Here’s What You Missed at Cultivate ’16

Time is a precious commodity. One of the benefits of Cultivate’s thoughtfully organized program is the way it maximizes opportunities to make all sorts of connections. Cultivate’16’s winning formula included …

Connecting with visionaries

Patrick Blanc

– “I think the biggest thing to highlight is the positive psychological effect vertical walls can have on those who look at them… a simple wall can become something poetic.” Patrick Blanc

The blue lights and night club vibe upon entering the ballroom in which living wall luminary Patrick Blanc was speaking gave a “heads up” that this was not going to be your standard hort conference keynote. The images of plants and wall installations at various stages of development were terrific, yet what was truly inspiring was the narrative that accompanied these pics.  Listening to Blanc, I reflected upon how one’s core values can inform the approach one takes to seemingly disparate tasks. As a botanist, Blanc’s passion, which has become his life’s work, is reconnecting people with nature through botanic art.

The obvious application of this – building living walls in intensely urban areas.

The subtle application of this – using a team of trained volunteers to collect plant specimens for propagation. This approach got local residents into the nearby woods over a 2 year period and looking at vegetation in a specific way. He could have conducted this specimen collection in a couple of ways, yet he chose a way that was consistent with his world view.

All memorable stuff that will influence me for a long time.


Connecting with expertise

- Joan Archibald from Old Town Fiberglass outside Kathy Fediw's full session.

– Joan Archibald from Old Town Fiberglass outside Kathy Fediw’s full session.

The quality of the speakers was top notch, the topics were timely, and the information sharing was generous. Kathy Fediw’s day long technical sessions were so popular the room was filled to capacity. Joe Zazzera’s session introduced interiorscapers to information about the WELL Building Standard. 36.2 million sq ft of business space are, or in the process of becoming certified. The Standard specifies the volume of potted plants, planter beds and planted walls required to meet certification and based on the 36.2 million sq ft, these properties represent $54.3 million in potential plant sales. All of this is great news for interiorscapers who partner with buildings in the process of becoming WELL certified.

Bento Box

– Jan Goodman’s biophilic bento box contains a thumb drive, live airplants, a mini moss wall, and plenty of branded visuals for her living walls, spring, and referrals programs.

Jan Goodman’s marketing tips and the products she shared, like her biophilic bento box were creative, affordable and easy for interiorscapers to adapt for their own use. She brought extras so several lucky folks brought these boxes back to the office to share with their teams.

Looking at the speakers listed above I note with awe that each of them is an active Green Plants for Green Buildings board member.  These already busy people are supporting GPGB’s plant advocacy campaigns with their time and talents.


Connecting with suppliers

With 9 companies, plus GPGB, exhibiting in the tradeshow there was plenty of time to talk to everyone, build rapport with suppliers, exchange information, and  learn what’s in the pipeline.  Booths were strategically placed outside classrooms which enhanced the integration of the interiorscaper and supplier communities and allowed for multiple “face time” opportunities between sessions.


Connecting with (and learning from) our history

This year Jan Goodman and Dr. Terril Nell were inducted into the Interior Plantscape Hall of Fame. For Dr. Nell especially, whose research profoundly influences the longevity of the plant materials we work with, this recognition is overdue.

How many of us knew this? By in large, we are busy running companies and are unaware of impact like this until we are told the story. The Hall of Fame program shines a light on those individuals’ contributions and informs us, encouraging us to shift our vision from what is immediate (payroll! cash flow!) to consider what has been accomplished and, importantly, how. The more informed we become of the past, the better we can chart the path to a sustainable future.

BONUS! The Hall of Fame program allows us to express our gratitude and stay connected with these individuals whose work has a significant impact on the industry as we know it today. AND it is followed by the International Plantscape Awards program. Worth the ticket!

Cultivate 17

Mary Golden is the owner of Golden Group. She works closely with Green Plants for Green Buildings (GPGB) and other organizations to keep them vitally connected to their community, mission and vision.

Fiberglass Planters

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