April 15, 2015
A tale of two cities
With a little help from his friends, Denis Flanagan helped organize a spring event in Verona.
Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations

Denis FlanaganA couple of months ago, I was comfortably reading a book, when I received a telephone call from Karen MacLean. She was wondering if I might be interested in helping her organize a garden event in Verona.

My brain immediately started to race. I began to make mental notes to make sure my passport was up to date and to pick up a book on how to speak Italian.

Karen then went on to explain that the Verona she was speaking of was where she lived, which is about 30 minutes north of Kingston. Although Ontario’s Verona is not the iconic romantic setting of Romeo and Juliet fame, it is indeed a charming township in South Frontenac. Karen thought her Verona deserved to have an event to celebrate the beginning of Spring.

So, always up for a challenge, I began to reach out to our Upper Canada Chapter members. I relied on the formula that we all know works well: pick a good location, have interesting topics, concentrate on networking, involve sponsors and put a solid marketing plan in place.

Karen booked the Lions Club Hall, which was a great venue with lots of free parking, seating for 150 and a great sound system. To fulfil the interesting topic requirement, we organized talks on Invest in your Garden, New Trends and Plants for 2015 and Why Hire a Professional Landscape Company. This tied in nicely with inviting LO member Pam McCormick CLP from Simply Landscaping and Garden Designs to be at the event.

The networking aspect of creating a great event was taken care of through  the local Master Gardeners (Nancy Cole, LO Horticultural member) and Horticultural Societies. Other vendors included a local family-run nursery and hardware store. As an aside, it was good to meet Tom Bridge,  president of the Napanee Horticultural Society, who used to work for long-time LO member Harper’s Gardening Centre in Dundas.

The sponsorship for the evening came in two forms, a local business Memory Lane, did a fabulous job of decorating the stage with spring plants. Karen MacLean, an investment consultant, represented The Investors Group, which supported the evening, including a draw to win $10,000 for landscaping.

Marketing the event was achieved by placing an advertisement in the local paper, along with flyers distributed within the community. But, the best way that the event was promoted was through the network of partners who had a vested interest in making the day a success. Through a series of emails, Tweets and Facebook mentions, the event attracted approximately 100 people.

It was a great success for a first-time event in a small community. This is a formula that could be repeated by any of our Chapters as a way of increasing awareness of LO in your local community.  

I would still love to visit ‘the other Verona’ one day. I’m just waiting for someone to open an LO Chapter there. Any takers?
Denis Flanagan can be reached at dflanagan@landscapeontario.com or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.