After COVID forced the cancellation of WVNLA’s annual conference earlier this year, we are coming back with a bang, with an explosive Winter Symposium on January 26, 2022.
Marty Grunder and Rick Darke will headline the 2022 symposium at Charleston’s Four Points at Sheraton. Marty is a leading voice on green industry leadership, sales, and company culture. He will lead profit-track participants throughout the day. Rick is a broadly knowledgeable field botanist, horticulturist, and photographer. He will present the morning session of the design track. In the afternoon, Carol Reese of the University of Tennessee, will present a thought-provoking session on “Native Plants: Facts and Fallacies,” as well as a fascinating talk on “Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Stories.” Find out how the plants you see every day may have influenced our very history.
Through the years, various WVNLA members have heard Marty speak and suggested that we bring him to the Winter Symposium. He was scheduled to join us this year but rescheduled to 2022 when COVID made indoor gatherings dicey.
Marty, who is based in Dayton, Ohio, is president and CEO of Grunder Landscaping Company and of The Grow Group, a leading green industry consultancy. He discovered his entrepreneurial spirit when he was just a teenager pushing a used lawn mower. He was looking for a way to put himself through college. Through determination and hard work, he grew his initial $25 investment into Grunder Landscaping Company (GLC), one of the most successful operations of its kind in the Midwest. GLC has earned more than 40 local and national design awards and is a two-time winner of the Better Business Bureau’s Eclipse Integrity Award. Marty has been named entrepreneur of the year by both Ernst & Young and the US Small Business Administration.
The author of The 9 Super Simple Steps to Entrepreneurial Success, he has coached thousands of landscaping professionals and companies across the US and Canada. He has delivered more than 550 talks, motivating audiences of all sizes, from small gatherings of 20 to a stadium of 9,000, to achieve success.
When Marty speaks, landscape pros listen because they know they’ll get the unvarnished truth from someone who’s faced many of the same challenges they’re facing and found a way to consistently come out on top.
Marty’s presentations include
Rick Darke is an independent consultant, author, and photographer based in northeastern Pennsylvania. His work is grounded in an observational ethic that blends ecology, horticulture, and cultural geography in the design and stewardship of living landscapes. His collaborative projects include parks, botanic gardens, postindustrial sites, transportation corridors, conservation developments, and residential landscapes. Recent public projects include the Iron Garden at Carrie Blast Furnaces National Historic Landmark, located near Pittsburgh, and the Moss Gibbs Woodland Garden at the Parklands of Floyds Fork in Louisville, Kentucky.
Rick began as a mechanical engineering major at the University of Delaware. He also took classes in art, cultural geography, and anthropology before graduating with a degree in plant science, with a dual focus on field botany and horticulture. Rick launched his independent practice in 1997, following 20 years on the staff of Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens. As curator of plants at Longwood, he played a major role in developing the gardens’ indoor and outdoor displays and in international plant exploration.
Rick’s many books include The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest; The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes; The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition; The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, co-authored with Doug Tallamy; and Gardens of the High Line: Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes, co-authored with Piet Oudolf. He also teaches and lectures internationally on sustainable landscape design, planning, and conservation, and the ethical underpinnings of all of these. On the broad topic of livable landscapes, Rick has addressed audiences in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile.
Rick has been studying and photographing West Virginia’s wild habitats and community places for nearly 50 years. He uses insights from this work to inform and inspire his creative projects in public and private landscapes and gardens. Rick’s own garden, created with his wife and cohorticulturist Melinda Zoehrer, comprises 1.5 acres of rolling, piedmont terraine adjacent to the White Clay Creek Preserve. It features locally native and adapted plants. The garden has served as their living laboratory for more than a quarter century. For further information, visit rickdarke.com.
In his segment on drawing inspiration from West Virginia’s wild and wonderful places, Rick will feature many photographs of West Virginia flora. After a break, he will deliver a design lecture on the gardens he and his wife nurture. A tech-savvy speaker, Rick can access anything from his own archives and online during his presentation to address audience members’ specific questions.
Registration for the Winter Symposium will open in November. The fee for WVNLA members is $50. Non-member fee is $100.
WVNLA will offer a Pesticide Applicators Recertification session on January 27 at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Charleston. Attendees will earn 10 education credits through the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, applicable to categories 3, 4A, 4B, 7, 11 and 13C pesticide applicator licenses. WVNLA members attend at no cost. Non-members fee is $50.Register for this Event
The next Certified Professional Horticulturist exam will be given on January 27 at 4 p.m. at Four Points by Sheraton in Charleston, WV. 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.
WVNLA’s board of directors has selected two recipients for the 2021 Marcus W. Rennix Memorial Scholarship. Sarah Naegele and Jacob Riggleman are both students at West Virginia University.
Sarah Naegele is a senior studying landscape architecture at West Virginia University. She grew up in Charleston, where she graduated from Capital High School. Her path to landscape architecture was initially sparked by a love of art.
“When I came to West Virginia University, I was undecided but had been leaning toward art or landscape architecture for my major,” Sarah explained.“I had taken art classes all four years of high school and already knew what to expect, but I had no clue what landscaping would require.
So I decided to take one of the basic classes, History of Landscape Architecture, and absolutely loved the idea of the job. It was amazing to think that my creativity could be reflected and produced into the landscape for people to enjoy.”
