Grow or Die

Posted on Jul 18, 2019
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When you’ve been in business doing something for more than four decades, you probably think you’re pretty good at it. The mere act of surviving all the challenges running a business throws at you says it all.

Do you think I need a shave? Working hard and playing hard at the Cultivate 19 conference in Columbus, Ohio. Photo: Jim Mumford

Do you think I need a shave? Working hard and playing hard at the Cultivate 19 conference in Columbus, Ohio. Photo: Jim Mumford

Plenty of people take their expertise for granted, though. That’s the kiss of death. The minute you think you know-it-all is the minute you don’t. I’m a firm believer in new knowledge and growth as one of the key ingredients to success in nearly anything. And why wouldn’t growth be at the heart of working in a green business like plantscaping and biophilic design?

That’s why nothing gets in the way of my annual trip to Columbus, Ohio for the biggest professional conference in my industry, the AmericanHort “Cultivate 2019”conference. There are more than 650 exhibitors and 10,000 industry professionals like me from 30 different countries taking in the eight-acre trade show, four days of educational opportunities and talking with my colleagues about the latest trends and solutions for our clients.

Then I can bring them back and put them into practice for you!

The power of community

I learn so much from my professional colleagues, and my new know-how gets put to work for you. Photo: Jim Mumford

I learn so much from my professional colleagues, and my new know-how gets put to work for you. Photo: Jim Mumford

The most important of all the groups for me is Green Plants for Green Buildings. I believe in this organization’s goal so much I sit on the board of directors.

At our meeting during Cultivate 2019, we talked about the power of being part of a professional organization. It helps provide education and builds community. More of these benefits are delivered online to our members. And GPGB shares the benefits of biophilic design and integrating the science of biophilia in everyday life through its public outreach including its social media.

“Biophilia is not a trend. It’s a design philosophy here to stay.” Photo: Jim Mumford

“Biophilia is not a trend. It’s a design philosophy here to stay.” Photo: Jim Mumford

It was good to learn the single most popular message on its Twitter account read “Biophilia is not a trend. It’s a design philosophy here to stay.” Shameless plug: Follow @GPGBdotORG

But like in many other industries, a large group of Baby Boomers who are the most experienced people are starting to hit retirement age. When they all retire at once, we will lose a lot of knowledge. Those of us concerned about our industry and its contribution to improving our planet need fresh talent who can help carry on this work into the future. So – it’s a good time to look for a job! Hint #2: visit our Careers page on the Good Earth Plant Company website. I’m one of those Baby Boomers too. But I’m not disappearing ALL that soon.

Trendspotting in Columbus

A few of the trends we spotted at the conference:

Air plants rule at Cultivate 2019! Photo: Jim Mumford

Air plants rule at Cultivate 2019! Check out the “jellyfish” on the right. Photo: Jim Mumford

What’s old is new again. Macrame came back a few years ago and it’s still the rage. Air plants remain popular. Good Earth Plant Company is getting increased interest from clients in our air plant walls.

Small plants, dish gardens, and terrariums lead a strong trend to plants that fit well on desktops, shelves, windowsills, and other smaller spaces. A plant on every desk!

The most spectacular room divider I’ve ever seen – all made from plants. Photo: Jim Mumford

Long term effects from hurricanes within the last few years wiped out many large tropical plant growers in Florida. This is why our supplies of some large plants are limited right now, especially ones that take a long time to grow. Another trend with the potential to raise prices: many long-time ornamental plant growers are transferring their skills to the cannabis industry. We are watching all of this closely for our clients.

Sustainability is our future

We love this moss wall design. Photo: Jim Mumford

I heard one word over and over again: sustainability. It applies to nearly everything. Taking care to source materials that don’t inflict more harm on the environment while trying to incorporate nature into our urban environment. Doing what we can to improve health and wellbeing through our work for individuals and societies. Getting others to think about their impact on the earth and what it means for the future. And yes, being able to thrive as business operators while being eco-responsible.

Two of our good friends were inducted during the conference into the Plantscaping Hall of Fame. I bet you didn’t even know it existed! Congratulations to Steve Decker and Phil Feinman of Architectural Supplements (ASI), long term industry suppliers; and Rich Batcho, a talented floral designer who unselfishly gives back to the industry.

They like us, they really like us!

Receiving one of our awards from good friend Denise Godfrey, owner of Olive Hill Nursery in Fallbrook. Photo: Jim Mumford

Good Earth Plant Company also picked up a few awards We won a Platinum Award for our replica wall using replica moss, succulents, and air plants designed for Mission Federal Credit Union; and a Gold Award for the renovation of the Sharp Memorial Hospital green roof. The bragging rights are nice, but it’s positive reinforcement we are doing a good job for our clients and need to keep it up.

Walking the walk: All of the plants used in displays at Cultivate 19 are being donated to Habitat for Humanity. They'll be sold this weekend to benefit the organization's work. We approve this message! Photo: Courtesy AmericanHort/Facebook

Walking the walk: All of the plants used in displays at Cultivate 19 are being donated to Habitat for Humanity. They’ll be sold this weekend to benefit the organization’s work. We approve this message! Photo: Courtesy AmericanHort/Facebook

As we all leave Columbus to return home with our heads full of information, we leave a convention center full of display plants. Wonder what happens to all the plants after #Cultivate19? Everything is being donated to local Columbus charities, including the Habitat for Humanity MidOhio ReStore. If you’re in the area or know someone who is, stop by their plant sale this coming weekend to support their mission of empowering families.