The morning started with smothering slate-grey skies dropping a freezing drizzle on slushy city streets. Coupled with the Expo’s 9 a.m. opening, things looked bleak for an hour or so. As soon as the first of the morning educational sessions ended, however, the massive Expo floor started filling again. By 10:30 a.m. the noise on the floor had returned to an encouraging level, and exhibitors seemed busy chatting with customers and prospects again.There’s no question the huge snowstorm that pounded Boston this past Monday, and the return of snow (albeit of a gently falling variety) by mid morning Thursday prevented many full-service contractors from attending the day’s events. Contractors in New England count heavily on snow management to maintain off-season cash flow. When it snows, they push snow and put down deicers. Making money comes first. (Right: Dr. Cheryl Smith, center, answers questions after her Thursday morning presentation.)But the weather didn’t deter the “plant people” that help give New England Grows its distinctive “green” personality. The overflow crowd at the 9 a.m. presentation by Dr. Cheryl Smith (Cultural Practices & Pest Management Strategies for Low Input Landscapes) confirmed the popularity of both the educational sessions and the living plant component evident on the floor of the exhibit hall of New England Grows.
Dr. Smith’s audience contained a mixture of nursery, grounds and landscape pros whose principle responsibilities involve growing and maintaining healthy landscape plants. Attendees, many still in winter coats, filled huge east ballroom at the modern convention center. Several dozen green industry pros sat along the walls and took notes as Dr. Smith shared her knowledge.
Immediately after Dr. Smith, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, concluded her presentation a dozen or so attendees surrounded her, peppering her with questions and sharing their own personal experiences in dealing with specific plant issues.
This very personal give-and-take that allows attendees to meet with experts, such as Dr. Smith and many others, is one of the event’s greatest pleasures. (Right: Looking out the Convention and Expo Center windows, the weather looked bleak to start Thursday morning.)