Southeast Green Conference Gardener’s Dream

Duluth, GA

It’s like walking through a garden lover’s fever dream at the Southeast Green Conference, as every type of plant, tree and equipment can be seen under one roof no matter how big or small. Add in the multiple breakout sessions, and it’s an event that helps keep both gardeners and landscape experts up to date on the industry.

“It’s just great coming back and continuing to learn. I’ve been doing this a while, but I continue to learn, and I continue to see collogues and network with them and this is kind of the premiere event for that here in the Southeast,” says Matt Widdon with Columbus in Color.

This type of experience is vital for all in attendance as the green industry continues to change and progress at a rapid rate.

“Now there’s all these other varieties and sturdier stems, greener foliage, less disease. It’s constant. That’s the way our industry is. It just continues to improve, to evolve,” says Widdon.

While it might be a bit intimidating for the beginning gardeners to sift through all of the different varieties and colors, doing a bit of preparation before even stepping foot in a garden center or nursery can make things much easier.

“Have a plan. Have a plan when you go, because you want to buy a plant that won’t overgrow your location. If you get a plant that overgrows your location, that’s going to increase your maintenance time, your maintenance costs,” says Craig McManus, McPlants Podcast. “If you’ve got a space, get a plant that will fit that space. Blooms, we all get excited about blooms, but don’t let color be the only thing you pick from. You know, looking at textures, looking at form, shape, does it fit inside of the spot that you want to grow it in?”

Once you have those flowers and plants in the ground, the biggest piece of advice is that gardening is anything but an exact science.

“Don’t be afraid to make a mistake because you’re not gardening unless you make a mistake. We all make mistakes. If you’ve been gardening for a long time, you’ve made a lot of mistakes. But, with that, you have had a lot of success because you’ve learned from your mistakes,” says McManus.

While this industry saw unprecedented growth during the pandemic in 2020, that interest has yet to wane as people are seeing multiple benefits of getting out into the garden.

“If you garden, you don’t need to have a health club membership because you’re outside. You’re burning a lot of calories. It’s healthy to be out in the sun, get that vitamin D level up. Your community, you’re connecting with nature, you’re connecting with a creation. And that’s so important that we as humans are connecting with the nature, with the native environments out there,” says McManus.

By: Damon Jones