Author: julie

As our members struggle to determine how to best keep employees safe and businesses going during the pandemic, reliable resources and guidelines can be hard to find. Useful resources may be found here:

AmericanHort

National Association of Landscape Professionals

United States Department of Labor

Nursery and Garden Center Guidelines

WVNLA worked with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture to advocate for the inclusion of growers, landscapers and garden centers in the list of “essential” businesses as a growing number of states closed businesses deemed “non-essential.”

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt and a representative of Governor Jim Justice’s office both confirmed that lawn and landscape maintenance and garden centers fall in the “essential” business category under the Governor’s COVID19 executive order and may continue to operate. Strict safety policies should be enforced, including hand and equipment sanitizing, maintaining social distance of six feet and sanitizing any gates, door knobs, or latches that crews might touch on customer’s properties. Garden centers may offer curb-side pick up for cautious shoppers. 

Growers and sellers of vegetable and fruit plants and fruit and nut trees are obvious contributors to the food supply and must remain open. During this crisis, many Americans will see the wisdom of growing their own food, as the did with Victory Gardens during war times. They’ll purchase those plants at garden centers.

Landscapers are partners in public health and safety, maintaining lawns and green spaces with special treatments to reduce disease-carrying insects and pests. Crime rates increase in areas where green spaces are unkempt. Tree trimming and removal services prevent structural and service line damage.

And let’s not forget the spirit-lifting powers of a flourishing landscape. Good luck to all of you!

Gritt’s Midway Greenhouse supplies multitudes of churches with their potted Easter lilies and flowering bulbs. So what happens when COVID-19 forces the closure of churches, who then cancel their Easter flower orders? Undaunted, Gritt’s owners found a grateful recipients for these springtime beauties. Kudos to Gritt’s for bringing cheer to nursing home residents who aren’t allowed visitors during the virus outbreak. Read the details here.

UPDATE: MARCH 24

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt and a representative of Governor Jim Justice both confirmed that lawn and landscape maintenance and garden centers fall in the “essential” business category under the Governor’s COVID19 executive order and may continue to operate. He urged that strict safety policies be enforced, including hand and equipment sanitizing, maintaining social distance of six feet and sanitizing any gates, door knobs, or latches that crews might touch on customer’s properties. Garden centers might consider offer curb-side pick up for cautious customers. He is not aware of plans to institute enforcement measures. 

More detailed information on safety for our industry can be found at:

AmericanHort

National Association of Landscape Professionals

United States Department of Labor

 

MARCH 23 — Today West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice issued a “Stay Home” order, closing all “non-essential” businesses, effective Tuesday, March 24 at 8 p.m. WVNLA advocated with the governor’s office to secure a listing of “essential” for garden centers, lawn and landscape maintenance, growers and nurseries. 

The 15-page order does not specifically reference garden centers or landscapers. Lawn and landscape maintenance providers appear to be covered by Section l Critical Trades: “other service providers who provide service that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, essential activities and essential business and operations.”

West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt indicates that garden centers, especially those selling fruit and nut trees and vegetable and herb plants and seeds, are covered under Section C “Agriculture.”

West Virginia landscapers, growers, and garden centers are working to decide how to best keep employees and customers safe and businesses going during the pandemic. Businesses that continue to operate should diligently observe safety guidelines, such as those found here. Garden centers that remain open might want to consider curb-side pick up for customers. 

We wish everyone the best in these trying times. Contact Julie Robinson at 304-553-1234 or with any suggestions or questions.

 

WVNLA welcomes the following new members:

Bible Center Church

Associate member

Steven Corbin

100 Bible Center Drive

Charleston, WV 25309

304-543-7991

Landscape and lawn maintenance

 

City of Morgantown Urban Landscapes

Associate member

Marchetta Maupin

389 Spruce Street

Morgantown, WV 26505

morgantownwv.gov

304-284-7422

Municipal public garden.

