PRESIDENT’S NOTES ARCHIVE
PRESIDENT’S NOTES ARCHIVE
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
As unbelievable as it is, it’s now officially fall. We still have a good couple of months to continue on and hopefully complete projects, but we’re getting to that time of year when anything can happen with the weather and the pressure is on even more to get things done before winter sets in.
It was a crazy summer again, way too busy and it went way too fast, but I appreciate that many of you took advantage of the Twilight Meetings that were held in June, July, and August. Jeff Toomey of Read’s Custom Soils gave a presentation at Gale Memorial Park in Exeter that was very well attended as was Mike Garrity’s tour in July of a spectacular garden in Dunbarton. Chris Maroun, owner of Miracle Farms in Moultonborough greeted NHLA members at one of their projects on Lake Winnipesaukee in Tuftonboro on August 30, and that was a great way to close out the Twilight Meeting season. This amazing 2 million dollar project, now close to completion, has been in progress for the last year and a half and included pool installation, construction of a cabana, physically moving an existing cabin from one spot to another, a new septic system, a beautiful dry laid granite retaining wall, paver driveway, gardens, and a Bocchi Ball court. Thank you to Chris and his crew for the delicious food they set out and for their generosity and openness to share information about the job and their business. Their easy going style allowed for lots of questions and the discussion could have gone on for a lot longer if it hadn’t started to get dark. This was truly what a Twilight Meeting is all about, as they all were: a chance to talk with peers, compare notes, and see some amazing work.
If any of you would like to host a Twilight Meeting or have an idea for a Twilight Meeting please contact our Education Committee Coordinator, Mike Barwell, at email@example.com
After many months of planning our first all day outdoor event was, from all accounts, quite successful. Our September 14 Field Day was a huge effort planned and put together by everyone on the Board as well as Pam and Jim Moreau, Mike Barwell, and Annette Zamarchi. Truly a team effort, and it showed.
Held at Shaker Village in Canterbury it was a beautiful day in a beautiful setting. Other than a couple of Pop-up tent casualties due to the wind, things went more or less according to plan and the classes and talks were well attended. Thank you to everyone who gave their time to give talks and demonstrations and of course thank you to all of our vendors who so generously and continuously give NHLA your support through sponsorship and purchasing booth space.
Now that our first attempt at an event like this has come and gone, we will take what we learned from it and will soon begin planning for next year and place it among our annual events. As it is one of our bigger events and takes a lot of planning we can certainly use more help with it. Ideas for talks, speakers, venue location, and feedback on what we got right and what we didn’t are always appreciated. If you can give some time and would be willing to volunteer to be on the Education Committee to help plan for the Field Day, Twilight Meetings, Dinner Meetings and the other educational opportunities we offer, then please contact Mike Barwell.
As we move forward with ideas for the opportunities mentioned above, we are discussing the idea of offering two tracks for learning., one geared toward the practical day-to-day for employees, foreman, and those in the field and one geared toward, owners, managers, and supervisors.
Again, let us know what topics you are interested in and what you would find useful to help make your businesses even more successful. In the mean time plan on attending our upcoming November 8 Dinner Meeting to be held at North Point Outdoors in Derry where the topic will be small engine repair. This hands-on discussion and demonstration will be led by North Point Outdoor Fleet manager Chris Baker, so don’t miss this practical and informative evening.
Well that’s about it for now. Good luck in the remaining few months of 2022. I hope you have a busy and successful fall season!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
It’s like living on the Sun! Okay, the person who really said that was exaggerating a bit, but August has been pretty hot and we’ve just gone through an extended period of 90 and above temperatures. It’s cooling down now though, and the humidity has started to fall. Of course we have these two or three weeks of hot and humid weather every year and that’s to be expected. But these periods are getting a little longer and a bit more frequent, also to be expected with the climate changing such as it is. It’s all taking a greater toll on work crews.
This time of the year is always a little tough. You’ve been running full speed since April and everyone is hot and tired, motivation is waning. You’re behind schedule, running too many jobs at once, can’t get materials, can’t get help and DOS just pulled you over for inspection for the third time this season. You just heard Molly Hatchet’s song “Flirtin’ with Disaster,” and it seems like a fitting theme song for your business at the moment, making you wonder why you thought this was a good career choice. These moments don’t last all that long though; you’ve probably had that thought at least once every year for the last 5 years or 35 years and yet here you still are because you really do love it.
So you take a deep breath, step back and take a look at what you and your crew have created: the patio with a fire pit, the work of art wall you just built (shout out to Bob Follansbee at Eastern Valley Landscaping – amazing stone work!), the gardens and outdoor spaces you’ve created and maintained, and you remember why you do this and why you love it.
August 2 was a welcome break from the crazy routine as we met at Candia Woods for our 9th annual Golf Tournament. This year’s tournament sold out fast and was our biggest one yet with 136 players. This is our biggest fund raiser and it helps to pay for our website updates, upgrades and fixes, the educational opportunities we provide, and other NHLA business expenses.
A huge thank you to Pam and Jim Moreau and the Golf Tournament Committee for making this such a great day and great annual event. Very big thanks to Millican Nurseries, The Yard at Pleasant View, Pierson Nursery, Read Custom Soils and Milton Cat for your sponsorships and support for this event and for your on-going support for NHLA. Of course it wouldn’t be the day that it was without all our NHLA members that took the day off from very busy schedules to play a round of golf and tried your hand at the putting contest and the air cannon. Thank you to Scott, Isiah, and Greg from Make a Difference for letting me play along with them, giving me pointers, and not giving me too much grief every time I barely got the ball off the tee.
Really looking forward to the upcoming Twilight Meeting to be hosted by Miracle Farms up in Tuftonboro. They’ve been working on this project on Lake Winnipesaukee for over a year, and it sounds pretty amazing and worth taking some time to come and see.
We are also closing in on the final details for our Field Day to be held at Shaker Village on September 14. This will be a full day of talks and demonstrations, food trucks and vendors showing their equipment and products. You can meet representatives from Greenius and NARFA and hear talks on soil testing, first aid on the Job, proper paver installation techniques, tips on irrigation, chain saw safety and small engine repair. Graham Pellettieri will be giving a Drone demonstration, Abby Zuidema will be on hand to discuss the benefits of becoming a NHCLP, and Andrew Mauch from Millican Nurseries will be discussing fall plants and planting. Quite a well rounded list of topics and speakers, so there’s something for everybody.
Registration for vendors starts at 7:30 and registration for attendees starts at 8:30. By now you have seen several emails containing proposed changes to our NHLA By-Laws and we will be voting on these changes the morning of the Field Day. It’s important that you read and understand the proposed changes and it’s very important that you vote. I believe we are voting at 9:00 am in the Garden Barn so please make it a point to attend that brief meeting.
We are also looking for volunteers to help throughout the day, so if you are a NHCLP looking for additional credits or you would just like to help out then please contact me, Pam Moreau, or Abby Zuidema.
Hope to see you there!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
I’m sitting on our porch in Canterbury, and it’s a perfect Sunday summer afternoon. Got a few hours of work in this morning, home by noon in time to get some chores done around the house, and still have time to sit with a beer and write these notes. They’re due today so no long-winded ramble from me this time.
I’d like to thank Jeff Toomey for hosting our first Twilight Meeting of the season at Gale Park in Exeter. It got rave reviews and everyone I talked to who attended enjoyed it very much.
By the time this edition of the Newsletter is out we will have had our second Twilight Meeting hosted by Michael Garrity, owner of Gardenworks, at a private residence in Dunbarton. Mike gave a tour of the extensive gardens and discussed the many challenges that caretaking this property faced. I’m thank you in advance Mike; I look forward to hearing how it went.
At this point I have to apologize to both Jeff and Mike for my absence at both meetings. I have always tried to make it to as many meetings and events as I can, but this year family matters on the west coast have kept me going back and forth, and the timing has been such that I’ve missed the first two. Things should settle down though, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the upcoming Golf Tournament (which will already have happened by the time you’re reading this).
In our industry, which is so weather dependent and has a relatively short window of time to cram in as much work as possible before winter, it can be difficult to find a balance between work and family, something I’m sure we have all struggled with. Family does and always should come first. That has not been an easy lesson for me to learn, but over the last several years I’ve begun to understand that better, and I certainly appreciate how much harder it is for those with kids and starting new families. So with that in mind I would like to first congratulate Scot Flewelling and his wife on the arrival of their baby girl, just a few weeks old now, and to thank Scot for 10 years of service to NHLA. Scot will be stepping down from the Board this fall to concentrate more on his new journey and new family, and rightly so. Scot has been on and contributed to just about every committee and has been a dedicated member of the Board — we really,really appreciate all you’ve done. Good luck and good wishes!
By the way, that appreciation extends to all our Board members, committee coordinators and committee members, especially those of you with newborns, small kids, and teenagers who put in so much time for the Association on top of work and everything else. Thank you for all you do!
You know, when I started out writing this I was going to talk about the H-2B program and my response from Congresswoman Kuster regarding my inquiry into HR 3897, our By-Laws which you have all received in your emails and should read, our up-coming Field Day and other NHLA business but today it ended up being a little bit about family, and there’s always next month to cover the other stuff. So I hope today, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, that the trucks are parked, the tools are put away, the phone is off for a little while, and that you’re at home, at the beach, the lake, the mountains, or where ever with friends and family.
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
We’re fully into summer now, and I hope everyone is having a good, successful season so far in spite of the astronomical fuel prices. We are all having to make adjustments in our pricing to account for the increases in fuel and materials, which means the estimates we gave last year and during the winter for work this year also need to be adjusted. So far, for me, as I’ve let clients know about price increases and changes to their estimates there has been very little push back beyond some quiet grumbling. Everyone is in the same boat at the moment, client and contractor alike, so there seems to be a tacit understanding of the situation. Surprisingly, with everything going on in the world and here at home economically, I’m still as crazy busy as last year and booking into next year. The phone is still ringing and no one has backed out of their projects yet. Not sure if that’s a sign of optimism or not, but I’ll take it for now.
By now you have all received a copy of the NHLA By-Laws (at least all voting members) with the proposed changes. I hope you will take some time to read through as we will be voting to accept the changes or not at the Field Day on September 14, and it’s important that you understand the changes we are proposing. If anyone has any questions you can certainly get in touch with me, and I will be happy to discuss it with you.
By the time this issue of the Newsletter is out we will have had our first Twilight Meeting of the season at Exeter’s Gale Park; there’s another one coming up this month in Dunbarton to be hosted by Mike Garrity of GardenWorks, and another in August to be hosted by Miracle Farms. We have our annual Golf Tournament, which I believe is already sold out, coming up in August, as well, and our Field Day event at Shaker Village is coming in September. Lots to do and as Certification credits for this year have been bumped back up to a requirement of four, these are good ways to receive some credits.
Recently the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Seasonal Employment Alliance hosted about 80 professionals in our field to go to Congress and lobby for and educate Congressional members on the importance of reforming and re-instating parts of the H-2B program.
This was in a recent NALP newsletter:
“H.R. 3897. The Returning Worker Exemption Act of 2021 would reenact the returning worker exemption that would exempt returning workers from counting against the 66,000-cap if the H-2B worker is a returning worker in any of the previous three fiscal years.
“It also puts in place provisions to modernize the application process, create additional worker protection measures, and strengthen integrity measures by increasing fines and possible disbarment for reckless and willful misconduct by H-2B employers.
“The landscape industry is the largest user of the H-2B program, and over the past few years a lack of H-2B workers has forced landscape companies to turn away customers, scale back services, and cancel capital equipment purchases.
“2022 research found that a drop in H-2B program admissions in a specific community did not boost labor market opportunities for U.S. workers but rather worsened them because opportunities for U.S. workers suffered without having enough H-2B workers to assist with seasonal/temporary labor needs.”
I have reached out to Congresswoman Annie Kuster to see where HR3897 stands and to find out what her position on this important bill is. I have invited her to speak to our Association on this issue so I’ll keep you posted when and if I hear back from her. In the meantime if you have been affected by this issue, as I know many of you have, then I urge you to get in touch with Congresswoman Kuster’s office and voice your opinion.
Well, that’s it for now. Have a great summer! l
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday I was 25 and walking down highway 10 just outside of a little town called Van Horn, Texas hitchhiking east or west, I don’t really remember. Now I’m about to turn 65 in a few days and I’m still getting daily reminders to sign up for Medicare!
I kind of miss that kid who could stand on the side of a road for hours and hours, patient, not too concerned if I got a ride or not. Now I lose my sh*t if the person in front of me at Dirt Doctors takes too long trying to decide what color mulch they should get!
