Green Works 2017 Trade Show Review

2017 Green Works Trade Show – Burlington, Vermont

 In our profession, Winter trade shows are a breath of fresh air as they serve to break up the monotonous workload of the slow season. For landscape designers, you’re spending the first part of Spring implementing plans that were designed over the Winter “break” and procuring potential new opportunities for the following design season. Those in the plant nursery industry are even more excited, as most have put their plants to bed for the time being and are likely closed until Spring. No matter your particular involvement in the green industry, Winter trade shows are something worth the look ahead.

This year’s Green Works Winter trade show was held at the UVM Davis Center in Burlington, VT. As the responsible environmentalists that we are, Zach and I carpooled as he picked me up at the Waterbury Park n’ Ride during a mild snow shower event.

2017 Green Works Trade Show - Burlington, Vermont
UVM Davis Center

After a few mishaps in a search for the best available parking, we were off to the show. After attending the show alone last year, it was nice to have Zach along to accompany. He’s been in the green industry for over 20 years, working alongside several of the show’s attendees. These past relationships make introductions more organic and overall camaraderie is on full display.

The format of the Green Works 2017 Winter trade show mimicked that of 2016’s. Why mess with success, right? Horticulture exams, plant identification competition and industry awards are just some of the agenda items that make this event worthwhile.

2017 Green Works Trade Show - Burlington, Vermont
Roy Diblik at Lurie Gardens

We visited with vendors for a brief time in the lobby area before convening in the ballroom to listen to Roy Diblik, this year’s keynote speaker. For the second year in a row, Green Works has chosen a keynote speaker from outside of New England and I’m beginning to think this decision is intentional. Green industry professionals from places other than our own hardly fail at introducing us to new or alternative concepts, perhaps even echoing the culture of another region or part of the world. Roy is a designer and nurseryman hailing from the rolling hills of southeastern Wisconsin and is best known for supplying over 26,000 plants for the Lurie Garden at Millenium Park in downtown Chicago. Much of Diblik’s pitch to the audience involved connecting humans to nature and developing communities between all living beings. Roy’s success story is familiar to that of other prominent landscape designers in that he wasn’t gifted affluence and with a ‘bohemian work ethic’ there was nothing to stand in his way to ‘earn a living, not just make money’. “I’m as dumb as a stick”, he expressed. But he is no dummy! We enjoyed Roy’s enthusiasm so much that we stuck around for his second talk about his favorite perennial plant communities.

Whoever is in charge of the lunch planning for the Green Works Winter trade show for the past two years deserves an industry award of their own. As in 2016, the excellent choice of an all you can eat taco buffet was prepared for lunch. Four tacos deep with the help of an endless amount of cake (also a great choice) and we were ready to nap, but it was time for the industry awards!

Congratulations to this year’s industry award winners. It was nice to see that our Green Works sponsor from last year, Mike and Carol MacLeod of Evergreen Gardens were recognized as Retailer of the Year. We are quite familiar with the effort involved in seeing these projects to fruition. One unique aspect of this part of the trade show is that the designers get to present their projects with full, start-to-finish photo galleries. Here are just a few we enjoyed this year:

2017 Green Works Trade Show - Burlington, Vermont
Christian D’Andrea’s Dining in Nature
2017 Green Works Trade Show - Burlington, Vermont
Nate Carr’s Cantilever Poolside Bench

After the awards presentation we sat in on a few more talks including Rebecca Lindenmeyr’s discussion covering biophilic design, a concept that places integrating nature into designs as top priority. If you’re new to this concept as a home-owner or landscape designer, we suggest you explore biophilic design further. Rebecca views biophilic design as the future of the green building industry and expects to see a heavy shift toward this ideal within the next 5-10 years. In fact, many major corporations like Google and Apple are already integrating biophilic design in their newest buildings around the world.

2017 Green Works Trade Show - Burlington, Vermont
A rendering of Google’s new headquarters

All said, the Green Works 2017 Winter trade show was another success. We can’t wait to see what our colleagues come up with for next year. See you then!