Virginia Examines Future of Horticulture

The Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association is holding its annual Field Day event at Shade Tree Farms in Upperville on August 20; event gathers experts to discuss, celebrate and predict the future of horticulture in Virginia.

The statewide association tasked with keeping Virginia green and growing is holding its annual Field Day event at Shade Tree Farms in Upperville on August 20.

The Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association Field Day gathers hundreds of Virginia Certified Horticulturalists, VNLA members, industry leaders, and horticultural experts to discuss, celebrate and predict the future of horticulture in Virginia.

“It’s vital to the health of Virginia’s green space that we organize this Field Day to encourage discussion between industry leaders and horticultural scientists,” Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association Executive Director Jeff Miller said. “The health and well-being of Virginia’s landscapes are more delicate than one may think. It is the VNLA’s role to bring these groups together to ensure our industry is encouraging best practices to ensure healthy and robust Virginia landscapes.”

Field Day features tours and digging big trees at Shade Tree Farm. Referred to as the “Where the Trees Live” the 100-acre nursery grows tens of thousands of tree and operates one of the largest fleets of truck mounted spades in the nation.

Expert presentations begin at 9 a.m. with a discussion of “Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes” lead by Thomas Rainer. He is a registered landscape architect, teacher, and writer from northern Virginia. He is a passionate advocate for an ecologically expressive design aesthetic that does not imitate nature, but interprets it.

Following will be “How to Beat the Low-Bid Competition” by Marcus VandeVliet, who has more than 25 years of real world experience as an entrepreneur, business executive and consultant. He was president of a residential design-build firm, improving profitability from 6% to 19% while maintaining the company’s $7 million in revenues.

The first afternoon session will be on the latest on “Bees and Pollinators, Immigration and water issues affection the green industry now, presented by Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort’s Senior Legislative Director and one of the most highly respected and knowledgeable individuals representing the green industry in Washington, DC.

Then, the new director of the U.S. National Arboretum, Dr. Richard Olsen, will introduce “Trees for the Future” highlighting current research including recent introductions from breeding programs, novel hybrids and forms currently under evaluation.

“The opportunities to learn from these experts, as well as to pass along our own experience as professionals is a unique offering,” Saunders Brothers, Inc. Sales Associate and VNLA President Sonya Lepper Westervelt said. “We’re busy with the day to day of running our own businesses throughout Virginia and these educators are experts with their education, legislative and research duties. The VNLA Field Day is a rare and valuable opportunity for all of us to come together and discuss industry best practices, responsible landscaping and the future of the industry with a broad group of experts and horticultural professionals.”

In addition to Field Day on August 20, the VNLA is also hosting a Landscape Management Workshop on Wednesday, August 19 in Manassas, Virginia on the “Five Key Fundamentals to Operating a Successful Landscape Construction Company” covering business planning, cash flow, pricing strategies, accountability and culture. Following this workshop, the VNLA will host a Networking Beer/Wine Reception under the Gazebo at the Wyndham Garden Manassas.

On Friday, August 21, the VNLA Annual Summer Tour will give attendees a “behind the scenes” tour of Ruppert Landscapes in Gainesville, then travel and “embrace the beauty of nature” at the Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Vienna, Virginia with lunch in their picnic pavilion. After lunch, Wheats Landscapes will host tours of two exquisite private residential landscapes.

Registration is open to the public and discounts apply for all VNLA Members.