink cozies one year, but none of the students seemed all that interested in the give-away, Schneider says. So, the company keeps it simple with the booth, letting photos tell the firm’s story.

Surrounds collects resumes, and Schneider or his colleague will make notes if there is a stand-out student who seems interested and qualified. After the career fair, they follow up by email and phone. From those dozen or so conversations, six students are generally interested and an average three or four will visit Surrounds for a tour and to learn more. Every year, Surrounds ends up hiring one person from the fair.

Displaying at the fair keeps the brand in front of students. “Students start recognizing our name as the years go by,” Schneider says. This is helpful for hiring interns, who go back to school talking about Surrounds.

Surrounds attends the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, and last year hired a Colorado State University graduate.

“He stayed in touch with his professor and has spoken highly about his job with us, so the professor reached out and asked if we would visit and talk to his class,” he says.

Schneider will share his experiences working in the industry and the work Surrounds does. The presentation is an opportunity to reach more college students on a personal level.

“I would highly recommend that any landscape company reach out to college graduates,” Schneider says. “It’s incredibly rewarding on many levels to work with students.”

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8 of the Smallest, Cutest Gardens and Outdoor Spaces

You don’t need an inexhaustible amount of acreage to achieve the home garden you’ve always dreamed of. Limited as their square footage may be, compact outdoor areas can be every bit as aesthetically pleasing as their sprawling counterparts. They also benefit from a creative use of space. After all, they can sprout up anywhere—on a stoop, in a narrow passage between buildings, in a seemingly nonexistent backyard—and often employ an unexpected use of materials and plantings. The trick is to impart lushness with an abundance of flowering blooms and a thicket of greenery. Here, we round up eight small gardens, from a minimalist rooftop gathering spot to a verdant alley, to admire—or inspire—your next outdoor project. They certainly prove that what petite plots lack in size they can more than make up for in style.

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For some, annual garden show a harbinger of spring — Bangor …

BANGOR, Maine — Vicki Grant of Bangor smiled Saturday as she watched her 6-year-old granddaughter, Brenna Hurd, plant a pumpkin seed in a tiny terracotta pot that she decorated with stickers in the children’s area of Through the Garden Gate’s display at the 2017 BDN Maine Garden Show at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

The child also made a simple birdfeeder consisting of Cheerios strung on a pipe cleaner bent into a wreath shape while at the Corinna plant nursery’s booth.

“I’m babysitting for her this weekend,” said Grant, who was shopping for the makings of a succulent garden. “We’ve been before, the two of us. This is something to do.”

This year’s show featured more than 60 vendors offering a range of garden and landscaping products and services as well as healthy living and food products, jewelry, clothes and more.

For many showgoers, the annual garden event was a chance to be reminded that warmer weather lies ahead.

“Everybody’s been really cheery and optimistic about the future weather prospects,” Charlie Longo, a former Bangor city councilor, said Saturday while staffing the Liberty Mutual booth.

“It seems like everyone I’ve spoken to today has been really excited, you know, the quality of the vendors and every booth has been really fantastic,” he said.

Plymouth resident Sharon Pratt, who doesn’t garden but has friends who do, came to check out the landscaping displays.

“I came just to get out and enjoy a semi-spring day, to see who actually followed the theme of the show,” said Pratt, who particularly enjoyed the display created by DePaulo Landscaping and Property Maintenance of Veazie.

The display was one of the big hits of this year’s show — both with the public and with this year’s judges: Todd Bangs of Windswept Gardens, Bangor City Council Chairman Joe Baldacci, Councilor Gibran Graham and Sarah Walker Caron, features editor at the Bangor Daily News, which organizes the annual show.

In keeping with this year’s theme, “Flower Power,” DePaulo Landscaping owner Jacob Earl presented a display featuring none other than a vintage Volkswagen Beetle.

“We got it in Burnham, Maine,” said Earl, who last fall bought the business from former owner Cameron DePaolo, who now works for him.

“We had the idea and went on Craigslist and the next day I found one. We went down to Burnham the next day [to pick up the VW Bug]. It was in the middle of a cow field. Yeah, it was funny,” he said.

“It’s been great. Everyone’s loving it. It seems like everyone used to have one. I heard that at least 25 times,” he said with a laugh.

With flowers and foliage tucked inside and spilling out from the former engine compartment at its rear and surrounded by plantings of such spring favorites as tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, to name a few, the Bug was a sight to behold.

The display required some planning as Earl had to force several varieties of bulbs to flower, which he did in the greenhouse at Sprague’s Nursery Garden Center.

Earl’s display took the first place Best in Show award.

Second place Best in Show honors went to Hickory Dickory Decks, which entered a display featuring a deck and hot tub decorated with a colorful selection of flowers, and third to Maine in Maine Landscaping’s wooden moose and deer, also accented by a selection of garden flowers.

Some garden show regulars, however, were disappointed that there were fewer gardening and landscaping displays and less foot traffic than in previous years.

Betty Snook, a New Hampshire vendor of therapeutic magnetic jewelry, was one of them.

“I won’t be back next year,” said Snook, who has been participating in the show since 2014.

Longo noted that this year’s garden show in Bangor coincided with the Boston Flower Garden Show.

“A lot of the vendors went down there,” he said.

The garden show opened Friday and wraps up on Sunday, when it will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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