October 15, 2019
Denis FlanaganAutumn is a favourite time of year for many gardeners. It’s time for harvesting, sharing, evaluating and planning ahead for next year. In many ways, autumn is much the same at Landscape Ontario’s home office in Milton, Ont.

This summer, we tested and implemented a new system for online dues invoicing. Like all new endeavours, there were a few hiccups along the way. Our membership services, accounting, and IT departments worked together to iron out most of the wrinkles and are looking forward to 2020 being the year of paperless invoicing for membership renewals.

We all know that collections can be a difficult part of running any business. Many of you have no doubt had experience with this, and have become experts on the subject over the years. Any advice that you would like to share would be welcomed. As we complete our harvesting of accounts this year, we are reminded of our core values as an association. Part of our annual dues revenue is shared with members to fund chapter meetings, host sector events, and run educational programs. By investing in our own mission, your dues payment helps to ensure healthy growth for all members now, and for future generations.

Speaking of the future, the current election campaign is a proof of how important the topic of the environment has become. As a green profession, we are definitely positioned in an enviable situation — not only to contribute to the well being of our planet, but also to use this power as a way of attracting young people into the profession. Once again this fall, I will be touring the province to share some encouraging words to first-year students at several colleges. I am looking forward to hearing comments and advice from students on how we can better position our organization to meet their needs in the future.

During those presentations, I often include images of seasonal, autumn displays at garden centres, featuring award winning displays of hydrangeas, asters, etc. These images are full of colour and serve as great examples of just how lucky we are in this profession to be surrounded by nature and plants almost every single day.

However, this constant exposure to nature means we tend to overlook the natural colours and beauty around us. I was reminded of this fact a few weeks ago while touring our province with visitors from the U.K. We took a walk in a natural ravine and my visitors were just fascinated by it all. In Canada, we sometimes take nature for granted, so we must work even harder to promote awareness about our environment.

Promoting and creating awareness is, of course, critical to any cause. At Landscape Ontario, we are convinced that expanding our membership can be achieved through our far reaching, and very loyal Associate members. This fall, we will be visiting as many of these suppliers to the industry as possible, to deliver countertop displays for their showrooms that explain the many benefits of membership in LO. We look forward to partnering with you.

Perhaps the most exciting activity during the upcoming weeks is planning for next year. Landscape designers will certainly be busy consulting with clients on projects and as an association, we will be working with our clients (members) to produce events, meetings, seminars and programs to benefit their business activities. As always, we welcome your advice, input and leadership in order to make 2020 the best year ever.
Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations