About this time last summer, I was preparing for one of my various garden-related trips that I take during the year. This particular trip was to a part of northeast Ohio that I've visited a few times before, but it had been awhile and the focus was a little different on previous trips. I'd been invited by Maria Zampini to attend NGLCO's Field Day, held on August 13th at Holden Arboretum.
Field Day is a horticultural trade show held each year by the Nursery Growers of Lake County, Ohio, to showcase the numerous businesses concentrated in that part of Ohio. Lake County is unique in that its location affords it the kind of growing conditions that a wide variety of plants like. There are several types of soil and its proximity to Lake Erie helps moderate the climate.
Because of this, Lake County has a long and rich heritage of nursery growers, with over 100 licensed growers concentrated along a 15- to 20-mile stretch, south and east of the lake. Historically, this area has been important to the horticulture industry as a whole and many new plant introductions have come out of Lake County.
Part of the festivities associated with Field Day is a bus tour on the day prior, visiting local wholesale and retail businesses. I went up a day early so that I could go on the tour, because what could be better than being chauffeured around from nursery to nursery all day? We visited:
- Art Form Nurseries - a 30-acre wholesale nursery facility specializing in perennials and herbs.
- Breezewood Gardens and Gifts - I'd been to Breezewood before, a few years back, and it was just as wonderful as I remembered it. Not only is it a full-service garden center, they've got one of the best gift shops I've ever seen. They carry unique garden items, as well as clothing, books, jewelry, and other gifts.
- Petitti Garden Center - A visit to Petitti's is always a treat (I've been there several times), and I've never gone out the door without buying a plant or five. This time was no exception. This is quite a large family-owned business in the Cleveland area, with nine locations and this time we visited the largest one, in Avon. I've been to three different ones and of those three, this is my favorite, probably because it's the largest and has more to offer. Besides a large variety of plants, trees, and shrubs, there's outdoor furniture, garden tools, and a large gift shop with decor items, among other things.
|Angelo Petitti (on the right), shown here with Joe Zampini, treated us to a delicious lunch.|
|Gardeners aren't the only ones who enjoy the flowers at Petitti's!|
- Lowe's Greenhouses, Florist, & Gift Shop - No, this isn't that Lowe's. This is a real garden center, begun by the Lowe family in 1926. They specialize in out of the ordinary plants and they've got a fun gift shop too. I've bought many a plant here before, but didn't leave with one this time. Instead, I found an awesome blouse that I was assured did not make my butt look big, so I bought it. (True story, but just checking to see if you're following along!)
- Bremec Greenhouses & Nursery - This one was new to me and was the one that finally made me break down and buy some plants. Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Burgundy Bunny' and Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' were just two that rode in the bottom of the bus as we pulled away. What really impressed me here, in addition to the varieties of healthy plants, were the pottery and fountain selections.
At the end of the day, we enjoyed a nice dinner while a business meeting was conducted, then I went back home with Maria, and stayed in her aunt's lovely condo overlooking Lake Erie. The next day - officially "Field Day" - was busy, visiting vendors and touring the new Rhododendron gardens at Holden Arboretum (more on this in another blog post), as well as the established areas.
What a lovely place to have this event! I also managed to get a quick tour of nearby Lake Metroparks Farm Park, which is a great family destination that I wasn't previously aware even existed. I'll share photos from that visit in another post as well.
|Lake County Nursery / UpShoot! feat. Joe Zampini|
|I got a taste of some dried goji berries at the Proven Winners booth. I grew them last |
year (and this year too, as they are perennial plants) but I hadn't gotten any
ripe ones yet at the time. I like them better dried than fresh.
|Big, fun toys on display.|
I spent some time with Maria and her parents, Jim and Margaret Zampini, as well as Michael Geary, President and CEO of AmericanHort, the newly merged organization joining OFA and ANLA, who spoke at the previous night's dinner about the new merger and what it means for the horticulture industry.
|Me, Michael Geary, and Maria Zampini at Field Day 2013|
Be sure to read more about Maria and her family in my earlier blog post. They are major players in the both the past and present horticulture arena and I feel fortunate to know them. I learned a great deal during my time spent with them on their home turf and I continue to learn from Maria and enjoy her friendship.
This year's Field Day will be held at Herman Losely & Son Nursery, 3410 Shepard Road, Perry, OH, on Tuesday, August 12, 2014. For more information, see the NGLCO website.