I can’t complain though. I’ve had and have a great life, and it was hitchhiking that led me to what would become my home and career. Leaving Terre Haute, Indiana, heading west but not getting a ride, I walked across the highway and decided to head east and visit a high school friend who lived in Concord, and the rest is history. A chance meeting in the winter of 1979 with Rick Rideout, who was just starting Three Season Landscaping, led me to return to New Hampshire in 1980 and start working for him. Rick would become president of NHLA in 1995, and now here I am into my second year of my third time as president of the Association and starting my 35th year in business. Really happy I didn’t continue west that day!
Looks like we’re finally heading into some warm weather this week and by Thursday it could be in the 80s. I’m sure everyone is in full swing now with spring cleanups and projects, and I hope it’s going well in spite of the continued lack of help and supply shortages. The issues from last season seem to be continuing this year (maybe to a lesser degree?), so it will be interesting to see where we are by mid summer. I haven’t run into too many material availability problems yet as I pre-bought or at least had set aside what I need for several jobs; so we’ll see how long that lasts.
We have a lot going on this year as far as the NHLA Board and the Association in general is concerned. Now that we’re back to being able to have in-person events again, the Education Committee is putting together a full schedule of Twilight Meetings, starting with our first one at Gale Park in Exeter on June 15. From there we plan to have one each month, leading up to our Field Day event to be held at Canterbury Shaker Village on September 14, so keep an eye out for information on that. Of course we have our annual Golf Tournament coming up on August 2, which is always a good time. Beyond that we’re working on some Dinner Meeting topics to be announced and hope to start working on getting back to our annual January Winter Conference.
Among other things the Board has been working on this year to make this a better, stronger organization has been to review and propose some changes to the By-Laws. We’ve done this a few times over the years, the last time about five years ago.
Under Article 4 of the constitution you will see that we have proposed to change who is a member by adding the wording that a member shall be ‘ any entity, New England based company and all current employees of that company…’ This would allow employees to have access to the Newsletter ( we’re exploring digital options for the Newsletter but more about that another time) and information about educational opportunities, as well as other events that NHLA and others like UNHCE put on.
We’re also proposing under Article 1 in the By-Laws that ‘upon receipt of application and payment membership is obtained’ This does away with the rather cumbersome and time-consuming process of having the Board vote on each and every application. This also means that if someone fills out an application and pays at one of our events they are immediately a member.
Under Article 5 in the By-laws we have formalized the practice of allowing the Business manager to take over some of the duties of the Secretary/ Treasurer. These duties include, but are not limited to the general supervision of the financial affairs and keeping records and books of account on NHLA, prepare budgets, collect dues, and disburse funds. Other changes throughout the By-Laws have mostly to do with either adding or omitting wording. While none of the changes would be all that major it is very important that all members of NHLA take a look at the By-Laws and the changes we are proposing. Over the next two months you will find By-law and proposed changes in the Newsletter and on the website. Please take some time to read through and on September 14 at the Field day at Shaker Village there will be a vote to approve or not approve the proposed changes. Please vote!
If you haven’t seen it yet the NARFA (National Automotive Roads and Fuel Association) page is up on the website (nhlaonline.org). If you’re looking for a health insurance plan for your employees or for a way to attract and retain workers NARFA has many different types of insurance packages and benefit programs to offer. Check it out.
Also new on the website is the HELP page. The Horticultural Enhanced Learning Experience is a new program available to NHLA members as a way to find and hire new employees as well as a way to bring the next generation into the horticultural industry.
Another soon-to-be new addition to the website will be the Greenius page. Greenius offers a whole series of online training classes that covers a wide range of topics for employees, foremen and supervisors.
Representatives from NARFA and Greenius may be at the Field Day in September and both could be topics for future Dinner Meetings.
These are just some of the things that we have been working on and will continue to work on to bring you more value to being a member of NHLA. As always we look to you for ideas, suggestions and feedback, what are we getting right and what needs more work? Let us know.
Well that’s it for now. I turn 65 in a couple days, I think I’m going to go kick some kids off my lawn just for the hell of it!
Have a great Spring!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Well… this isn’t what I expected be doing on a beautiful Sunday morning while drinking my coffee, and I’m pretty sure it’s not what you all were expecting to be reading from the president in this May issue of the NHLA Newsletter, but here we are. Things change, things happen, and so I’ve been asked to stay on one more year as NHLA’s president, and here I am once again trying to think of something to write as the deadline looms.
The ballots had already gone out and voting had already taken place so there really wasn’t time to let members know that you’d be stuck with me again. In the end it appeared that work and family time constraints would prevent Ben from fulfilling the president’s duties, so he and I agreed that I would stay on as president and Ben would stay on as a director, and the board agreed.
I really can’t imagine that NHLA members would have an issue with this, other than being tired of reading President’s Notes from me, but if, for any reason, anyone feels as though this isn’t right, then by all means talk to me or anyone else on the Board about your concerns. And if there is anyone who really isn’t happy with these circumstances, then by all means join the Board, join a committee, and get involved.
As far as everything else I wrote in the last issue, except for the part where I said it was my last one, it’s all true and I stand by it 100%. We have some very dedicated people putting in a lot of time for the Association and I’m looking forward to working with everyone as we begin implementing some of the ideas that the Board and the various committees have been working on. It’s going to be a very busy season in every way. We have a full schedule of Twilight Meetings, the Golf Tournament, Dinner Meetings and workshops planned right through the year, so keep an eye out for information and make some time to attend! Have a great start to the season!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
The weather whiplash continues! It’s Superbowl Sunday, out fixing and tightening up sap lines and getting ready to start tapping trees next weekend. Yesterday it was a beautiful 58 degrees as I tromped through the woods looking for breaks and chew marks in the lines, and today, this morning, it was 19 degrees!
The mild weather at the early part of the winter helped me keep going on some stone projects which was great, but once it started raining after it snowed and then got cold, I just couldn’t keep up with the ice buildup on the steep driveway I’m building a wall along side of. Even with micro-spikes on my boots it was getting a little sketchy, so I finally listened to that little voice that said quit while you’re ahead. So at the end of January I packed it in, and now I’m on to pruning apple trees, at least on the nice days.
I can’t say enough about everyone on the Board, our Committee Coordinators; Carolyn Isaak, our newsletter editor; and Annette Zamarchi, our advertising editor. These are all some very dedicated people working hard for the Association, and I thank you all so much for all the help and inspiration you’ve given me this past year. I’d also like to thank in advance our newest member of the Board, Andrew Pelkey of North Point Outdoors, who has graciously agreed to step into the Vice-President’s position and has already come to the table with some great ideas and enthusiasm. In fact, I have to say that this year, and especially over the last few months as we have navigated through and started to move away from Covid and the pandemic, we have gotten re-energized. Not just re-energized in planning events and opportunities to increase members professional development, of which there will be many, but also in tackling some very fundamental questions about the Association, the Board, the By-laws, membership, and about who we are and what we represent.
I think these are questions the Association has always asked of itself, but sometimes Boards and members get complacent and comfortable with the status quo, especially when it’s the same Board members year after year doing the Association’s business. Sometimes it’s just easier to say “well that’s the way we’ve always done it” and go with that. As someone who has been on the board since 2005 I’ve been as guilty of that as anyone, but thankfully this year with the addition of Mike Barwell coming in as Education Committee Coordinator and having some great ideas and with Annette asking some tough questions, we seem to be shaking that off in a big way. Helping this new energy in no small way is the fact that with Ben coming in as President and Andrew coming in as Vice-President, we will now have the outlook and perspective from the next generation of younger entrepreneurs and business owners, and I for one really look forward to their ideas!
Thanks again to everyone on the Board and to all our members for your support over the past year. As always it has been a privilege to part of the Board and to be a member of NHLA. Hope to see you all at the Dinner meeting on March 22, the Vehicle Safety Workshop on March 26, our first Twilight meeting on June 15 in Exeter. Coming in September we are also planning a Field Day Event at Shaker Village in Canterbury. Information on these and other events will be emailed and will be found in the Newsletter, on our website and on our NHLA Facebook page.
Have a great season!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
A month into 2022 and it’s finally starting to look and feel like winter, at least here in Canterbury. As I write, we finally got some snow over the existing few inches of crust, so it actually made for some nice snowshoeing. Up to mid-January it’s been mild with more rain than snow, but below zero temps are on their way, so maybe winter is here for awhile. It’s definitely gotten quieter, the pace has slowed a bit to the point where I can pick and choose my days when I work, depending on weather and motivation, on my winter wall projects,and try to balance that with office work and just being at home for awhile.
Apple tree pruning will be starting in a month or so and before you know it we’ll be off and running again into the landscape season. I’m pretty optimistic about this coming work season having learned a lot of hard lessons from last year, and I think I’m better prepared for some of the uncertainties we all faced last year. Hopefully it will be a less chaotic schedule although, truthfully, pandemic or no pandemic, supply chain issues or not, I think I’ve been saying that for the last 34 years! Who am I kidding?
Covid and it’s variants continues to make things difficult for everyone and a lot harder to plan for events. As of this writing we are moving forward with our dinner meeting planned for January 18, but Covid numbers are up so we’ll just have to see. As we get closer to spring we have several more opportunities to learn and these may be a little easier to plan as they can be, weather permitting, held outdoors. One of these planned events is a talk and demonstration of electric and battery operated tools and equipment that are coming onto the market and that will eventually take the place of gas powered equipment. It’s definitely coming, and we need to start getting prepared for it. An article in a recent NALP newsletter talks about how on Thursday, Dec. 9, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) approved the proposed amendments to the Small Off-Road Engine Regulations: Transition to Zero Emissions, which would ban the sale of virtually all carbon-emitting landscape equipment beginning with model-year 2024. Although it doesn’t mean that you suddenly won’t be able to use your existing gas-powered equipment after 2024, it does mean you won’t be able to buy them. We’re a little different than California in that only California can create its own regulations regarding emissions because, like other states, we are under the federal law, the Clean Air Act, so we are even further away from a complete ban. But it is coming sooner or later, and we’d like to help our members get ahead of it.
Other events coming up or in the planning stages include a Safety Training day, a Department of Safety Compliance demonstration, a Field First Aid class to cover the basics of first aid on the job and what to do before and after calling 911, and a Landscape Basics Training day, which would cover proper pruning, planting, and mulching techniques. These events may be half-day or full-day programs, Dinner Meetings if appropriate, or Twilight Meetings. We will do our best to follow CDC and State guidelines, such as they are, in order to keep everyone safe and healthy so we can continue to learn and improve our professional development.
When the next Newsletter comes out we will hopefully be well into the spring season with clean-ups and getting back to those projects that need to be finished or new ones to be started. I wish everybody good luck in the upcoming year and hope to see you at all the events we have planned!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a great Christmas and Holiday season and a profitable year in 2021. No need to say anything about what a crazy and chaotic year it was because we all experienced it, and everyone I talked to pretty much had the same story. Hopefully you got through it, though, with equipment and crew intact and that you are looking forward to a busy, but hopefully calmer, season coming up.
Although we’re still navigating the variables brought on by Covid we have a lot planned for 2022 starting out with another Dinner Meeting on January 18 that will focus on the challenges brought on by labor issues and shortages (see page 5). From there we’ve got many more programs and events planned throughout the season to help business owners and employees alike. These programs will include, among other things, a Safety Training Day touching on chainsaw and equipment safety; Job Site First Aid to learn what to do before and after you call 911 if someone is injured on the job; and a Dept. of Safety Day.
As landscapers become more targeted by the Department of Safety and are being pulled over, inspected, and issued citations more and more we are really looking forward to working with the DOS and offering a demonstration/seminar on DOT regulations to help our members and all landscapers get ahead of it and be confident that they are compliant.
We’re hoping these classes can be held regionally to make it easier for everyone in different parts of the state to attend, so watch for more information on that. Back in the fall the Board did a phone survey of some NHLA members and though the response was very limited we did get some great ideas and feedback for future topics for Dinner and Twilight Meetings and other “hands on” field days and demonstrations, which the Education Committee will start putting together. If you have any other suggestions and ideas for topics and classes you’d like to see don’t hesitate to contact me (603-608-7860, DDEJo71@aol.com), Mike Barwell (603-491-0847, firstname.lastname@example.org), or anyone on the Board and let us know.
In February, the 4th and 5th, we are partnering with the Farm, Forest and Garden Expo where we will have a booth set up to promote NHLA and our members to the public. There is also the opportunity for some members to take advantage of free floor space being offered to create a display and showcase your work. There are also booth spaces available, for a fee, if you are interested in getting in front of thousands of potential clients. See more information about this event in the pages of this Newsletter.
Last but not least, the Board had a very interesting meeting back on November 2 at the Common Man restaurant at which we focused on the future of NHLA. Mike Barwell and Annette Zamarchi lead the discussion as we tried to answer questions like: Who are we as an Association? Where are we going? And, who are our members? Over the coming months, as the Board begins to grapple with these and other questions, I will keep you informed of the on going discussion and, as always, I will be looking for and asking for your input and ideas about the direction of NHLA into the Future.
