It's garden show season again.
As February and March temperatures see-saw between chilly and nice, garden shows around the state remind us that the growing season is just around the corner. Got the urge to go out and plant something or maybe get that one big yard project finally done this year?
Dig out your list of current landscape problems and potential projects, and take it with you. At the show, you can practice the steps to finding a professional who can help you. You might leave the show with some smart and sustainable solutions.
Everything we do, wear or say makes a statement about us, and it's the same with garden show exhibits.
• Does the exhibitor make it clear on signs or materials that the firm is involved in a green industry association, such as the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado?
• Does the company have landscape industry-certified technicians on its team?
• Does the display, even if it's very simple, say "quality matters?"
You won't get a one-hour free consult at a garden show display, but you can still get quick advice on a problem.
• Look for pros who say more than, "Oh, yeah, we do that." Even in a short chat, you might get useful advice about the complexity of your problem or one small tip that confirms you're headed in the right direction.
• Look for clues that indicate the "expert" really is one. Pay special attention to the pros who answer your question with another question. If they need to know more about your problem to give good advice, then they're probably worth listening to. And if they say "I don't know," that could indicate integrity more than stupidity.
With most of the state in a serious drought and water restrictions pending, what are exhibitors saying about water conservation?
• Do they know about possible rebates from the city for sprinkler upgrades?
• Are they showing off cool technology that saves water?
• Do their signs and materials mention Xeriscape, water conservation or sustainable landscape practices?
• Do they showcase low-water plants in their displays?
These are a few things to keep in mind as you stroll through the displays at the garden and home shows. Enjoy your brief brush with spring, and be inspired for the season ahead!
Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.