January 15, 2017
Paul Brydges
LO President

Paul BrydgesAs always, late fall is a flurry of activity at Landscape Ontario with board meetings, continuing education and preparing for Congress and Canada Blooms. The number of events and opportunities to network and collaborate with peers is amazing.

Of the many topics that come to mind is the importance for member companies to take advantage of apprenticeship. This incredible program is available to employers to further educate staff and create career team members. If our enrolment numbers don’t start to improve, we may lose this valuable opportunity. It is hard to send staff off to courses when they are so desperately needed in the field, but isn’t it harder to potentially lose more people from the field permanently because we don’t invest in them, by supporting their education and training?

In late November, I attended the HortEast trade show and conference in Halifax where it was great to see the national initiative of getting the Canadian Landscape Standard (CLS) adopted is being fully embraced. It is inspiring to see how two national associations have banded together to collaborate for the greater good; to benefit all of us in the horticultural professions. Sally Harvey is beginning to leave her imprint on the east coast associations and is helping to bring us all together on the national level. It is great to see that so many things we have passion for in Ontario can also be relevant and useful in eastern Canada as well. Christine LeVatte is the national chair for the CLS committee and we had several discussions about the importance of us all making time to adopt the standards to make them part of our everyday language. We have never had a better opportunity to showcase how we have evolved as a profession.

The CLS will go a long way when it comes to speaking to the provincial government about a Name Act for landscape designers. I would also look at how insurance providers may positively view the standards from their perspective when it comes down to liability on a project.

In late November, I attended the LO Growers Group fall dinner and lecture evening. It was great to hear so much discussion focused on the value of native plant material and the need for nurseries, municipalities and specifiers to all have a round table discussion as to source and species of material that will be required in the years ahead. Natives are not always the answer, but there is no better place to start when looking for plants that provide more than just aesthetics. As geography and resources become more scarce, plantings that serve multiple purposes and thrive, not just survive, are increasingly important factors when choosing plant material and the preparation of its space.

I wish you all a prosperous 2017 and look forward to seeing many of you at LO Congress.
Paul Brydges may be reached at paulbrydges.la@sympatico.ca.