Have great New Year!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Well, after nearly two years, we finally got back to having a Dinner Meeting on November 9 at the Puritan, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Eric Mitchell from Northeast Nurseries gave an excellent talk on “Painting with Light,” covering a bit of the history and technology of outdoor lighting and the ways in which lighting can enhance and increase the enjoyment of our landscape creations. Eric really focused on the art of landscape lighting, how the use of light and shadow can increase the dramatic effect of trees and shrubs as well as walls and pathways. We do our work and create our landscapes mostly in daylight, and our designs are mostly from that point of view, but Eric really showed us how proper lighting can extend the beauty and that view into the other 12 hours of the day.
Despite the intensity and difficulties we’ve all experienced this year it was great to see everyone at the meeting, and everyone seemed in good spirits and glad to get a chance to get together again. Last month I wrote about the thread of continuity that has run through the Association from the beginning and last night really reminded me of the Dinner Meetings we used to have at the Wayfarer in Bedford. It was the epitome of what this Association is all about: getting together to listen and learn from an expert, to talk and compare notes with colleagues, to talk about projects and challenges. Thank you to everyone who attended, and keep watch for information on the next Dinner Meeting coming up January 18 (see events).
In February NHLA member companies have a chance to show off their work to the public at the NH Farm, Forest and Garden Exposition to be held at the Center of NH/Doubletree Downtown Manchester, February 4 and 5. There are 4 10′ x 8′ spaces available and being offered for free. There are also Booth spaces available for a fee. This has usually been a very well-attended show so it is a great opportunity to get your name and business in front of the public. Anyone interested should contact: Kelly Bryer, Expo Manager, 603-960-0272, email@example.com. NHLA will have a booth set up to promote the Association and you, our members.
Hope you had a good Thanksgiving and have a great Christmas and Holiday season!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Forty years ago a group of guys in the landscape industry got together to form an Association for landscape contractors. Leon Pearson, Gary Hinz, Allen Anderson, Palmer Koelb, George Pellettieri, Andy Sherburn, Rick Simpson, Don Tordoff, Dave Sansom, and Mick Sheffield to name a few, hashed out the ideas and set in motion the formation of the New Hampshire Landscape Association. Today that vision is seen in the men and women who now make up the Association and our members are landscape contractors, designers, architects, growers, and educators.
Some of the objectives of the new Association back then, much as they are now, were to promote professional development for those in the landscape industry; to promote and advance ethical practices; to provide continual education and information to the members and to the general public; and to promote responsible environmental and ecological practices.
What strikes me is the amazing continuity and consistency over these last 40 years to achieve these goals and objectives. Sure, there have been changes and the emphasis on these goals have ebbed and flowed over the years, but the basic trajectory has pretty much remained the same. Somehow I inherited a box of old NHLA papers and newsletters dating back to the late ’80s and early ’90s and it’s from reading through these that you can really see the truth in the saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
In 1988 we had about 137 members. By 2006 we had as many as 250 and today we are at about 160. The recession back then was a constant topic of conversation and many members dropped out. As the economy improved so did membership enrollment and then of course there was the great recession of 2008 and membership dropped again and we are still coming back from that or at least we were until the pandemic hit.
Over the years the By-laws have been tweaked here and there, and of course the Board and presidents have changed, bringing with those changes in people a change in focus, tone, and direction of the Association. The Newsletter has had four editors since its inception. Peter Kidd, I believe, was the first editor and after him came Phil Caldwell, who after several years handed off to Chuck Simpson, and then in 1992 our current and amazing editor Carolyn Isaak took over. Each editor brought their own voice to the NHLA Newsletter and yet the continuity, the format and the quality have remained the same. Even some of the companies that were advertising in the early newsletters are still advertising today, which speaks volumes to the commitment to and integrity of the Association.
In 1989 Phil Caldwell wrote about the “Greenhouse Effect” and the American Forestry Association’s effort to plant 100 million trees to reduce the effect of climate change. Although efforts on many, many fronts are still going on to fight climate change, we as an industry and this Association really need to step up and be a bigger part of the solution. According to the recent UN Report we only have about 10 years before it’s too late.
In 1991 Dr. Dirt (aka John Hart) wrote about the labor shortage in our industry and how hard it was to find good “qualified help” as young people moved away from the horticultural industry.
Low pay, long hours, seasonal work, and physically demanding work are some of the reasons. Fast forward to today, sound familiar?
Reading through these issues of our newsletters has been fascinating as it traces the ups and downs of our industry, our Association, our country, and even the world. From the very beginning of NHLA the issues for the Association have remained the same. How to remain viable monetarily and otherwise. How to retain members and attract new ones. How do we explain and promote the value of being a member? What is the value of being a member for that matter? How do we educate the public as to who we are and why they should choose a member of NHLA for their project? How do we get members more involved, and why would they want to get more involved? And how do we tap into the talent and vast knowledge of our older members? Peter Kidd asked that question back in December of 1991 and it’s just as pertinent a question today.
All of this talk about continuity, the hows, and that as much as things change they do stay the same, leads me to this. We have started to have some very interesting conversations at our Board meetings lately about all of the issues I just mentioned: climate change, our role as an Association, labor and supply chain issues due to Covid, membership and the value of being a member. We have always emphasized the idea of educating and elevating our membership. That’s our goal, that’s our Mission Statement, but in this day and age of being able to “Google” just about anything you want to know about, how do we compete with or work with that? That’s certainly not one they were questioning back in the ’80s and ’’90s, but it’s a big one now. So, over the next few months members of the Board will be meeting, outside of our regular Board meetings, to discuss these very issues and, as in the past, we will be asking you, we will be calling on you, to help us answer these questions.
We need to bring NHLA into the 21st century but we need to hear from you, the members, as to what that is and what that means. We will be asking some of you to come to these meetings and talk about why you’re a member and what you view the value of that membership to be. As in the past we will be sending out a survey as to what you would like to see from NHLA, what sorts of classes, seminars, and topics you would like, and what you find valuable, or not, to being a member.
This is my third time as president of NHLA so I know you’ve heard me say this before: this is your Association and it can only be as good, it can only be of as much benefit to you and to the community as you help it to be. These are crazy times we’re in right now but also kind of an exciting time for NHLA as we look forward like we always have.
Have a great fall!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
I’m not sure I’ve ever done this before but I’m writing these notes while I’m 36,000 ft. in the air heading to California to see my parents after not being able to do so for the last year and a half. Mom’s in a memory care facility and Dad is living in an assisted living community not too far away from her. Both are in relatively good health; got through the worst of the pandemic and lock-down pretty well. Restrictions were just lifted in both facilities to where visitors are welcome again, so I’m taking advantage while I can and before things slide back in the other direction.
Thank you to everyone who played and helped at this year’s NHLA Golf Tournament on August 3. You all helped to make it the most successful tournament we’ve had so far, and it really was a great day. The course was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and it was great seeing everyone out there playing and having fun. Needless to say I’m no golfer, and that became immediately apparent to Chris Dube and Ed Roy from Urban Tree with whom I was teamed up. I really appreciate their patience and good humor as well as all the tips they gave me. I’m sure it was painful for them but I had a great time! The fact that the day was so successful is in large part due to all the work and energy Pam and Jim Moreau put into organizing the tournament and making sure the day went smoothly, so please let them know how much you enjoyed it. We look forward to seeing you there again next year!
Thank you to Cris Blackstone, our current Education Committee Coordinator, for her work on the committee. Cris has decided not to renew her contract for the coming year, and we will miss the energy and enthusiasm that she brought. Cris will continue to be a part of NHLA volunteering when she can and will certainly continue to write great articles for the Newsletter. Mike Barwell from Perfect North Lawncare has graciously agreed to step in as interim coordinator while we seek to find a candidate to fill Cris’s shoes. Anyone interested in the position can contact me or anyone else on the Board and we can give you the details.
While we’re on the subject of the Education Committee, we have a Dinner Meeting coming up on November 9 at the Puritan Conference Center where Eric Mitchell from Northeast Nurseries will be giving a talk on Landscape Lighting. On November 16 we have put together a Pesticide Education Workshop, again at the Puritan Conference Center, that will include: Pesticide Regulation Review by David J. Rousseau; Pesticide Resistance Management by Emma Erler; and Invasive Insects in NH by Kyle Lombard. There is the possibility to earn 3 credits on this day so watch for more information and be sure to sign up early as there will be limited seating available.
As part of the Education Committee myself, it has been great to work with Cris, Mike Barwell, Emma Erler and Jonathan Ebba, and it’s nice to once again be able to put together and attend in person these various events that help to increase our knowledge and professionalism. With that said we really do need more people to step up and help on our committees, and we are especially looking for help on the upcoming Field Day Event that is still in the works, to be held at McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester next June. As I said we can really use the help and it would be a chance to have a say and some input into the Field Day, Twilight meetings, Dinner Meetings, and other events that we put on throughout the year.
Well that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ve left something out that should have been mentioned, but the deadline for the next issue of the Newsletter is just around the corner so I’ll catch it then. I’m sure everyone is still crazy busy as we come into the fall season, and I wish you continued success. Have a great Fall! j
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
It’s July 13 as I sit down to write and I’m three days late with these notes. I’ve been so focused on work and getting projects done and new ones started that it’s been hard to think of much else. But here I sit, 5:00 am, listening to the rain and trying to think of something to write. When I wrote for the July issue we were expecting a pretty big storm, which we got, and since then we’ve had pretty consistent rain coming through. Tropical storm Elsa gave us a very wet July 4 Holiday weekend and week and with this latest round we are starting to see some relief from the drought. I think southern NH may even be back up to normal levels but the northern half of the state still has a ways to go. We certainly haven’t had to water our veggie garden, and our squash plants have gone crazy!
We will have had our annual Golf Tournament and our Twilight meeting at Kirkwood Gardens by the time this issue is out, and I look forward to reporting on them for September. As disappointing as it was to postpone the Field Day event it was the right call to make and we are still moving forward with it for next year. This gives a lot more time to really make it a great event and more time to hear from you all about what you might like to see, speakers and topics you might like to hear, and demonstrations you might like to participate in. Don’t be shy about letting us know, whether it’s for the Field Day event, Twilight Meetings or Dinner Meetings. The Education Committee is always looking for ideas.
As I really don’t have much to write about this time around I will end on this note… I am optimistic about our chosen field. It’s not just that last year and this year have been insanely busy, that will change as it always does and things will go back to “normal”eventually. What gives me hope is that despite the fact that a major complaint over the last few years has been lack of help and qualified workers and getting young people interested in the horticultural/landscape industry, I’m starting to see a slight change in that. This year I’m seeing a lot of new companies and younger people getting into the business, and I take that as a good sign, although I can’t speak to the quality of their work or their knowledge. However we have had several new companies become members of NHLA, which shows a desire to learn and to increase their professionalism. As we know, being a member of NHLA has many benefits, especially the on-going educational opportunities we provide, our close association with UNH Cooperative Extension and the educational opportunities they provide, the networking, and the safety in numbers.
Anyway, what really sparked my optimism was that I recently had a chance to work with a couple of younger guys in their early twenties for a couple of days. I work by myself 95% of the time, and when I do work with someone else it’s usually with someone around my own age and with the same attitude about work – physical work – so this was relatively new for me. These guys were on loan from another company while the owner was out of town, and I didn’t really know what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised when they showed up on time, with tools, and ready to work. And they did work. I won’t say they never looked at their phones but I will say that despite the heat and humidity they never stopped working other than water and lunch breaks, and they were interested in what we were doing. Best of all when I told them about NHLA and what we’re about, they immediately saw the benefits and surprisingly, the benefit of being around and being able to talk with other people in the business. I promise I’m not making this up! One of the them said “There are just some things you can’t learn from a phone.” Music to my ears. Enough said.
Have a great and successful rest of the summer!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Summer sure isn’t wasting any time trying to push spring out the door as we’re into our first official heat wave of the season and it’s only the second week of June! It looks like it will be cooling down by the end of the week which will be good as I have a pretty big tree planting to get done and the less stress on the trees the better.
Speaking of stress (see how I did that), what a season so far! I know we’re all feeling it right now, whether you have a landscape company, a nursery, or you are a supplier. Demand is high and supply is low, causing delays and in some cases bringing jobs to a halt because material isn’t available. I’ve already had one little meltdown when a particularly demanding client kept pushing me on the phone and although I didn’t return fire at him I did take it on the person in line ahead of me waiting to get material. Needless to say I embarrassed myself. Apologies were given and, luckily for me, accepted. Like everyone, I had way too much on my plate at the moment and it got to me, but it also made me take stock of where I’m at this early in the season and to make a couple of changes to take a small bit of the pressure off. Spring, up to Memorial Day, is always and always has been a real push and a stressful time, but this year seems crazier. Not surprising given what we’ve all been through for the last year and a half and it’s across the board, affecting homeowners and clients, vendors and suppliers, manufacturers, truckers and installers. Everyone agrees it’s nuts but it also won’t last forever and we’ll get through it. For myself, as stressed as I might be, I’m thankful that I have the work I have and the types of projects that I like and that for every day that seems to be too hectic there is also a day of the quiet concentration of building a stonewall that keeps me grounded.
