March 8, 2011

Proud of LO’s prosperity

By Jacki Hart CLP

Prosperity Partners program manager

As many probably know, attending the Build Your Prosperity seminar is a mandatory requirement for new members. LO is pleased to see our new members receive an early return on their investment in LO, as they gain a stronger foothold in their business journey.

Great Lakes Conference

Last month, I travelled with Tony DiGiovanni and Tom Intven to the Great Lakes Conference in Michigan. This conference is held annually, and hosts the horticultural associations of eight states, plus Ontario – all bordering the Great Lakes. It is a great venue to exchange ideas and current reality sharing, as we all surf methods on how to maintain economic restraint and keep up with rapid change.

Relative to our counterparts to the south, I am proud to report that Landscape Ontario is enormously prosperous, vibrant and engaged. Having an association the size of LO is exceptional — we are the largest by far — which is of huge benefit to our members. The expression concerning strength in numbers rings true with LO. We have an outstanding executive director and staff, with successful and profit generating trade shows, and a professional development program second to none. We are the envy of all.

To quote the executive director of Illinois, Dave Becker, “You guys aren’t an association, you are a government!” Our peers south of the border were awestruck at all of the touch points we have, and the scope of our professional development programs. Here’s the summary of what we reported at the conference – a list of accomplishments of which you should be very proud.

Professional development

Our professional development committee streamlined our programming, eliminated duplication and created a sense of laddering and continuity in our winter workshops.  

Long-term education

We have made great strides, especially in the area of Red Seal apprenticeships. Red Seal is a term used for occupations that align standards across Canada. There are only 75 Red Seal trades. Landscape Horticulture is now one of them. The designation raises the stature of our trade. It also comes with a number of employer and employee benefits. 

Another positive development is the expansion of the high school specialist major program. This program started as a pilot project in a local high school, spreading quickly to 18 other high schools. It is now possible to graduate high school with a specialty in Landscape Horticulture. 

Future changes

Although we offer access to a number of webinars, which are becoming a popular delivery method, traditional classroom training is still our most successful. We experienced moderate growth this year, with 4,025 attendees in our educational programs. The following numbers show attendance at each of the programs: winter workshops (225), 1,900; irrigation conference, 80; landscaper designers conference, 185; IPM Symposium, 400; OPA conference, 75; Congress seminars (32); 800, Garden Centre Symposium, 110; Interiorscape Breakfast, 50; Landscape Designers Breakfast, 60; Snow Symposium, 100; Contractors Lecture Series, 90; Growers Short Course, 160; Lighting Symposium, 90; Growers’ Tour, 120; three Growers Dinner Meetings, 150; Chapter education programs, 1,350; Total attendance: 4,025.


New education models

Another education model at our fingertips quickly gaining popularity is online delivery of relevant programs. Three of these are presently experiencing great interest and may become the future preferred training methods. Created by members, these programs are all endorsed by the Prosperity Partners for our members and beyond:

Landscape Management  This is an online offering targeting the Prosperity Partners pillars of Sales Success, Professional Operations and Financial Health. Owners and employees purchase subscriptions to an online operating system that includes budgeting, estimating, operations, employee training and just about any process or content required to operate a landscape business. The employee modules on safety and equipment operations provide the business owner with the documentation required to prove that their employees comply with government requirements. Landscape Management is owned by LO member Mark Bradley, The Beach Gardener.

Landscape This online offering targets the Professional Operations pillar. It simplifies due diligence on the part of the business owner, and ensures compliance, convenient and timely training for all safety issues facing employers of our industry. Landscape is owned by LO member Jay Murray, TLC Landscaping.

Clarity for the This online initiative is launching its first course on Nov. 15, 2010. This owner training program targets the Prosperity Partners pillars of Leadership, Sales Success, Financial Health and Developing Customer Loyalty. The introductory course for Clarity for the Boss is an Internet accessible 26 module program designed to target the perennial people problems many owners experience. Several e-books are also available. It is designed to support learning through engagement, ready-to-use solutions, peer to peer learning partner support, live webinar participation, face to face seminars and email support. is owned by LO member Jacki Hart, Water’s Edge Landscaping.

New winter workshop offerings

This year’s program for workshops is better than ever. Starting with the Professional Development Guide, LO staff refreshed the look, and navigation through the publication provided easier selection and coordination of courses. All courses are aligned with the Prosperity Pillars. Watch for your copy! The Professional Development Guide was polybagged with last month’s Horticulture Review. A pdf version is available online at

You will notice in the guide that the Prosperity Partners program is offering only the Build Your Prosperity seminars. In order for us to offer this seminar to members in other chapters, please contact one of your Chapter Board members, and ask to poll your chapter members to rally participation. Chapters who recruit a minimum of 10 registrants can enjoy having this dynamic, effective seminar delivered in your own Chapter.

With the introduction of relevant, affordable training now available online, we recommend our members look to the three preferred education partners listed above to continue their journey to improved business success, compliance, profit and sanity.


The next Prosperity Partners’ seminars are: Milton, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16 at the home office in Milton. Make the time to come in from the frantic pace of your business, and get a handle on your journey to prosperity. Go to to learn more.

Jacki Hart may be reached at