 

HighLine Nurseries & Landscaping

Active

Brent Mitchell

166 Glade Street

Shady Spring, WV 25918

304-578-7400

Landscape and lawn maintenance, retail garden

center, wholesale nursery

 

Kotalic Landscaping

Active member

George Kotalic

2828 N. Staunton Road

Huntington, WV 25902

304-522-7279                       

Landscape architecture or design, landscape construction and maintenance, nursery, nursery supplies, perennials, and wholesale nursery

 

Patriot Gardens—Jobs & Hope

WV National Guard

Chris Postalwait

810 Kanawha Terrace

St. Albans, WV 25177

304-437-4226

Educator

 

Rich Farms Inc.

Associate member

Mark Rich

2043 Springhill Furnace Road

Smithfield, PA 15478

724-564-9792

richfarms.com

Wholesale nursery

 

RiverSide Lawncare, Inc.

Active member

Daniel Gonzales

P.O. Box 676

Bradley, WV 25818

riversidelawncarebeckley.com

Landscape designer, landscape construction, landscape and lawn maintenance, hardscape design and installation, landscape lighting 

 

U.S. Lawns of Winchester

Active member

Austin Elliott

11232 Winchester Ave.

Bunker Hill, WV 25413

540-877-8883

uslawns.com/locations/va/winchester

Landscape and lawn maintenance

 

WVU

Affiliate member

Andrea Landis

1201 Evansdale Road

Morgantown, WV 26506

304-293-4480

Greenhouse manager

Rennix Scholarship Winner is Grounded in Experience

Described by his professor as a “credit to our landscape architecture program,” Tyler Bailey adds the honor of being named 2020 WVNLA scholarship winner to his credentials. Tyler is a native of Poca working toward his bachelor of science degree in landscape architecture at West Virginia University. He was selected as the 2020 Marcus W. Rennix Scholar based on his impressive work background, professor recommendation, and academic record.

Although Tyler began his college career as a civil engineering major, his experiences working summers for his father, Terry Bailey, who owns a landscape business, L&T Property Solutions in St. Albans, drew him to a landscape architecture major.

“I am excited and dedicated to being able to incorporate sustainable designs and seeing my designs come to life in the field. I think it is extremely awesome to plan a design and watch it come to life. This is the main reason I chose the landscape architecture profession to pursue my career dreams,” Tyler said.

Early on, while working for his father, Tyler learned hands-on how to bid, design, plan, schedule, and build projects in the field. He recalls learning to drive a dump truck when he was 14 years old. Later, as a project manager, he learned to take a project from start to finish. The projects included retaining wall and patio construction, sod installation, and lawn irrigation system installation. He operated skidsteers and excavators, and learned estimating and training techniques.

 “Being able to acquire hands-on field experience has provided helpful knowledge that directly relates to my landscape architecture career while studying at WVU. I credit my father with providing me the proper opportunities and experience that directly resulted in being able to decide on my career path,” Tyler said.

Tyler says the guidance of both his father and his mother, Lisa Bailey, has played a key role in shaping him and the career he’s chosen. He watched the example set by his father, who started L&T Property Solutions when Tyler was very young.

Tyler’s classroom demeanor, leadership, performance, and work ethic impressed Assistant Professor Vaike Haas, who has instructed him in three courses. In his classroom and on projects, Vaike has observed Tyler exploring creative solutions and incorporating feedback from peers and instructors.

“He’s not afraid to take a chance or to learn from constructive criticism, and he is always willing to refine a concept to a finished design—markings of a strong designer in the making,” Vaike wrote in his recommendation for Tyler.

After graduation, Tyler hopes to find a position that will lead to a project manager job or perhaps toward starting his own firm as a licensed landscape architect in West Virginia.

“Being born and raised in West Virginia, I believe there are many opportunities to incorporate design elements and enhance a variety of locations across the state,” he said.

We wish Tyler well and congratulate him on being named the 2020 Marcus W. Rennix Scholar.

 

New Date, New Activities at the Winter Symposium

We had a great turn-out for the 2020 Winter Symposium on February 12 in Charleston! In addition to an exciting line-up of outstanding speakers, we rolled out a new feature: vendor tables staffed by knowledgeable professionals during the lunch hour.   Attendees took advantage of this time to gather information, share ideas, and talk with suppliers.

View the schedule HERE.