In spite of all the craziness I’ve been talking about we do have some opportunities coming up for not just some education and professional development but also for taking a breather and having some fun. By the time this issue is out we will have already had our first Twilight Meeting in well over a year at Shaker Village in Canterbury, and I look forward to reporting on that. We have another Twilight Meeting lined up in August at Kirkwood Gardens in Holderness and of course on August 3 we are back to our annual Golf Tournament at Candia Woods.
Unfortunately, as you may have heard by now, we have decided to postpone the Field Day Event that was going to be held at McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester on August 24. It was the right decision to make as this really wasn’t the year to try something so new for us. I think it’s a great idea and something we’ve never done, but in the end we just didn’t have the time needed to work out some of the details. We have laid the groundwork to have a great event though, and we’re shooting for next year some time after Memorial Day. Postponing the event will give us a chance to better explain to vendors and those who agreed to do demonstrations about what we would like the day to be and to work out the many details that comes along with trying to put something like this together. I’d like to thank everyone on the committee who put so much time and effort into this and helped lay the groundwork. I’ll be reaching out to you again and look forward to listening to your ideas and suggestions on how to make this a great and hopefully annual event.
That’s it for now. I hope you all have a great season without too much stress, and watch for more information on the Field Day event, Twilight Meetings, Dinner Meetings, and the Golf Tournament!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Is it just me or does it seem like April was a nice slow month that took its time getting to the end, but May is just screaming by? Full into it now, juggling too many jobs at once and still hanging on to the idea that I’m still on schedule. I’ve only gotten slightly better at saying no, but self preservation and sanity require that I start saying it more often. Luckily the clients that I do have on the schedule are being relatively patient and seem to understand the circumstances as I work to establish some sort of rhythm and plow through the project list.
It has been a beautiful spring so far, although it would be nice if it would warm up and the wind died down; and the display of color from the Forsythias, PJMs, and Crabapple trees seem especially vibrant. We are still in a drought though (see the article by Ted Diers and Stacey Herbold in last month’s Newsletter), and that’s troubling as we head towards summer. So I’ve started to have that conversation with clients who are looking for new lawns and new plantings to be installed, letting them know that there might be an issue later in the season. Most seem aware and understand they’ll be taking a chance, especially with lawns, if they decide to move forward that there could come a time when it becomes a choice as to watering their lawn or protecting their wells and drinking water.
In fact, along those lines I just recently met with a landscape committee at a 55-and-over community in Loudon that was looking for information about using more groundcover and plants in place of lawns. The community is built on the site of an old gravel quarry and the soil, what little there is, is of poor quality, and as there is no in-ground irrigation allowed. Growing a lawn, a good lawn, is next to impossible without regular and steady rain. The committee was looking for a little guidance when members of the community started submitting designs and ideas to replace their lawns. They asked great questions and were very open to the idea of using plants, groundcovers, and perennials to replace the brown grass, limiting the amount of bark mulch and encouraging homeowners to use rain barrels. It was nice to see the community start to look for – and be open to – new ideas and other alternatives to grass instead of continuing to struggle with something that just won’t work and is not sustainable.
We have a great educational opportunity coming soon! I hope you’ll join us at Canterbury Shaker Village on June 15. This will be a unique event, as well as our first Twilight Meeting in over a year; I hope to see you all there!
Have a great Spring!
by David DeJohn, NHCLP
Welcome to Spring 2021!
It’s March 21, the first day of spring, as I sit here in the bucket of my Bobcat watching the fire underneath the evaporator boiling sap into syrup and trying to get a jump on these notes. I believe this is our 20th year with our little backyard operation and these quiet moments in the woods never get old.
What some of you may be thinking that does get old is the fact that, yes, I’m back at it again for one more stint as president of NHLA. I can imagine some of you, maybe many of you, rolling your eyes and thinking “OMG is he going to be writing about that dog again and telling us which Grateful Dead songs go great with wall building?” Well… yes… and no. New pack of dogs, way more music to tell you about for all sorts of projects but also, I’m sure, reflecting on 2020 and the beginning of 2021 and the extraordinary roller coaster that it has been.
I hope you all were able to ride it out safely and stayed healthy, and I’m sure you stayed busy. As an industry we were obviously very lucky to be able to continue working, and the demand for our services was surprising. This year looks to be as busy as last year, and it will be interesting to see if it’s as difficult as last season to get materials. We also seem to be heading into another dry spring and possibly another drought, so that’s another issue on the horizon as well.
With that being said, NHLA has managed to get by during all of this, and though we missed out on a lot of our usual educational opportunities last year we are moving ahead this year with getting back to Twilight Meetings, the Golf Tournament, and a new NHLA Field Day scheduled for next year that we are especially excited about. Keep your eyes open for more information about that.
Thank you to Jim Moreau for the great job as president for the last few years and especially during this past year. I, for one, certainly appreciate the work you put in and the good humor you did it with. Thank you also to Pam Moreau for all her work as business manager of NHLA. She has kept us organized throughout this strange year and set up our monthly Zoom meetings so the Board was able to meet and take care of NHLA business without too much trouble.
Well, I guess that’s it for now. Just reintroducing myself as the president for 2021, and to say thank you again to Jim and Pam and all the Board members. Have a great season and be sure to watch for more information for all the upcoming NHLA events!
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I am sitting here on a cloudy Sunday morning, wondering what I should say in my final President’s Notes. The last two years have been interesting, educational, stressful at times, entertaining, and most of all a great deal of fun. I first would like to say “Thank You” to the NHLA board: Dave, Cori, John, Maria, Scott, Kyle, and Ben for working with me, as a team, to bring new ideas and events to our membership. Unfortunately, we had to cancel several due to COVID-19. We are still working hard and planning events for you.
I also want to say “Thank You” to our Education and Certification Coordinators, Cris and Abby, for their dedication to the NHLA. Additionally, I’d like to say “Thank You” to our Newsletter/Website Manager, Carolyn, and our Advertising Manager, Annette for all their hard work through the years.
My list of “Thanks” extends to all our committees: Golf Tournament, Dinner Meeting, NHLA Joint Winter meeting, Spring Kick Off meeting, and the Hardscape Education Day. Without their hard work and dedication, none of this could have happened. We have had some amazing and successful events over the years.
Last, but definitely not least, “Thank You” to my wife and your Business Manager, Pam, who has always been my right-hand woman. My final “Thank You” goes out to all of you, the members who had confidence in me to steer the ship, in the right direction, for a little while. I now know that being President of NHLA is an extreme privilege that I will not soon forget.
Amongst all the craziness of planning and canceling events, due the pandemic, we are always thinking of you. We are currently in the planning stages of an education/trade show event. We have been fact-finding for the past few months. We need to be mindful of the restrictions and precautions needed during this time. We are hoping to finalize the details and get it out to our members, in the next few months. Cori has been in contact with several vendors, to see if they would be willing to do the event and the response has been great. This could be one of our largest events ever. We are still in the planning stages, so if you would like to help, please contact me directly. Please stay tuned for more information.
Yes, we are also in the planning stage of the NHLA Golf Tournament. It is scheduled for August 3. We are waiting to hear about the restrictions from Candia Woods before we can finalize the details. Please SAVE THE DATE! It is always a great day to hang with friends and colleagues.
Where is the future of horticulture? I was contacted by Kevin McDonnell, from the Manchester School of Technology, where he teaches Landscape and Horticulture. Kevin is asking the NHLA to help with a program called “Learn Everywhere.” This is a program that the New Hampshire Department of Education has designed to deepen partnerships between employers and career tech students. It is designed to allow students to work for an NHLA member and earn high school credits towards their diplomas. There are many details to work out, like hours, education, and competencies. We will be forming a committee of teachers and industry professionals who will put the landscape and horticulture program together. Once the program is developed, we would like it adopted state-wide, so everyone can benefit from it. I believe it will be extremely beneficial to the Green Industry in New Hampshire. I know what you are thinking. This was tried before and it did not go anywhere and you are right. (“You will never succeed if you don’t try. – Dhwani”) I will give it my best shot. NHLA would become the supporting organization, which means the students would have to work for a member to get credit. I will keep you posted as this program unfolds.
I am proud to announce that Emma Erler is the new UNH Cooperative Extension Field Specialist, for Hillsborough County. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture from the University of New Hampshire. She has worked for the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, in Boylston, MA, and many well-known Arboretums and Public Gardens. She also volunteers with the Squam Lake Natural Science Center and for the Master Gardeners. So, please drop Emma a note to say “Hi and Welcome.” Her e-mail is Emma.Erler@UNH.edu. (See more about Emma on pages 12-13, and 21.)
Well this is the last Newsletter you will receive from me as the NHLA President, and also from Minnie, who is sleeping in the chair next to me. The new President will take over after the elections, in mid-March. I want to say again, “Thank You,” and it was a pleasure working with and for all of you.
Best regards, Jim
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I hope all is well, considering it has been a very long winter. As we all get ready for the new season, we have a greater hope for a better year, now that we have begun the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. We are beginning to see the light at the end of a very long tunnel. I hope that you have all stayed safe and healthy during this time of the pandemic. I have been very fortunate not have anyone close to me come down with the virus. I wish everyone who has been affected by it, a speedy recovery and if you lost someone, my deepest sympathy. The pandemic has tested us all, both mentally and physically, and we come out stronger and wiser from it. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Well, we have definitely gone on an unforgettable journey, to a destination I hope never to return to. However, I will always keep in mind the lessons I have learned along the way. I hope to see that the world becomes a better place and that people realize that life is a precious gift.
I have some news from the Board room, as we are getting ready to send out the 2021 Election ballots. There is a ballot in the Newsletter (see page 5) and you will receive one by e-mail, as well, so please vote. The Board works very hard throughout the year for NHLA members. We try to make sure that the ideals of the Association are met, and we do the best we can to work for your benefit. The Board is always looking for new directors. I realize it is a time commitment; however, in reality, you are helping yourself. Before all of the shut downs and social distancing happened, we met in person once a month. Currently, we are meeting via Zoom, so no one has to leave their home. I know that we would like to meet in person, but unfortunately, it is not possible at this time. The meetings usually last an hour or two, depending on the agenda. We meet the first Tuesday of every month. I would like to invite anyone who wants to attend a meeting, via Zoom, to contact Pam Moreau, the NHLA Business Manager. She will get you the information needed to join the meeting.
You all know the saying, that there is strength in numbers, well I believe it is definitely true for our Association. My days as president of NHLA are coming to a close, and I will become the past president. I want to THANK YOU for allowing me to be your president. It has been a pleasure working with the Board. We have several very dedicated Board members, but we would like to see some new blood. Even if you cannot commit to the year, it would be great to see you and hear your ideas in person. Please consider coming to a meeting.
The Education Committee and Board of Directors are looking into producing a 2-day educational event this summer. We are in the very early planning stages right now, with more details to come in the next few months. The COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions are making this extremely challenging. We are currently checking with speakers and vendors regarding their guidelines and restrictions on participating in events with large groups. So keep an eye out for information in the Newsletter and website. I hope to see this event get off the ground, as I feel it will be great for all.
Calling all golfers! Yes, we are hoping to have our annual golf tournament this year. We have reserved Tuesday, August 3. Please mark your calendars! If you are interested in helping out or becoming a vendor, please email Pam Moreau, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, please remember, even though we are going into a new season, we are still facing some post COVID-19 challenges. Take it one day at a time and face the challenges head on. We need to be strong and get over this hurdle together. Your membership is a community, so please reach out for help. I also ask you to please encourage new people, who are not members, to join and help strengthen NHLA. There is power in numbers! I would like to say “Welcome” to all our new members and “Thank you” to all our dedicated members. We would not have an Association without you.
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’”– Eleanor Roosevelt
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Happy New Year! I am glad to see 2020 go in my review mirror and hope to see better days in 2021. As I sit here writing these notes for the Newsletter, the first vaccines are being distributed to the United States and around the world. Hopefully by this time next year, we will be in a better state of mind and back to somewhat normal. We all know that the normal life we once had, before COVID-19, will probably never exist ever again. Unfortunately, numbers are climbing again. Let’s hope and pray that the winter months do not get any worse. So, be smart about protocols and stay safe and healthy. Let’s ring in the 2021 New Year together and see what it has in store for the landscape industry.
Well, I have some great news from UNH Cooperative Extension. They are finally working on a replacement for Cathy Neal, who you all know retired over a year ago, as the Horticultural State Specialist. We all know that Cathy did a tremendous amount of work for the landscape industry and it will be very difficult to find a replacement. It is an exciting time and I was asked to be a member of the hiring committee. The committee is made up of industry professionals and members of the UNH Cooperative Extension Office. The applicants will go through a rigorous screening. We want to hire someone who is going to take the position as seriously, as Cathy did for many years.
