November 15, 2017
By Denis Flanagan CLD
LO Manager of Membership and Public Relations
Denis FlanaganOver the next few weeks, your Landscape Ontario membership team will be having planning meetings to ensure our activities in 2018 will continue to align with the changing needs of our members. Our direction comes from LO’s Provincial Board of Directors, who prioritize the needs and direction of the association.

As always, we will pay close attention to the needs of our nine regional chapters, through the many annual events they hold and through hundreds of face-to-face meetings at Congress. The valuable feedback we get from our engaged members is necessary for us to formulate a plan for 2018. Just as it is important for you to review the past year in your own business, in order to recognize particular successes, and build upon those for even more success in the coming year, we too, must do the same. Here are just a few of our successful undertakings from the past 12 months.

As the season winds down each fall, members provide valuable insight into their knowledge of the association and how it works at the annual LO governance meeting. Here, representatives from LO’s nine chapters and 11 sector groups continue to amaze us with their commitment and creative energy that always comes out at this special meeting. One change we are making this year as a result of your feedback is changing  the timing of the governance meeting to coincide with Congress instead of being held in late fall when members are really busy.

Public relations remains a priority at Landscape Ontario. Educating media and the public on the many benefits of hiring a professional member of LO is our number one goal. Through LO’s extensive network, we utilize several vehicles to reach the masses, such as Canada Blooms, countless home and garden shows (at which many LO chapters have a strong presence), our popular Garden Inspiration magazine, various TV, radio and magazine features, and a monthly message to our media members/partners. Through  these efforts, we aim to promote awareness of horticulture and encourage the public to hire a professional. This past year, our largest increase in awareness came through social media. The stunning work of LO members in the LO Awards of Excellence program always creates a plethora of comments when posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In 2018, we plan to make an even more concentrated effort on showcasing the inspiring work of LO members.

Canada 150 was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and promote with our many partners who share our goal of promoting awareness of horticulture: Garden Days, the Canadian Garden Council, Master Gardeners, Canada Blooms, Toronto Botanical Gardens, Royal Botanical Gardens, Ontario Parks Association and Canadian Nursery Landscape Association. In late June, we held a special Canada 150 member day barbecue at LO’s home office in Milton to recognize pioneer members and their families. We also celebrated the fact we have a viable LO membership with many strong partners and organizations, that together, engage over 150,000 people in the world of horticulture.

The past six months have been extremely busy with many chapter and sector group events, including eight golf tournaments, three baseball tournaments and many educational sessions. In September, CNLA hosted the International Garden Centre Association congress (ICGA), showcasing Ontario to over 250 delegates from over 22 countries. The event included tours to some of Ontario’s finest garden centres. This past summer, Gatineau, Que., hosted the Mosaicanada event to coincide with Canada 150, drawing huge crowds from around the world to their larger than life exhibit.

Getting out to see so many world-class landscape projects, garden centres, botanical gardens and special exhibits this past summer made me realize just how lucky we are to have such greatness in Ontario. In 2018, I challenge everyone who is a part of the landscape and horticulture profession to make a point of visiting more of these fantastic, inspiring sites.

With the year almost behind us, it’s now on to the business of planning for 2018. If you have any ideas, suggestions or comments for LO’s membership team, please contact me.

Denis Flanagan can be reached at or at 905-875-1805, ext. 2303.