My first GWA Regional Meeting at New England Grows

Fornari NE Grows.jpg

By Jan Johnsen

On Friday, December 2, we held the Region I GWA meeting in the Boston Convention Center during the landscape show, New England Grows. This year NEG event coordinators changed the date from their normal February time slot to the beginning of December. They did this to get around the snow problems encountered during the last few shows. This also made sense for the heavy equipment sellers since their customers in the past had been out snow plowing and could not get in to see the new plows, mowers, and excavators on display.

johnsen-new-england-growsHowever the date change to early December did not make sense for the landscapers, designers, and garden center workers who were all at the height of their Christmas decoration craziness! Many of those landscape professionals simply could not get away at this busy and lucrative time of year to go to an industry show in Boston. As a result the show floor was stocked with heavy equipment but other categories appeared to be under-represented this year.

The unusual timing of the show was also reflected in a smaller member turnout for our Johnsen Monica Hemingway.jpgGWA meeting. This was a shame since we had a fabulous speaker, Monica Hemingway of ITG Multimedia. She opened our eyes to the oh-so-important world of websites, email marketing, social media, and so much more. It was one of the best talks I have attended in a very long time. I urge you to attend any talk Monica gives.

The other noteworthy aspect of our meeting was the wonderful variety of donated garden products members received. My fellow Region I GWA Director Carmen DeVito did an amazing job of getting sponsors for the meeting. We had an impressive selection of wonderful Timber Press books to raffle off. I also raffled off three issues of Garden Design Magazine. One of our meeting sponsors, Sandy Parco of Neptune’s Harvest, gave a short talk about organic fertilizers and gave us Johnsen Crab Shell.jpgeach free bottles of two of his products. Sandy’s talk was very enlightening. Being a soil nerd, I wanted to know more about his new crab shell product. What great benefits we enjoy at these meetings!

This was my first GWA Region I meeting. I was running it along with our new Region I National Director, C. L. Fornari. She guided me through the set up – who knew that ordering coffee, tea, and cookies could be so complicated? I think the best bit of advice I can give is to bring a small rolling carry-on bag to transport items like books from the hotel to the meeting room. I packed it with the goodies to give out to everyone and rolled it over. Easy peasy!

I really enjoyed meeting the GWA members that came and look forward to hosting other meetings. I am talking to Roger Marshall about having one in Rhode Island…any other ideas out there for Region I? If so, feel free to contact me at


Meet the Author

jan-johnsenJan Johnsen is a longtime landscape designer and author of Heaven is a Garden who loves to share her passion for gardens and the natural world. Her blog is ‘Serenity in the Garden’ and her FB page is Serenity in the Garden blog (among others). Her upcoming book is The Spirit of Stone, published by St. Lynn’s Press (February, 2017). Her firm’s website is at


Author: GardenComm

GardenComm, formerly known as GWA: the Association for Garden Communicators, provides leadership and opportunities for education, recognition, career development and a forum for diverse interactions for professionals in the field of gardening communication. GardenComm members includes book authors, bloggers, staff editors, syndicated columnists, free-lance writers, photographers, speakers, landscape designers, television and radio personalities, consultants, publishers, extension service agents and more. No other organization in the industry has as much contact with the buying public as GardenComm members.

3 thoughts on “My first GWA Regional Meeting at New England Grows”

  1. One of the best talks I have attended in a very long time was given by Monica Hemingway of ITG Multimedia. She opened our eyes to the oh-so-important world of websites, email marketing, social media, and so much more. You really should attend any talk Monica gives – she’s awesome!


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