The committee is in the middle of reviewing the applications and comparing notes. Once this process is done, we will have our first round of interviews. Once we narrow it down, we will then move to our second round of interviews. So by the time some of you receive this Newsletter, we will have our finalist for the position. Then they meet with the University staff, for the final approval. I am hopeful we will have a new State Specialist by January.
This position is a great resource for the landscape industry, in New Hampshire, and it has been sorely missed, since Cathy left. I know that the NHLA membership will welcome the new person with open arms. I would like to finish by saying “Thank you” to Jonathan Ebba, who has been helping out since Cathy retired. He has been a tremendous help and an invaluable resource in organizing programs for the membership. Unfortunately, Jonathan is moving to the Strafford County Extension office. He will be sorely missed. Good luck Jonathan!
The Board meets monthly to keep NHLA moving in the right direction. Since our traditional conferences are on hold, we are looking at new events and venues. The Education Committee has also been working hard on program ideas. They are looking at many virtual programs. Lo8h7g5d33a1 (Oops! Sorry about that, Minnie just walked on the keyboard. Yes, she is sitting here with me in the home office writing these notes.)
Ok, let’s get back to the Education Committee. They are in dire need of help, as we are losing a long time committee member, Bill Hoffman. Bill is retiring from the committee and I want to personally say “Thank You, Bill” for all your hard work and dedication. You will be missed! The committee needs help in order to have conferences, Twilight Meetings, and much more. Please think about it! It does not require a ton of time. You too can make a difference in the NHLA and have some fun at the same time. Some day you will look back and say, “I made a difference in the industry,” so please contact us.
As we say “goodbye” to this crazy year, let’s welcome 2021 with open arms and a smile. Let’s remember the family and friends we have lost. Welcome our new family and friends into the world and into the industry. It was an unprecedented year that I will never forget, but I will try to remember the goodness that came from it. It was an incredible year for kindness, generosity, support, and problem solving. Just remember, life is too short, so make the best of it. We may not always get along, but we are here for each other, no matter what. Please make 2021 the year that you want it to be and live life to the fullest.
In closing, I am sad to say that we have lost a founding father of the NHLA, Dave Sansom, and an owner of New Hampshire Landscape, an early landscape firm in Hooksett. He passed away in late November (see pages 4-5). We also lost another dedicated professional in November, Frank Wolfe, who owned Lake Street Gardens, in Salem (see the December issue). I will keep them in my prayers.
I want to thank Peter van Berkum for the great articles he wrote on both of these fine individuals. They will both be missed.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I can’t believe we are nearing the end of 2020, a year that will not be forgotten anytime soon. I know that I will not forget what has happened in the world and how we have had to adapt to the “new” normal. We have to wear masks, social distance, and clean everything we touch, not to mention shortages on food, cleaning supplies, and toilet paper. I never thought I would see the day. Life has changed!
Our children are experiencing remote education, whether they are completely at home or in a hybrid setting. I don’t know how well I would have done from home. I was one of seven children. We would have either killed each other or my mom would have gone crazy! Bless all you parents and teachers! Unfortunately, this is going to be the new norm and I believe the quicker people start to understand and accept it, the easier it will become. That is why you need to do something that brings some sense of calm and normalcy.
Pam and I just spent a weekend away at a quiet resort, in southern Maine. Yes, we had to sign waivers. It was the beginning of November and the weather was just perfect, low-seventies. We spent a good part of the day overlooking the ocean from our balcony. In our busy lives, we forget about the little things. We enjoyed sitting and listening to the sound of the waves hitting the beach and how peaceful it was to listen to. I unplugged from my phone and computer and just sat out on the porch and listened to the peace and quiet of the ocean. I soaked up the warmth of the sun and tried to forget what was going on in the world, for just a short while. It’s amazing how good I felt mentally, to just check out of the world’s problems, even if it was only for a short few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Later that evening, I spent about 30 minutes out there and the sound was the same. I found it amazing that those waves never stop, they continue 24/7, 365 days a year. Some days they are bigger and louder and other days they are smaller and quieter, but they never stop.
I guess my whole point is that we need to feel normal every so often and enjoy some peace and quiet. I would suggest finding that peaceful spot you love and just listen to the world around you, even if you just get to relax for a moment.
By the time you read this Newsletter, the holiday season will be upon us and I want to wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! I hope that you will get to see your family and friends from a safe distance or by video chat. Please stay safe and healthy so that we can all have a great start to the 2021 season.
I know this past season is one for the record books. Everyone I have talked to has had a very busy and profitable year. Many have already scheduled most of next year. We have experienced a workload that we have never seen and would not have imagined it could happen during a pandemic. We can only hope that the wave continues into the 2021 season.
In the boardroom, unfortunately, we have had to cancel most of our events this year. However, we are brainstorming new ways to bring educational events to you. We are in the planning stages now. If you are interested in helping out, in person or virtually, please contact me. Watch the Newsletter and the website for updates!
In closing, I have one more thing to ask and that is: take care of each other and help those in need. We all have had one of the best seasons in a long time, so if you can help someone in need please do so. Helping someone doesn’t have to be something big, it just has to be something. It may be raking leaves for the elderly, donating to Toys for Tots, or checking in on a neighbor. We know several of you do volunteer work all the time. Please take a few minutes to write an article to share with the NHLA and include pictures. It will give others ideas on how they can help, as well. Helping out doesn’t need to cost money. I would like to
THANK YOU in advance for all your help. Have a wonderful holiday!
Best regards, Jim
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intentions.” — Oscar Wilde
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I cannot believe it is already October! I hope you are getting ready for your fall duties. Irrigation systems need to be winterized and leaves are almost ready to be picked up. I hate that it gets dark by 5:00 pm. However, I would not change New Hampshire’s seasons for anything. Great foliage and the best working weather of the year. Mother Nature has given us the best office, filled with wonderful colors of fall. You cannot ask for anything better.
Fall also brings the fun of apple and pumpkin picking with family and friends. Then sharing the homemade apple crisp, pies, and applesauce. Fall brings me back to my pumpkin-chunkin days, with my team, the American Chunker. We were an air cannon team that shot pumpkins for distance. The team has been retired for a couple of years now, but we still see each other every so often. The 10 years that I competed with the team were some of my best years, and those memories will last forever. Share special times with your family, friends, and employees – you will cherish them forever.
Yes, the NHLA Board has finally had its first in-person meeting since March. Zoom is great and all, but nothing beats talking in person. We have been discussing ways we can have events in the next few months. We know you have been extremely understanding, during these trying times and we “Thank You” and appreciate it.
The Education Committee has been working on the January Winter Meeting. Logistics for large events is extremely difficult, since the State of NH has many mandates in place. We want to make sure everyone is safe. After much discussion, we have decided to cancel the November Dinner Meeting. Your safety is our top priority! We are planning and hoping to have all our regular events in the 2021. I know that we will get through this pandemic and be better for it, in the long run. Thank you for your patience! Thank you for taking the time to fill in our survey, last month. We received some great ideas! Please keep checking the Newsletter and website for all the updates.
The last thing that I would like to talk about is the fact that we need members to please step up and get involved. I know you hear this from me every few months. I do not want to preach or beg, but we need to get a few new members involved with the Board and the other committees. We have had the same dedicated people for several year now. New people bring new ideas.
There are several committees that do not take a lot of time, i.e. Education, Certification, Golf, Dinner Meeting, and the Winter and Spring meetings. You do not have to be elected to these committees.
If you, or an employee, are interested in becoming a Board member, our elections are in March – please let us know so we can add you to the ballot.
Most of the committees require only a couple hours a month. Working together will make a stronger Association. The Association works to improve and educate the landscape industry in New Hampshire. If you cannot commit to a committee, you can still help by promoting NHLA to nonmembers whom you know in the industry.
Let me tell you what happened when this whole pandemic started. We were all wondering if we were going to able to work. Well the day the Governor started the stay-at-home order and essential workers, we received many phone calls. They asked, “What is NHLA going to do for us”? Most of these calls were from nonmembers asking for us to help keep them working and keep them informed. Dave and I both told them to become members if they want to be informed. To no avail for us, the essential worker list came out the next day, and they did not need us anymore. So it might be better if their peers would ask them to become members. Remember, you all pay $140.00 a year to be a member, and there are people who want the benefits for free.
In closing, I hope to see you all soon. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Like I said many times before, this your Association and you have just given me the privilege to steer the ship for a while. Let us try to build the membership!
“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.”
— Zeus, Hercules
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I cannot believe it is already September and we are getting ready for the fall. The phone is ringing off the hook with people trying to have projects done by the end of the season. It has been an extremely busy season, and it looks like it is going to end with a bang.
We will be talking about the 2020 season for a long time. It will be one for the record books. We started the year early with lots of rain and lush green lawns, where everyone wanted to work in their yards or have work done to their yards. Then the summer turned hot, humid, and dry. We experienced hailstorms, which devastated many gardens and farms. Then we dealt with the effect of the hurricane with high winds and heavy rain. Too much rain, too quickly, did not help the drought situation. Many lawns will not survive. However, the work continues to come in.
Now the days are getting shorter, it is more difficult to get the work done. This time of year, the weather can be unpredictable. It might rain every other day and be extremely windy the next. I hope Mother Nature is kind to us this fall. Despite everything, we stand strong! We are doing the best we can with the manpower and materials we have available to us.
As for myself, it was a particularly challenging year for my hanging baskets. You would think as a landscaper for over 35 years, I would not have a problem. I have several baskets and pots around the pool. Yes, of course they are irrigated! So, water was not the problem. It was the fertilizer. Well, not really the fertilizer, the fact that I was over fertilizing them. We carry a great water-soluble fertilizer for annuals from Plant Marvel and it was recommended by a coworker. Many growers use this product. So, I bought a bag home and mixed up a 15-gallon batch. I told Pam our baskets were going to look great this year. Wrong! Well, that is where the problem started, as I misread the label and added three pounds of fertilizer to the 15 gallons of water. It was supposed to be 1 tablespoon per gallon, so there lies the problem, I put almost three times the recommend amount. After about three weeks of fertilizing, once a week, they started to lose the flowers and started to turn brown. So, I called my coworker to explain the situation and he said, “you’re killing them.” He goes on to tell me that I mixed way too much fertilizer and to stop putting fertilizer for three weeks. He said I needed to flush the fertilizer out of the pots. Awesome! They started on the road to recovery. The hangers began to bloom again and were looking great!
While this was all happening, Pam started experimenting with vegetables in pots. She took care of her own plants. I was not allowed to touch them. They looked great! Then Mother Nature kicked me square in the butt with a hailstorm in North Nashua. Not only did the hail beat the crap out of tomato, pepper, and cucumber plants, but it also wiped out all the blooms on my hangers. So, if someone would like healthy hanging baskets with NO flowers, let me know. They are all yours. Well, I guess there is always next year. I want to thank Tom for setting me straight on the mix. Next time I will wear my cheaters to read the label. LMAO
Now back to the NHLA Board. It has been a new experience meeting by Zoom. It is not the same as meeting face-to-face. We are trying to set up a few educational events this fall; however, we are running into issues at every turn. We are planning on a month-to-month basis. We hopefully will have a September or October Twilight Meeting.
We are already talking about events for 2021. My New Year’s resolution is to get back to a “normal” life and back to educating our membership. We are trying to make sure to follow the CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe. The Education Committee is working hard to make sure we have events planned for both January and March.
Remember, this your Association! We need to hear from you about topics for your education. Have a great month! I hope I gave you a little laugh.
“Laughter is the best medicine in the world.” — Milton Berle
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Here we are, only in August, and many of us are wishing the season would be over at the end of the month. We have dealt with more problems, for the first time in our lives, than any of us want to count. I sit here in my kitchen, on a Friday night in July, writing these notes and I am thinking back to simpler days, when I was a kid. Yes, I know it was a long time ago. All I needed to worry about was not getting caught doing something I shouldn’t do or what I wanted to do with my friends that night. Yes, some of us can remember back to the day of pay phones and having to go home when the lights came on down the street. We did everything by hand and were excited to get our first tractor to make our jobs easier. I had to fight to get a landscape job because everyone wanted to work outside. We busted our butts and worked out until our fingers bled. We had no phones and barely had two way radios, but we made it work and we survived. Unfortunately, those days are long gone and we now have a small computer on our hip every minute of every day. We are now available to our customers 24/7 and it is both stressful and challenging. Yes, the times have changed but the work has not. We still give everything we have to make our customers happy and their dream yards come true.