On the design side, Scott Beuerlein, who manages Botanical Garden Outreach at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, kicked off the day with “Woodies That Make Us Go ‘Wow!’” Scott is a garden writer and horticultural speaker whose articles have appeared in notable national publications. He was awarded gold medals by the International Association of Garden Communicators and is a certified landscape technician and arborist in Ohio.

Tom Vasale followed with a presentation on “Specialty Pruning.” Tom is a retired horticulturist residing in Charleston. He owned and operated Tom’s Word Horticulture Consulting, a small design-build landscaping business, for 23 years before retiring. Prior to that, he was the director of Municipal Beautification for the City of Charleston, the agriculture extension agent for West Virginia University in Kanawha County, and the state horticulturist for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

Michael Hasenmyer of West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design showed how to put technology to work for your designs when he discussed “Visualization Technologies in the Field of Landscape Architecture.” Michael is an associate professor of landscape architecture who teaches his students how to most effectively use computer technology in their designs.

After lunch and a chance to connect with colleagues and vendors, design-side attendees heard again from Scott Beuerlein again when he presented “Why Horticulture Matters.”

Irvin Etienne of The Garden at Newfields in Indianapolis closed the day’s talks, speaking on “Gardening without Privacy.” He discussed his work in a public garden, where mistakes are not easily hidden in well-trafficked areas. In his designs, he relies on attractive, no-fuss perennials that look good in multiple seasons. Irvin is the horticulture display coordinator for the Garden at Newfields, where he has worked for more than 25 years. He writes an award-winning blog for GardenComm, as well as articles for Fine Gardening and other magazines.

Speakers in the profit track focused on employee recruitment and retention, issues surrounding glysophate, workers’ compensation, and branding and marketing. The track finished with an idea swap.

Daniele Collinson of Blades of Green Lawn Care and B.O.G. Pest Control in Edgewater, MD, cued up the day with “Recruiting and Retaining in a Digital Age.” Daniele is a division manager for the company and manages the Pest and Plant Health Care departments. She questions things that “have always been done that way” in her quest to advance the company. A passionate leader, she urges people on her team to learn new things and grow themselves.

Dr. Hannah Mathers has more than 26 years of experience, including training and research, in weed control for landscape and nursery crops. She put that knowledge to the test when she took on “The Great Glysophate Debate,” exploring the science behind claims that the active ingredient in RoundUp causes cancer. Previously a professor at Ohio State University and Oregon State University, she owns Mathers Environmental Science Services LLC in Gahanna, OH.

Clarence Lykins of Partners & Associates Insurance in Huntington, WV, helped attendees wade through the sometimes murky waters of workers’ compensation with “Understanding Workers’ Comp.” In addition to business insurance, Partners & Associates offers life, homeowners, and auto coverage.

John Auge of Auge+Gray+Drake Collective Works in Charleston is all about marketing. He got attendees excited about it, too, when he showed them the importance of branding and how it helps businesses grow. In “Putting Branding to Work for Your Company,” he’ll show you how to differentiate your company from the competition. A company cofounder, John has more than 25 years of experience in branding and identity and corporate communications.

After John’s presentation, the profit track concluded with an idea swap, led by WVNLA president Dave Hill and board member Lisa McDavid.

The WVNLA Annual Meeting followed the symposium, starting at 4 p.m.

 

Registration is open for a Pesticide Applicators Recertification Course on February 13 at Embassy Suites in Charleston, WV. The course is sponsored by WVNLA in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Twelve (12) CEU credits will be issued for categories 3, 4A, 4B, 7, 11 and 13C. Cost to attend is $50 for non-WVNLA members and free for WVNLA members. For more information, click here.

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED. COURSE IS FULL.

 

The next Certified Professional Horticulturist exam will be given in July at a location and date to be announced. The exam includes 100 multiple choice questions that cover material presented in the CPH study manual and 25 plants to be identified. Study guides are available for $60 for members and $100 for nonmembers.

To register to take the exam and/or order a study manual, complete an exam application here:

Register for this Event

Please note the education and experience requirements found at the bottom of the application.

 

West Virginia University students Brent Mitchell of Shady Spring and Nicholas Oxendale of Oak Hill have been selected as the 2019 WVNLA Marcus W. Rennix Memorial Scholarship recipients. Both are landscape architecture majors.

