November 15, 2009
This year’s Garden and Floral Expo generated a noticeable buzz over the two-day event. From high quality booth displays to new products, a garden centre symposium, education seminars, floral displays and more, this year’s edition provided attendees with great excitement.

Known as Canada’s fall buying show for the green and floral industries, the 10th annual Garden and Floral Expo was held on Oct. 20 and 21 at the Toronto Congress Centre.

“Attendees and exhibitors were impressed. I received so many glowing reviews of the show, that I myself am positively glowing,” said Lorraine Pigeon-Ivanoff, assistant show manager.”

“We worked to create a unique and modern show that provided a real buzz for both attendees and our exhibitors,” said show manager Paul Day. From modern artistic lighting, to professional public relations, the results were positive.

Judges had a tough time this year determining the winners of the best booth and promotion awards. Those exhibitors receiving the top marks include,  best booth under 200 sq. ft., Canpol Mfg. of Mississauga; over 200 sq. ft., Westbrook Floral of Grimsby; and top promotion award went to Global Electronic Supplies of Mississauga.

The New Products Showcase featured over 150 of the latest additions to the garden and floral world.

Artistic director Albert Graves brought a Euro feel to the show with specialized lighting that gave a non-traditional feel.

Green for Life Award

A new addition to the show this year was the Green for Life Award. It was created to promote, recognize and reward environmentally responsible retailers and growers in the horticulture and floriculture industries. Winners were drawn from the retailers and growers who completed the Environmental Scorecard developed by Landscape Ontario.

The winners of the inaugural Green for Life Award were announced at the 10th anniversary Garden Party. Burns Water Gardens from Baltimore, Ont. and Green Thumb Garden Centre from Nepean were the award recipients of the Retail Garden Centre category. In the grower category, West Kootenay Plants, Winlaw, B.C., took the prize.

“We are extremely pleased that Burns Water Gardens, Green Thumb Garden Centre and West Kootenay Plants are the first recipients of the Green for Life Award,” said Nathan Helder, chair of the Green for Life Awards Judging Committee. “They are great examples of the positive shift in the industry toward better environmental stewardship. What we liked seeing was that the companies were working on or will work on making even more improvements. All of the companies clearly demonstrated what it means to be environmentally responsible in their industry and will hopefully set the standard for others to follow.”

“It was an honour to sponsor the Green for Life Awards programs and to celebrate accomplishments, recognize leadership and create the awareness of better environmental practices,” said Tammy Lawrence, president of Turf Revolution in Ayr.

LO booth big hit

The LO booth at Garden Expo this year received rave reviews. “It made our members proud,” said LO executive director Tony DiGiovanni. Designed and coordinated by Beth Edney CLD, of LO’s landscape designer sector group, DiGiovanni stated that she went way beyond the call of duty.

Members of the LO booth planning team included, Tim Kearney CLP, Sally Harvey CHT, CLP, Kristen McInytre CHT, Albert Graves and Kathleen Pugliese. Materials for the booth were supplied by Connon Nurseries NVK Holdings, Permacon and Moonstruck Landscape Lighting. The installation crew consisted of Manuela Neto, Diana Cassidy Bush, Carl Hastings, Geneva Tubby, Tom Somerville, Brian Lofgren, Ryan Heath, Stephanie Smith, Rachel Burt and Sally Harvey, Horta-Craft and Moonstruck Landscape Lighting. Thank you also goes to the excellent partners in production of the booth, ShowTech, Stronco and the Toronto Congress Centre.

Special appreciation

Pigeon-Ivanoff said a great deal of appreciation goes to Westbrook Floral and Meyer by Westbrook, “for sponsoring a presentation by Derrick Foss, AIFD, CAFA, about floral design trends in 2010 and by internationally renowned Els Teunissen, Dutch Master Florist. They were a pleasure to work with, and their incredible commitment to the show is truly appreciated.”

Special thanks also go to Derrick Foss for helping to transform the arbour and main entrance by creating a memorial in honour of Jocelyn Langendoen of Willowbrook Nurseries, who passed away on Jan. 22, 2009.

Floridus Design Images sponsored the much-loved and admired Barbara Hensel, Master Florist, and Harvey Pope, AIFD, CAFA, Master Florist, two pillars of the floral industry who always bring new ideas and fresh looks.

Master Gardeners of Ontario partnered with the show, and made the Green for Life stage a must-attend destination for visitors.

Rodger Tschanz spent hours digging out over 25 varieties of new plants/cultivars from the University of Guelph Trial Gardens to present them at the New Products Showcase and on the Green for Life stage.

Thanks go to CanAdvance and Agriculture Adaptation Council for sponsoring the cocktails and floral design event. Big thanks also to Canpol Manufacturing that provided tons of glassware for the event and Pick Ontario for all of the gorgeous plant material.

Beth Edney and Albert Graves, CAFA, poured their hearts into the look of the show and helped to transform it into one of the most exciting places to be for members of the horticultural industry.

Segments of Garden Expo were featured on CTV, CITY TV, Frankie Flowers’ blog ( and Canadian Florist magazine, among others.

David Austin, of David Austin Roses, was at the show. He told the show organizers that Garden & Floral Expo 2009 looked as good as any European show. He was impressed, a tremendous compliment coming from a horticultural world celebrity.


The experience at events like Garden & Floral Expo is always improved with the support of sponsors. These companies demonstrate commitment to the industry and its members through their generous sponsorships and deserve our thanks and recognition:

Garden Centre Symposium, Agricultural Adaption Council, Fafard, Brookdale Treeland Nurseries, Canadale Nurseries, CNLA/Garden Centres Canada, HortProtect, Manchester Products, Valleybrook Gardens (Ontario) and Willowbrook Nurseries. Connon Nurseries NVK and Permacon.

Landscape Designers’ Breakfast meeting, Connon Nurseries NVK Holdings and Permacon.

Celebration of Life Garden, Brookdale Treeland Nursery, Caledon Hills Perennials, Global Arch, My Own Tree, Meyer by Westbrook, Nincompoop, Peak Seasons Containers and Permacon.  

Entrance Arbour and Floral Display, Willowbrook Nurseries, United Floral Distributors and Floral Dimensions.

Garden centre symposium

The Garden Centre Symposium, on Oct. 19, saw over 200 in attendance to hear Tom Shay of Profits Plus, Tampa, Florida, Kip Creel, president of Standpoint Market Research, and  Jeff Morey, who produces the popular Chicago Independent Garden Centre Show and publishes several industry magazines, including Nursery Retailer.  

Landscape Designers’ Breakfast speaker was Ross Campbell, who owns an advertising agency. At the Interior Plantscape Breakfast, the speaker was Robert van Aerts, vice president of Westplant Green Facility, Plants First Choice Canada and Green Select of Mississauga.  

Green for Life Stage speakers included: Elizabeth Stewart, Astrid Muschalla, Rodger Tschanz, Sean James, Kerry Hackett, Scott Graham, Harvey Pope, Barbara Hensel and Derrick Foss.

Garden and Floral Expo was the place to be to see the latest in plants and retail products.

Nancy Leavitt from Landale Landscape Management in Thunder Bay was present at Garden & Floral Expo to accept an Award of Excellence won in the category of Permanent Display Gardens over 500 square feet. Leavitt is shown accepting the prize from LO president Bob Adams, left, and executive director Tony DiGiovanni.