The world is going to be a very different place as we move forward from this pandemic. Masks may be part of our everyday life. Social events, like going to the lake or the park will be limited by size and space. Spontaneity will be a thing of the past; we will have to plan our travels and gatherings. Online shopping is booming and our brick and mortar buildings are fading away. There will be more driving vacations and less air travel. More and more people will be working from home, which will be great for the industry. I know you are saying “How is this going to help, with more people working from home?” They are looking at their yards every day and want them to look great. I am seeing more people taking an interest in yards and gardens. They are going to want the fire pit, the big patio for the backyard, and the irrigation system to keep the grass green. We are definitely benefiting from the pandemic because we are busier than we have been in years. I count my blessing every day, as we can continue to reap the rewards of having an abundance of work for the foreseeable future.
However, I do think about the businesses that are less fortunate during this crisis. I finally was able to get my haircut a few weeks ago. My barber told me, he was two weeks away from closing his doors for good. I think about how some restaurants and businesses are completely changing their service and some small ones that are just shutting their doors. Our country is known to be the land of opportunity, but so many are losing their dreams due to the pandemic. So, I encourage you to shop local, support your small businesses, and help out your family, friends, and neighbors. We will come through this together!
There is not a lot to talk about, as far as NHLA is concerned, as we have had to cancel all of the summer planned programs. We are hopeful for a couple of fall Twilight Meetings and the November Dinner Meeting. Everything is pending on the pandemic and the opening of venues. I know that many of you look forward to the Twilight Meetings and other educational events. We are going to do the best we can to make it happen. We will need to think outside the box.
Education can take on many forms, including reading and writing articles. I would like to challenge you to write an article for our Newsletter, educating us on something new in the field or sharing an accomplishment. It can be on any topic, such as the proper way to transport plant material, pruning techniques, irrigation troubleshooting, staying healthy, knowing signs of heat stress, OSHA regulations on job sites or helping a school design and install an outdoor garden. These are just a few of the many topics we would like to hear about in the Newsletter. We all have knowledge and or a story to share, so take the time and send it to us.
Our Newsletter deadline is the 10th of each month. I hope to hear from you soon! If you are a NHLA Certified Professional, you can receive credits for writing articles. Who knows, you just might get lunch out of the deal.
“May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through the door.” — Unknown.”
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I hope all are well ! I never thought I would still be writing about the pandemic. Here we are, the world in the startup mode, trying to get back to the “new” normal. I never thought I would ever have to make an appointment to get a haircut at my barber, eat in the parking lot of my favorite restaurant, or wear a mask when engaging in activities, in public.
We are also dealing with the uneasiness around the country, as people protest the death of George Floyd. I understand the protesting, but I have a hard time with the burning down of our neighborhoods and the brutality of it all. It does not solve anything; it only creates more problems. I wish, as a country, we can resolve these issues and come together as one united nation.
I hope that everyone has been staying safe and healthy! I know we live in a different world, when the NHLA Board meets by Zoom conference. We are still planning educational events; however, they are only in the planning stages due to extended stay-at-home orders by Governor Sununu. We have had to make many difficult decisions due to CDC guidelines. We have decided to cancel the NHLA Annual Golf Tournament and the Twilight Meetings for this summer. We are hoping to get in two Twilight Meetings this fall, but that will once again depend on the Governor. We are starting to plan for the November Dinner Meeting; however, it will all depend on the opening of venues and the ability to have groups larger than 25. Unfortunately, we have to follow the CDC guidelines. We are excited to have the Dinner Meeting and see everyone in person, as long as we can do so in a safe manner.
We are also working with UNH Cooperative Extension, which has very strict guidelines for their employees and events. The Certification Committee is working to reduce the number of credits for re-certification for this year. Please watch for updates in the certification corner, of the newsletter and on our website.
In closing, I understand we are in the prime of our season and everyone is pulling their hair out with the endless phone calls. Customers want it done now, for next to nothing. Products are very difficult to find. Employment is even more difficult this year, with the extra unemployment benefits. Please stay strong! We all knew how difficult this industry was when we started, many years ago. I can’t believe it’s has been 37 years for me! We will prevail! Take it one-day-ata- time and lean on each other. I have always found the best part of the industry is when we all work together, share ideas, lend a hand, and teach something new. Stay safe and take care of each other!
“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” — Steve Maraboli.
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I hope you’re all in good health, staying safe, and keeping busy. These are crazy times, and we are all looking for some type of normal life. What does the “new” normal look like? We have been through a great deal, in such a short amount of time. I know we have done our part to keep ourselves and our customers safe and healthy. This pandemic has made doing business a little more difficult and challenging, but we are going to be stronger for it.
Pam has taken over! I now have a school in my house. There is a large AeroGarden in my dining room, a 3D printer in our office, and multiple computers and iPads throughout the house. She lives by Zoom meetings and Google Classroom. Who knew teachers would someday work from home!
One of my biggest challenges is internet hacking. I apologize for all the SPAM requests, created by spambots. I would like to let everyone know that NHLA or Jim Moreau will never ask for gift cards, from any member, for any type of charity through an e-mail. We do, on occasion, ask for sponsorship for events or prize donations for the golf tournament. So please, if you get an e-mail from NHLA or Jim Moreau asking you to purchase gift cards and they will pay you back, it is a TOTAL SCAM. You all know me, I hate e-mail. If I needed something, I would just pick up the phone and call you. Pam and I are looking into how we can increase protection for our system. E-mails from me should have my work e-mail address, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for alerting us to the scam e-mails. We are working diligently on trying to resolve this issue.
We are working on several educational and recreational events for the summer and fall; however, we are waiting on reopen dates and restrictions, from Governor Sununu. Our Twilight Meetings are set and waiting for final dates, so please keep an eye open for notices in the Newsletter, on the website and by e-mail.
We are planning to have the golf tournament, but we have not been given a confirmation, from Candia Woods. We would all like to see Paul James make another Eagle, this year.
The dinner meeting date is set; however, we are waiting on final plans until the reopen date is set. Please watch for updates through the Newsletter, website, and e-mails regarding registration. We are in limbo, trying to get back to normal, as much as we it. Thank you for your patience!
We are lucky that the Green Industry is considered an essential business. Everyone I’ve talked to is very busy, which is great news. I believe that we are going to see a rebound, in the economy, sometime later this year. I am seeing the impact of people, working from home, as they look at their yards all day. They are looking to get their patio, walkway, or plantings done in the backyard. Some are still working and have received a stimulus check, so they want to spend the money. I do understand that it’s not all rosy out there. I have heard from several contractors that people are cutting back on the maintenance of properties, such as flowers and/or fertilization. I know we have all had to change the way we do business and unfortunately, some of these changes will become the “new” normal. So, as we move forward, we will adapt to the changing world we all live in. I do want to say “Thank You” to all the members that I have seen practicing social distancing and making sure their crews have protective equipment to wear, daily. I know this is only a small part of what do, to help keep your employees safe. Please keep up the great work! We will come out of this stronger and wiser! Please remember to “Thank” medical workers and first responders; they have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Be kind to one another and help those less fortunate than us.
“You are Braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, and Smarter than you think.”
— A. A. Milne’s Christopher Robin
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I am writing the May Newsletter and it’s only the week of Easter. There are millions of people out of work, as the “Stay-at-Home” order continues, nationwide. I feel like everything is upside down and backwards. I hope by the time you receive this Newsletter, we are back to some sort of “normal” life. We are starting to see, “the light at the end of the tunnel,” but we are far from being over this deadly virus. The Green Industry in New Hampshire has been very lucky to be able to continue working during these trying times. I would hope, as a member of NHLA, you would send Governor, Chris Sununu, and the NH Department of Agriculture Commissioner, Shawn Jasper, a thank you note! They were responsible for placing the “entire” Green Industry, on the essential business list. I hope that you have been able to keep yourself, your family and employees healthy throughout these trying times. Minnie and I are thinking that warm weather and blooming flowers will make everyone feel better.
We have been busy at NHLA trying to figure out how we are going move forward with programs this season. We are looking at our Twilight Meetings, which will hopefully start, sometime in July. Everything is still up in the air, until we know how long the “social distancing” will be in effect. We will be looking into several educational options, for the membership over the next few months. We are talking about webinars and other virtual events, so we can continue to learn and grow in our profession. If schools can move to remote learning, we can too. We will keep you all posted as the schedule becomes available. I have been told by the Education Committee that they are already planning for the Joint Winter Meeting and the Spring Landscape Conference for 2021. The NHLA Hardscape Education Day is still pending. We are hoping to get something together for the fall, but definitely planning one for spring 2021.
Spring usually brings a new Board of Directors. Luckily, we were able to conduct our voting electronically. Thank you for taking the time to vote.
We had our first Board meeting via Zoom, on April 7. I want to thank all the Board Members: Dave DeJohn, Maria Rainey, John Crooks, Cori Cahow, Scott Flewelling, and Ben Huntington for their commitment to the Green Industry. It is a pleasure to work with this group of dedicated professionals. So the next time you see one of these members, please say “Thank You,” as we would not have an association without them.
I do not want to leave anyone out. The Education and Certification Committees have been doing a fantastic job through this crazy time. They have been working very hard to schedule/reschedule all our education events. They are working to make sure our certified professionals can get the credits they need. Please stay tuned to the website and Newsletter for more information.
In closing, I would like to say good bye to an NHLA member and a good friend, Aedan Sherman. He passed away suddenly in early March, just days before his 46th birthday. Aedan was the owner of A&M Irrigation, in Warner, NH. He was always smiling and full of fun, no matter what he was doing. He was one-of-a kind and he had a true passion for landscaping and irrigation. If you ever talked with someone he worked for, they all said the same thing. Aedan always did it right the first time. He will be sorely missed, as guys like him are a rare breed and hard to replace. He was a generous person and supported many charities; NH Make a Wish was near and dear to his heart. I want to say “Thank you” for being a great friend. May you rest in peace!
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I am sitting in my Lazy Boy, on a sunny Sunday morning, in mid-February, on one of the colder days this winter. I’m thinking about how crazy the weather has been this year. One day we have snow, the next we see grass. It’s nuts! We all know what the rodent in Pennsylvania said; we’re going to have an early spring. Well, I hope he’s right, as we all would like to get back to work because a light winter does not equate to money in the bank. Whether you plow by contract or by the inch, a winter like this is really tough on the pocket book. Many people I’ve talked to are really tired of the ice. I can’t wait to say goodbye to the winter of 2019-2020 and hope for a profitable new season.
As I think about the upcoming landscape season, I have many wonders. Are we going to have a dry spring, so we can complete our work on time? Are we going to find enough labor to get the work done? Is the workload going to stay at the same pace it’s been for last 10 years? These are the questions we’re all dealing at the start of a new season.
The most difficult question to answer is the LABOR issue. The answer is not easy and if I had the answer, I would be a rich man. I have had several meetings with members over the last month regarding the labor issue. These meetings have been with members of both the green and hospitality industries. The topic is the H2B program. How can we get the returning H2B workers off the visa cap? The group met with Congressman Chris Pappas at one meeting and the staff of Senator Jeanne Shaheen, at another. We expressed our concerns of not having enough labor to do the work. They were both concerned with the problem and will bring the concerns to the House and the Senate.
We all need this situation to be rectified. Let me explain what I mean: if the returning visa is allowed, this will keep the competition for labor to a minimum. The workers that come from other countries, to work in New Hampshire, choose to do so. They love and enjoy the industry as much as we do. We are not the only industry in New Hampshire, or around the country, that is suffering with labor issues. The fishing, hospitality, and the construction industries are also suffering and fighting for the minuscule labor force that is available to us. I will keep you posted on the progress of the situation.
There have been several topics on the NHLA Board table this year. One of which, is creating educational programs to meet the needs and requests of the membership. The Spring Landscape Conference has a great line up. Check it out! The Education Committee has been listening to you and working on getting you the information that will help both you and your business.
Please keep an eye on the website and the NHLA Newsletter for all educational opportunities. This year, we have March Madness! The NH Arborist Association has its meeting on March 17, followed by our Spring Landscape Conference on March 20, then the Hardscape Education day on March 24, and finally Landscaping for Water Quality on March 26 & 27. There’s something for everyone! We hope to see your there. We’re looking at how we can spread the educational programs throughout the course of the year.
Yes, as you’ve probably heard, I am running for president again. Change requires your help! We need you to get involved and join us on the board of directors. New people, bring new ideas! Yes, I have enjoyed the past two years, as president, and hopefully will enjoy one more. Dave DeJohn is running for vice president and then president again. We need more involvement from the members. Dave has already been president twice and will do it one more year because he loves NHLA and does not want to see it fail. The commitment to NHLA does not take an incredible amount of time and will only benefit you, as well as, your company.
I am asking all of you to think about helping out. If you can’t help out, do you have any employees that would like to get involved and help make a difference?
