VNLA meets at MANTS


The Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association held its annual meeting Jan. 15 in Baltimore, Md., introducing a new logo and a new marketing firm, Access Inc., from Roanoke. VNLA has joined the "Plant Something" campaign for consumers that started in Arizona.
Committee reports were presented in concise fashion. Membership is up; a social gathering in December was a hit. "Turns out, nursery people like to throw a good party," said Mike Hildebrand.
In lieu of taking plants to legislators, VNLA will recognize their public service by a donation to Hallowed Ground's Living Legacy.
Six states are working on a Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional Certification Program which will provide consistency in best management practices and the rigor of training. Maryland Nursery and Landscape Association invested four years in writing conservation practices and is giving that material to VNLA to use. "We are pulling pieces from as far away as Cornell," said Virginia Rockwell.
Big issues for VNLA are pollinators, groundwater and "waters of the United States."
Peter Schultz thanked the organization for helping avert budget cuts in the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Research Station and announced $200,000 had been made available to reglass the 1950s greenhouse.
A report from AmericanHort was that with a new Congress, legislative efforts have to start all over in the process to get an issue to the status of a bill. It was also noted that millenials, while they like plants, don't use the term "gardening," so the industry needs to come up with a new term.
Tom Saunders, whose 17 years on the MANTS board is ending with new term limits being imposed, announced the dividend from last year had been used responsibly. "MANTS is a smooth-running machine. This was one of the best years ever. With 967 exhibitors, we have 120 on the waiting list."
The breakfast meeting concluded with the presentation of awards.