Summer employment with TerraCare in Charleston helped Sarah understand the type of work a licensed landscaper does. She used her auto-CAD skills for design, furthered her knowledge of plant materials, and installed beds. Her projects ranged from basic residential jobs to the elaborate flowerbeds on the State Capitol campus.
“It helped me realize that my job will have me outside as much as inside,” she said.
In her recommendation letter, Sarah’s landscape architecture advisor, Lisa Orr, spoke highly of her academic performance, as well as her potential.
“Sarah was a talented designer even at an early stage in her academic career,” Lisa said. “I expect her to be an accomplished professional in the field after she graduates.”
The news that she was a scholarship recipient surprised Sarah.
“When I received the email letting me know that I had received the Marcus W. Rennix Memorial Scholarship, I was very shocked. I do not think it quite set in until I received the letter a few days later. I did not stop smiling the whole day, it was such an honor,” she said.
After her graduation in May, Sarah hopes to return to TerraCare. An avid hiker, she hopes to one day design trails for state or national parks.
“I would love to come back to West Virginia and be able to design something new and unique, to leave my own mark on these beautiful mountains,” she said.
Jacob Riggleman is a junior studying horticulture at West Virginia University. He grew up in Buckhannon, where he enjoyed working in vegetable gardens at an early age. When he was 16, he started his own lawn care and landscape business in his hometown.
After Jacob graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School in 2018, he decided to further his education in horticulture. He attended WVU Potomac State College in Keyser, where he earned an associate’s degree in horticulture in the spring of 2020. The following semester, he enrolled at WVU in Morgantown, where he is on track to earn a bachelor’s degree in horticulture in 2022.
“I was very excited about this program, as it is what I am very passionate about,” he said.
Jacob’s advisor and instructor at Potomac State, Donna Coffindaffer, said that he is not only an excellent and devoted student, but that he also seeks experiences outside the classroom to further his education.
“He worked with our sustainable agriculture coordinator, Corey Armstrong, and our farm supervisor, Andy Walker, to gain hands-on knowledge of greenhouse work, high-tunnel production, maple syrup production, and general farm tasks,” Donna said. “These have enhanced his education with practical knowledge that will serve him well in any future work. The work ethic that Jacob brings to each task is far beyond the normal college student.”
Today, Jacob mows some 15 yards and usually completes at least one landscape job a week. During the school year, he travels from Morgantown on weekends and some evenings to meet his customers’ needs. After graduation, he plans to grow his business and hire employees. He hopes to start a greenhouse for growing bedding and vegetable plants, and for propagating fruit trees.
“I would like to thank the West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association for this scholarship. I intend to dedicate my future to making our world more aesthetically pleasing and more sustainable,” Jacob said.
WVNLA welcomes the following new members:
Hadley’s Lawn Care
84 Plummer Drive
Leon, WV 25123
Fertilization and weed control.
Harmon Vegetation Management
2187 Middle Fork Drive
Charleston, WV 25314
Landscape and vegetation management.
Perfect Lawn & Landscape
P.O. Box 503
Crab Orchard, WV 25827
Landscape design and construction, lawn and landscape maintenance, hardscape design and installation, lighting and irrigation.
P.O. Box 2723
Buckhannon, WV 26201
Sky Outdoor Living
5165 Big Tyler Road
Charleston, WV 25313
Tri-State Lawn & Landscape Pros
4029 Piedmont Road
Huntington, WV 25704
Hardscape design and installation, landscape design and construction, lawn and landscape maintenance.
Generally, employers may require that all employees take this vaccine due to the risk of contagion to other employees, customers, and other third parties. If an employee cannot take a vaccine due to bona fide medical or religious reasons, the employer has the right to require substantiation of those reasons and should then consider if other accommodations may be available.
Companies are encouraged to talk with employees and share the facts about COVID-19 vaccines to help dispel some of the myths and misinformation.
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!
Wonderful West Virginia magazine featured an article in the January issue on WVDA’s ban of barberry as a landscape plant. Author MiKenna Pierotti covered the subject with information supplied by WVNLA and others. Read the article on the links below.
In a perhaps unsurprising move during these strange times, WVNLA’s board of directors decided to postpone the 2021 Winter Symposium, scheduled for February 9, to a later date. Concern about limited attendance due to COVID-19 prompted the decision. Keynote speaker Marty Grunder has agreed to reschedule his presentation to a time when in-person events are comfortable and safe for all. The new date will be determined as conditions improve.
The Pesticide Applicators Recertification education session and Certified Professional Horticulturist exam both remain on our schedule for February 10 at Embassy Suites in Charleston. Because so many WVNLA members depend on the biannual course to meet the state’s pesticide applicator continuing education requirements, the course will still be provided. Space will be limited, due to social distance requirements, and masks will be required in the common areas of the hotel.
Registration is open.Register for this Event
To register for the Certified Professional Horticulturist exam, visit wvnla.org, call 304-553-1234 or email .
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:
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.
You’ll send your trees and shrubs off to a healthy new home when you include how-to planting instructions for customers. Download and print (front and back) the How to Plant Trees guide. Cut into thirds for a helpful hand-out.