I know you hear it all the time, by every president of NHLA, but I’m asking for a small time commitment, of 2-3 hours per month. The “I’m too busy” excuse does not work for me. I’m just as busy as the rest of you. If I can find time to make this association work for you, the members, so can you. Please make some time and help us keep NHLA going in the right direction. q
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.” —Stephen R. Covey
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I can’t believe it’s already February. We’re just a couple of months away from the landscape season. Where does the time go? So far this winter has been a strange one and the worst is yet to come, so hopefully it does not kick us square in the butt. I know that we’re all used to the weird winters here in New England, so just pull up your boot straps and get it done.
March is going to be a very busy month for NHLA, as we have three events we are working on, for the membership. The first event is the NH Arborist Annual Meeting in Concord on March 17. We have partnered with them to bring Dr. Michael Dirr to New Hampshire. He will be giving two talks at the event. Registration will be through the Arborists Association. We will send out the information as we receive it. The second event is the Spring Landscape Conference in Manchester on March 20. I know the Education Committee has been working very hard to plan a meeting based on your suggestions. They are stepping outside the box and going in a little different direction. It looks like a great line up. Don’t miss it! Keep an eye on the Newsletter and website for more details.
And finally, we have a members only NHLA Hardscape Conference, at Milton Cat in Londonderry, on March 24. We’ve had many requests for hardscaping, so don’t miss it. NHLA received a grant from the Northeast Hardscape Expo to help put on this event. Registration will be limited, so keep an eye out for the registration information in our Newsletter and on our website. The Education Committee is also working on setting up the 2020 Twilight Meetings. If you have ideas, please contact Cris Blackstone, our Education Coordinator.
I have been in contact with the state agriculture teachers and they are excited about working with NHLA again this year. They are looking for a few NHLA members to help out at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Competition, at UNH on March 19. The members would help with the testing and the correcting of the test. It will be a day to give back and help the future of our industry in New Hampshire. They are also asking for a few professionals to talk at the FFA State Convention at the Mount Washington Hotel, on April 2. Bill Gardocki and I attended this event last year and had an opportunity to speak to about 85 students. I will offer to ride up with anyone who might be interested in speaking to the students. Who knows, you might find the rock star employee you’re looking for this year. Please contact me directly at email@example.com.
Finally, I want to thank all the committee members who attended our first annual Appreciation Dinner on January 8. We enjoyed a great family-style meal from Olive Garden. It was a great night to chat with all the hardworking people who put on our events and serve on the Board. We would not have NHLA without them. Thank you!
Save the Date – Golf Tourney – Tuesday, August 4, 2020!
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Breault
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Welcome to winter everyone! As I sit here, in my home office, writing the notes for the start of a new year, I want to take a few minutes to look back over 2019. We experienced some crazy weather this past year. We were wet and cold most the spring, which led to a late start on summer. Summer was very short. Fall brought the rain again. The snow started early, but melted quickly. It had everyone rushing around for fall cleanups. We just finished with turkey and the fixings, and then Mother Nature came knocking on the door. WHAM! She hits with a 20+ inch blockbuster storm. It was not what you want, for the first storm of the year. A 48-hour storm is very difficult to train rookies. Let’s hope that the rest of the winter is a normal, enough snow to keep everyone busy, but not overwhelming.
I can’t believe another decade has done by! My wish for the New Year is better weather, a renewed workforce, and an abundance of work. I say this as I have heard from a few contractors that 2019 was a GREAT year for them, but they are all tired. I think the weather has a huge effect on all of us and creates unwanted stress. Our customers do not realize how hard it is to deal with the weather. They just want to get the job done, whether it’s spreading loam in the rain or dealing with the quick sand pit, from fresh gravel in the puddles. I want to wish all of you a prosperous 2020!
We have been working hard to bring many exciting opportunities this year. Don’t miss our Joint Winter Meeting, on January 15, with the NHPGA and UNHCE, at the Grappone Center, in Concord. It looks to be a great day of education and catching up with old friends. Let’s just think about sunshine for that day, so we can all get there safely and enjoy the day.
March is going to be a very busy month. We have our annual Spring Conference with UNHCE, on March 20, at the Puritan Conference Center, in Manchester, one of our most popular events. This year we are responding to input from many members we heard from recently, including at the Annual Dinner. Planned sessions include workshops on health, safety, and wellness, including first aid and occupational therapy. Join us for a day full of education, networking, checking out new services and products, and connecting with old friends. Information on that event will be available in the February Newsletter and online soon. I hope to see you all there.
We also received a grant from the Northeast Hardscape Expo and are organizing an NHLA Hardscape Education Day, on March 24, at Milton Cat, in Londonderry. This will offer NHCLP, NCMA, and ICPI credits. It is a full program, 7:30 am-2 pm and will feature some great educational sessions on design, hardscape tools, technology, small engine maintenance and repair, as well as a roundtable discussion moderated by Bill Gardocki. This event will also include a tour of the Milton Cat. You don’t want to miss it. Cost of the event is $30 per person. Registration will be limited to 50 participants, so sign up early.
The NHLA Board has also been working with the NH Arborist Association. Their annual meeting will be held on March 17 at the Grappone Center, in Concord, with a very special guest speaker, Dr. Michael Dirr. He will be giving two talks that day and will also have his brand new book, The Tree Book, for sale and will be giving autographs. It is a great resource book to have on your shelf. So once again, keep your eyes on the Newsletter for information about the meeting. It will be a Saint Patty’s day to remember.
Lastly, UNHCE is hosting a two day class on Landscaping for Water Quality on March 26 and 27. Keep your eyes open for more details.
March is raining with many educational opportunities.
NHLA is trying very hard to bring you new and exciting education classes. This is not an easy task, as it takes a lot of time and effort to find speakers and organize the events. The committee is always working several months, in advance. I know they are currently finalizing the March meeting and working on Twilight events. So here is my annual plea to get a few more members to get involved in the different committees, we have at NHLA. We are always in need of committee members to help out with our programs. Please consider being on a committee for a year and help make a difference in the landscape community.
I want to welcome Abby Zuidema, as our new Certification Coordinator. Some of you might already know Abby, from the Thompson School and also the four year school. She has also been teaching some of our summer classes. She is taking over for Patty Laughlin, the past coordinator and Scot Flewelling, who was our interim coordinator. Abby has an extensive background in the landscape industry and will be a great addition to the NHLA family. She will help the certified program move forward, in the future. So if you see Abby at our events, please stop by and welcome her to the NHLA.
It’s getting late and Minnie is asleep, on the desk, as I finish up these last few words. I would like to wish you a healthy and Happy New Year, on behalf of the NHLA Board.
“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.” — Melody Beattie
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Hello from Jim and Minnie, the cat. Yes, that’s right, Minnie is here again helping me with my notes. She helps me to stay focused on getting my notes done and to the editor. For those of you who have pets at home, you know what it’s like to get home from a crappy day and be greeted like there’s not a problem in the world. We all should take a page from the book of pets, and live a little happier.
The NHLA board has been working very hard this year. We just had our November board meeting and have some exciting news to share. We had Bob Allen, president of the NH Arborist Association, and Joe Davis, past president of the NH Arborist Association, join us at the meeting. They would like NHLA to partner with them, for their March meeting, at the Grappone Center, in Concord, NH. They have secured Dr. Dirr for the event.
Michael A. Dirr, Ph.D. is a horticulturist and a professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia. He is an expert on woody plants. He will be doing two talks that day and will be selling and autographing his new book. Bob shared a copy with us and it will be an awesome addition to anyone’s book shelf. So please keep an eye out for the information about this great opportunity, in this Newsletter and on our website. This is something you don’t want to miss.
The Education Committee has informed us the Joint Winter Meeting on January 15 has a great lineup. Check out the details in this Newsletter and on our website. I hope to see you all there. They are also currently working on the March meeting and are looking for exciting ideas for the 2020 Twilight Meetings. So if you have ideas for educational programs, please contact Cris Blackstone or anyone on the Education Committee. They would be more than happy to take your ideas and turn them into reality. If there is anyone out there who would to help on that committee, please contact Cris Blackstone.
In closing, I want share my recent trip to the Green Industry Expo and Hardscapes North America, in Louisville, KY. I was out there for work, as we are always looking to find the latest and greatest new products. This is a show that should not be missed, as it has everything you can think of for your business. There are educational classes going on all the time and the Breakfast of Champions is awesome. Yes, I did say breakfast, so don’t let the late nights get in the way. The breakfast meetings are in a round table discussion format. It is a great way to learn about what other professionals are doing around the country and how they can help you out. If you have said to yourself, “I’d like to go to the GIE, but don’t have time,” then you need to make time. It is all in one place and a great deal of fun. It is definitely worth the trip.
Well, that’s all I have and Minnie is now sleeping on the desk. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a very Happy and Healthy New Year!
You can’t change the past, but all of us have the power to change the future. — Michael Hyatt
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Well, here we are in apple and pumpkin picking season. School has been back in session for over a month, and we’re all getting ready for the winter season. I hope everyone has had a great year so far and will finish strong. I know it has been a difficult season for many — we are looking forward to and hope for a great 2020.
I wanted to let everyone know about the Dinner Meeting and what a great topic we have for you this year. It is a subject that many of you have said we should be talking about, and that is PRICING! Titled Understanding What You’re Worth, the presentation will be given by Wayne Lamarre LEED AP. Wayne is owner and head strategist at Contractor Fuel, where he helps contractors raise their visibility and value, making it possible to earn more money and work with better clients.
With over two decades of experience in the landscape industry, Wayne’s mission is to help contractors and service providers succeed through improved communication, sales processes, messaging, service delivery, and estimating practices.
Wayne is also a founder at Reviewzio (reviewzio.com), a new venture designed to help contractors and other small businesses acquire and leverage the power of online reviews to earn more business. You can learn more about Wayne at contractorfuel.com/waynelamarre/.
The Education Committee had done a great job on the Twilight Meetings this year, and we’re looking forward to next season. I know you hear this all the time and you are going to hear it again. Please let the Education Committee know what topics YOU would like see in the coming year. They are currently working on both the Joint January Meeting and the Spring Conference in March.
It’s now membership renewal time of year. This is where you, all the members, come into the equation. We need to build our membership in the upcoming year, and we cannot do without you. I know I have said this before but you are the best way to get new members. You know how important NHLA is to you and how it has helped you in one way or another. The mission of the New Hampshire Landscape Association is to create a community of dedicated professionals committed to a sustainable environment, improving knowledge, skills, and professionalism. We accomplish this by enhancing our public awareness of general, economic, and legislative issues and developing our appreciation of the Green Industry, in New Hampshire. We provide educational opportunities, networking, and much more.
We have made some great changes in the past year and have more to come. Like I said last month, we need to train the younger generation in the industry. We also need to get the younger generation to become members, so they can benefit from our experience and also share their new ideas with us.
Happy Thanksgiving! Have a great fall season!
“Change is the end result of all true learning.” — Leo Buscaglia
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Hello Everyone! I can’t believe another month has already past, since our summer of crazy weather. One day it’s 98° and humid, the next it’s pouring rain and then the next day, it’s 74° and perfect. Well, that’s Mother Nature for you. You can’t beat Mother Nature, but we can definitely work with her. I hope the rest of the season is, as good as, the first half and that you end it with great pride in what you’ve accomplished.
As I sit here in my backyard on a perfect Sunday afternoon, I’m looking at a perennial bed that needs to be cleaned out or just thinned. I think back to the days when I worked in the field, getting the job done to make the customer happy. I do miss it, but don’t want to go back, as it is a young person’s game. We are all getting older and need to train the next generation. I will be working with the NH AG teachers, again this year, trying to get them on board with NHLA. We need to help prepare today’s student and get them excited about careers in horticulture. I look back over the last 36 years and wonder how the hell I got through each season. I look back to the people who got me to where I am today. I would like to say “Thank You.” I will keep you all posted on the progress with the AG teachers.
It has been a long week, with a trip to northern Vermont, to work with an upcoming container nursery. Then we had the 6th Annual NHLA Golf Tournament, which was a great success again this year. I hear that Paul James had a great tournament, scoring an Eagle on the 14th hole. As anyone who has played Candia Woods knows, the 14th green is one of the hardest to play, since you can’t get the ball to stay where you want it. Any ball hit on that green rolls to the back left corner all the time. Nice job Paul!
I think the tournament is getting better each year. It was great to see so many familiar faces – people who have been playing for years. We met our goal for the tournament despite having slightly fewer golfers. The weather for the event was probably the best we’ve ever had. The beach towel each player was given, as a thank you, was well received. They were compliments of the tournament sponsor, Millican Nurseries, who has been the tournament for years. We at NHLA would like to say “Thank you” for your continued support. We are looking forward to next year!
As I write, we are looking forward to two more Twilight Meetings this season, one on August 21 and the other on September 25. Both are very interesting topics and should not be missed. I hope to see you there!
Our Education Committee works very hard all year round to plan these events for you. Our new Education Coordinator, Cris Blackstone, and the committee are working hard to finalize the details for the Joint January Meeting. Please reach out, if you have ideas for speakers or topics.
