Inside BCEC

New England Grows is the garden industry trade show and conference for the New England area and is an annual event in Boston. It was held at the  Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) last Wednesday – Friday.

At this time of year it is especially encouraging to see some green trees, blooming shrubs and colorful flowers. Unfortunately, because of the impending blizzard named Nemo the BCEC was closed on Friday. Probably the best decision in the long run as the Governor of Massachusetts banned all non essential vehicle traffic that day starting at 4:00 P.M.  and it lasted 24 hours. When my Governor Deval Patrick says “Please stay in and hunker down.”  — I stay in and hunker down.


 I woke up on Saturday to at least 24″ of snow and drifts of up to five feet. The wind was still howling and it wasn’t even physically possible to open either the front or back door of my house because of the snow depth . Good thing the  garage doors lift up. Out we went to shovel.  Again and again….
Okay, enough about the weather. New England Grows had some great speakers this year. Here is a quick synopsis of the five speakers I got to see among the almost thirty that were supposed to speak. and a list of interesting information websites for gardeners.
Ian Doescher, a Digital Marketing Specialist from The Pivot Group in Portland, Oregon  is an avid perpetual learner that has found his current niche in marketing and communications.   He
gave lots of great advice and  information about marketing, design and social media strategy.
Lynden B. Miller, Principal from Lynden B. Miller Public Garden Design and author of Parks, Plants, and People: Beautifying the Urban Landscape, was very inspirational recalling the tales of the many restoration projects she has completed in the public spaces of New York City. These urban rescue and restore transformations have completely changed many neighborhoods from drug dealer filled parks to peaceful sanctuaries with improved real estate values and increased tourism. I think she should be regarded as New York’s current day Miss Rumphius.
Richard Hawke, Plant Evaluation Manager from the Chicago Botanic Garden, shared his wealth of information regarding  plant evaluations on Echinacea, Geranium, Stachys and Thalictrum. This info and a lot more on ornamental plant research can be found at
This is one botanic garden that I’m definitely  putting on my bucket list of places to see.
Kipp Bodner, Director of Marketing from Hubspot in Cambridge, MA, gave the audience new insight regarding how to rent to own your own marketing with social media. This more effective method of inbound marketing had people really thinking. He is a co-author of  The B2B Social Media Book: Become a Marketing Superstar by Generating Leads with Blogging, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Email and More.  Loved his take on Pinterest for the landscape industry.
Roy Diblik, Co-Owner of Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin was supposed to speak on Friday but luckily for the large audience in attendance Thursday, we saw one of the most confident and at ease speakers simply telling his story and thoughts about perennials and realistic maintenance techniques. His style “which he calls “Know Maintenance” Gardening” helps gardeners to understand design, the time commitment needed to maintain the gardens they plant and the importance of using regionally hardy plants.  He discussed his concepts and shared beautiful  images of plants and gardens that he has planted and maintained.  I’m so glad I attended this lecture. It alone, was worth the cost of admission to New England Grows.
Attend the show next year February 5 – 7, 2014
The six New England Cooperative Extension Systems with invaluable plant information.
I am enjoying winter but thinking about spring gardening. Stay warm.
Terese O’Connell

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