Brent, who plans to minor in horticulture, has owned and operated his own landscaping company, HighLine Landscaping, for three years. He began the company while attending Concord University and Bridgemont Community and Technical College, where he  knocked out some of his early semesters of course work. His experience with his landscaping business, which has grown each year, led him to a green industry career path.

“My decision to become a landscape architect was based upon my business. I hope to one day run my company as efficiently as possible with all the knowledge that I will gain in this program. Landscape architects focus on aesthetically pleasing areas in the field and that is exactly what I strive to do,” Brent said in his application.

Landscape Architecture Assistant Professor Elisabeth Orr, who has instructed Brent in several courses, recommended him for the scholarship. “I am certain he will continue to excel in our program, and I expect him to be an accomplished professional in the field after he graduates,” she said.

A junior, Nicholas Oxendale manages to hold down four jobs in addition to his course work. When he’s not in class, he works occasionally for a landscaper and is also a personal trainer, group fitness class instructor, and AutoCad instructor.

Nicholas particularly enjoys landscape architect classes that take students on-site for projects. “Our natural terrain is a thing of wonder, but it can be fragile. Development must recognize this and adapt projects to be compatible with it. I would hope to use in my professional career as a landscape architect the principals of adapting economic and development projects to the terrain to enhance both human life and the environment,” he wrote in his application.

Associate Professor Peter Butler wrote a glowing recommendation for Nicholas, whom he has known for the three years Nicholas has been a WVU student.

“Nick is a highly motivated student who strives to find creative and thoughtful solutions to complex design problems.… His communication skills are excellent. He has a strong interest in plant materials and their application to improving aesthetics, quality of life, and spatial definition in our contemporary environments,” wrote Peter.

Both Brent and Nicholas met all the requirements of the scholarship. We wish them the best as they pursue careers in the green industry.

Program is first of its kind in West Virginia

Any professional association worth its salt not only educates and advocates for its industry, but also works for the industry’s future. A crucial component of the nursery and landscape’s future is encouraging young people to embrace industry careers.

WVNLA and the secondary school system in West Virginia took a big step in that direction on November 13 when education officials presented documents to companies whose owners agreed to participate in a newly launched apprenticeship program at Carver Career and Technical Center in Malden. The program is the first partnership with a career and technical center in West Virginia.

The signing ceremony, in which Cary Levenson of Valley Gardens in Charleston and representatives of Terra Care in Malden and Lisa’s Gardenscapes in Cross Lanes agreed to take on student apprentices, was the result of efforts between staff members at Carver Career and Technical Center and the U.S. Department of Labor to launch a pilot apprentice program at the school.

“This is an exciting day for us all. This apprenticeship is ground-breaking in the state, and perhaps even at a national level,” said Jim Foti, regional director for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Dr. Kathy D’Antoni, who is an assistant superintendent of the state Department of Education, enthused about the partnership between schools and employers, while she also shined a light on the students attending the ceremony. After the ceremony, several plant science students introduced themselves to the landscaping company representatives and talked about their plans.

WVNLA’s involvement with the program began when executive director Julie Robinson attended an apprenticeship seminar last year.  She had the good fortune to sit beside Karen Wade of the DOL and asked about apprentice programs in the green industry. Karen said a landscape technician track was available. Karen worked with instructors and administrators at Carver to meet DOL program requirements.

Lisa McDavid of Lisa’s Gardenscapes and Julie met with the plant science instructor Sandy Lynch and Karen to discuss the landscape technician apprenticeship. When asked about sponsoring an apprentice, Cary Levenson and Kevin Arnold of Terra Care readily agreed to work with one. Lisa was already onboard for this pilot program.

The apprentice process is an age-old and time proven method to provide motivated students with the tools, experience and expertise needed to give them a solid start in their chosen careers. Employers have the opportunity to match potential employees with a mentor to guide them along the way.  Carver students will be ready to go to work part-time in the spring 2019 semester on the terms arranged by their employers.

As an industry, we are grateful to Carver for launching the apprenticeship program to provide opportunity that benefits both the apprentice and the employer.