Well, that’s it for now, as I do not have anything else to say and it is now 9 pm. You’re all wondering why it took me six hours or so to write a short note. Well, that’s because I hosted a team barbecue, at the house. As most of you know, I have a very strange hobby. I belonged to a pumpkin chunking team, called the American Chunker. We built an air cannon to shoot pumpkins for distance and did extremely well in competition. We are 3-time World Champions and World record holder for distance. We shot a pumpkin 4,694.68 feet. We are now retired! It was great to see the guys today and just hang out. I’m sharing this because it’s all about teamwork. The Green Industry is the same. We all don’t have to do everything, but we need to work as a TEAM of employees, companies, vendors, and manufacturers to make what you do every day, possible.
“There is no “I” in “Team,” but there is an “E” for “Everyone.” A team achieves more when everyone contributes. — Robert Cheeke
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Hello to everyone, I am sitting here thinking what I should say in the Newsletter. I really do not have a lot to say this month. Those of you that know me well would probably say Jim always has a lot to say. Well today in going to be different, as I just got back from an amazing vacation to Park City, Utah, with a stop at the Grand Tetons, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The scenery in this part of our country is just breath taking. The wildlife just roams free and the mountains look like they were painted in place. I would suggest that if you have not traveled out west, to do so and see this great country. The craziest thing about the whole trip is there is still snow in the mountains. They had 500 inches of snow this past winter. To the people who plow in NH, I don’t think you would want a winter like theirs.
Well let’s get down to business. We have a new Education Coordinator. Cris Blackstone is very excited to take on the challenge of replacing Jon Batson. Jon has played a huge part in the education of NHLA, for the last 14 years. He is going to stay on and help Cris settle into the position. Cris comes with numerous great ideas and many connections to other organizations that can benefit the NHLA. The Board and I met with Cris at the July meeting and talked about what we would like the Education Coordinator to focus on in the years to come. Cris will take over in September, as our new coordinator. So if you see Cris around, please welcome her to this new adventure. UNH Cooperative Extension will also have some new faces. Jamie Roberge and Jonathan Ebba will take over for Cathy Neal, who will be retiring later this year. Cathy will be missed, as she has been a great help, to Jon and NHLA over the years. Jamie stopped by the July Board Meeting to introduce herself and share some ideas she has about working with NHLA.
These are exciting times in the NHLA as we are opening new chapters with education and with the Certification program. Scot Flewelling has agreed to step in as the interim NHCLP coordinator, while we look to find a permanent coordinator to replace Patty Laughlin, who is stepping down in August. If you are a certified and a member of NHLA, or work for a member, we would like to hear from you. This is a paid stipend position and requires about 8 hours a month and couple of meetings. Please contact me directly and we can talk more.
By the time you receive this Newsletter, we will have had our 6th Annual NHLA Golf Tournament. I just want to take a minute and thank everyone involved, who work very hard to make this a successful event. The guys on the committee will agree with me that the bulk of the work is done behind the scenes. My wife and your business manager, Pam Moreau, is one of the biggest reasons the day goes off without any problems. So please when you see her say “Thank You for all your hard work.”
The Dinner Meeting Committee is making the final plans for the November meeting. Save the date! November 12, 2019. More details will be coming your way.
There are a couple of Twilight Meetings left in the season, August 21 and September 25. Please check the details on our events calendar at nhlamain.wpengine.com/.
Also, please update your profile on the website, if you have not already done so. You need to login with your email address. Use your email address listed on the directory, then click lost password and you can create a new unique password. If you have questions, please email Pam, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The new website is working very well, as I have heard from a few members that they are getting leads from the web page. Please remember to continue creating those amazing landscapes in NH. Have a great end to the summer season, as the fall is not far off.
— The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it. ~ Anonymous
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Here we are in the midst of the summer heat or what is supposed to be the heat of the summer. We’ve had plenty of rain and the temps have not been the scorchers that we’ve had in the past. The weather has been great to work in, when it’s not raining. The nightly rain storms are the best has they’re gone by morning and we can still get to work. Speaking of work, the NHLA Board is working hard for you.
The first thing that we have completed is the talks about the merger between NH Plant Growers and NHLA. After reviewing the votes and much discussion, we have decided to not to merge with NH Plant Growers. We carefully considered the pros, cons, and your comments. We spoke with the NH Plant Growers and they totally understand. This does not mean we cannot revisit a merger, or joining, in the future. We will continue to work with them for the Joint Winter Meeting and invite them to our educational events.
We are also working on getting a new Education Coordinator for NHLA. We actually have a member who is very excited about taking on this position, but we have not finalized anything, yet. We have invited this member to our July board meeting to discuss the position and ideas. This position has a very large pair of shoes to fill, as Jon Batson did a phenomenal job. So please keep an eye out for the next Newsletter, as we’ll reveal the new Education Coordinator. This is a position that requires a lot of planning to organize the conferences and the Twilight Meetings. So with that said, I would ask again if there is anyone who would be interested in being on the Education Committee. The new head of the Education Committee is going to need help. The committee has two Twilight Meetings, so far, this season. The first is at The Stone Trust, on June 26, and the second is at Swenson Granite, in Concord, on July 17. They’re working on a few more. Please contact the Education Coordinator if you have an idea for a meeting.
There is another position that NHLA needs to fill, as Patty Laughlin is stepping down from her role, as the Certification Coordinator. I am asking anyone who is certified, or has an employee who is certified, to think about becoming the coordinator. This is another very important job within NHLA. It requires an organized person to maintain the paperwork for all the certified professionals, organize classes, maintain the calendar of events, organize the testing sessions, and set up and lead monthly meetings. If you know anyone interested in taking over this position, please contact me directly, so we can talk.
Well I guess that is enough on what we are doing in the Board room. We hope that the members are happy with the direction the Board is taking NHLA. We want to do what’s best for the Association.
There’s one more thing that we’re working on, and that’s increasing membership. So I ask for your help in recruiting new members. Some of the benefits of membership include: education, leadership, scholarships, networking, public promotion, advertising, and our monthly Newsletter, to name a few. We feel our membership is made up of experienced and respected landscapers and companies across New Hampshire.
I want to share a short story with you about a friend and his son’s yard. I was asked to take a look at his son’s irrigation system, as he thought there was something wrong with it. Well of course I said yes and went to look. This system had supposedly been started for the season, by an irrigation contractor. The contractor charged $100.00 to do the start up. I looked at the system zone by zone. In the first zone, I immediately found four heads that were leaking around the seal and needed to be replaced. I went through the whole system, only to find four more heads that needed to replaced and three leaks in the yard, from broken pipes. Remember, a professional came and did their job for $100.00. My friend’s son is now looking at spending more than double that to get it done right. This is one reason we feel education and networking is so important. If you have a question, you have a membership full of knowledgeable people to ask for help. The contractor who did this work makes the rest of the industry look bad. So I thank you for taking pride in the New Hampshire’s Green Industry.
“The only mistake you can make is not asking for help.”
— Sandeep Jauhar
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I can’t believe it’s already June. Thankfully, it has stopped raining. I know that the last couple of months have been very hard to keep on task, since the weather has not been landscaper friendly. Someone said to me the other day, it feels like we live in the northwest. Well, we all know that this is New England and the weather will change. I know that I had a hard time getting the mulch down at my house; it took three weeks to complete because of the rain. However, I do find that working in the yard, doing what I love to do, is really calming. I leave the phone and everything else behind, as I try to disconnect from the everyday rat race of my job. We all have a difficult job to do, as the demands of our clients get higher and harder to achieve. So keep moving in the right direction and live every day to the fullest. It is all going to be just fine.
I want to keep you posted on the different things we are working on in 2019. The first thing is that we are still in talks with the Plant Growers, but we have not come to a final decision yet on the next step. They joined us at our June board meeting, and we discussed a few options to think about. This is a big step and we want to make sure we are doing what’s best for the members and the Association. So keep an eye out for July’s Newsletter to know the final decision on this matter.
We are also working on more benefits for our members. Since we now have a new website, we are looking for ways to offer more educational information to our members and the general public. Wayne Lamarre, from Contractor Fuel, joined us at our May Board Meeting and some shared great ideas. He talked about having informational pages on the website that only members can access, for vital information. This could range from employee retention, to making sure you have the right insurance for your company. He also talked to us about creating both informational and educational podcasts on different topics. He is going to work with us on creating a plan to move forward. We are trying to make our website a useful tool for all.
I will keep you posted on the progress.
As you all know, NHLA created a voluntary certification program for landscape professional in New Hampshire, almost 20 years ago. The program is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills necessary to be a professional in the landscape industry and to increase industry professionalism and use of best practices through continuing education.
This program has been very successful over the years. The coordinator, Patty Laughlin, and the committee have worked very hard over the past few years to update the manual and the program. I am sad to say that Patty will be stepping down, as the NHLA Certification Coordinator, in August. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family. Patty’s husband, Alan, is a U.S. Marine and has been deployed for some time. I first want to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country. Patty is going to be greatly missed, as she has done an incredible job getting the certification program to where it is today. We hope to continue seeing Patty at NHLA events, in the future. I would like to say thank you for all of your hard work over the years.
Let’s hope that the summer is better than the spring was. We all need to look at what we do every day as a gift and learn not to waste it.
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
It has been a long and crazy winter. Now that spring is here, we are off and running. Some of us are still waiting for snow to melt and others for the ground to dry up. Overall, I think we are happy to see the end of winter. We can now look forward to a great season of doing what we do best. I know that for the first time, in a very long time, I have my yard ready for mulch and it is only April 8 as I write.
Merger Update: I want to update you on the status of the merger vote with the New Hampshire Plant Growers Association. We had a total of 47 NHLA votes. I was very disappointed with the turnout. I want to thank those members who took the time to vote. We especially appreciated your comments. They helped us make our final decision. After much discussion with the Board, we do not have enough votes to move forward with a complete merger. We will be meeting with NHPGA to go over the results and discuss other options. The Board wants to do what is in the best interest for the members of NHLA. I will keep you posted in next month’s Newsletter.
As you know, we’ve been working with the state agriculture teachers on creating a standard certification exam. They gave their first certification exam at UNH, on March 14. The NHLA Certification Committee played an instrumental role in finalizing the exam for the students. I want to thank the committee for their hard work to get this exam ready in a limited time frame. The agriculture teachers now have a uniform exam they can give to their horticultural students. I have sent Janet Rosequist some information on internships for these students. Bill Gardocki and I attended the state FFA convention on April 12. Bill talked to students about landscaping as a career, hopefully to inspire some future NHLA members and some potential employees for the upcoming season. I will have more information in the next month.
Last, but definitely not least, Jon Batson is stepping down as our education coordinator after 14 years. He has done a tremendous job! On behalf of myself and the board, I want to say “THANK YOU”! Jon has worked tirelessly to make sure that the committee stayed focused. He has made sure we’ve had both January and March conferences, as well as, several Twilight Meetings each year. Jon will continue to serve NHLA, as an Education Committee member. Next time you see Jon Batson, please say thank you for all the hard work.
I say this every month, so here I go. We need YOU to become active and participate in YOUR Association. We need to replace Jon, with a new education coordinator. This is a paid stipend position, and anyone who is interested, please contact me personally.
We are also looking for a few more members to join the Education Committee. There is strength in numbers. We appreciate your time! Remember to live, laugh and love a little more each day.
by Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Well, the rodent in PA did not see his shadow, so spring will be early this year. I still have my doubts, as it has been a very strange winter, so far. One day it is -5° and next, it’s 60° and sunny. I’m with the rest of the crowd, as I want an early spring so we can all get back to doing what we love to do. As I sit in my home office, with my crazy cat, Minnie, who likes to help me write my President’s Notes, I think back to a very wet and cold fall which we’d all like to forget. This year is going to be another busy season in the landscape industry. I am hearing from a lot of people that things look good and the phone is still ringing. So I just want to wish everyone a great season.
The NHLA Boardroom has been busy, and we are working very hard to make NHLA better for all our members. The biggest thing is the website, which I have spoken about before. It is complete and looking great. Please remember to go in and update your information, as it is how potential customers are going to find you. Log in directions can be found in this Newsletter (page 1). If you have any trouble with the new site or things that need to be fixed, please email Pam Moreau and she can help you out. This is going to be a great tool for the members, as it will be easier for people to find you.
Hort Program in NH Prison System
At the February board meeting, we met with Dan McDonough, from the State of NH, Department of Corrections. He is a re-entry administrator for the prison system here in NH. He spoke to us about starting a horticultural program in the prison system, which will help inmates that are re-entering the public sector start a career in the Green Industry. He is looking for any and all input from the membership. I look at this as a great way to possibly find some labor force, which is so lacking in the state. He told us that the inmate population has asked for some type of education program in the landscape industry. Dan would like to get a program started and is looking for instructors who would be willing to teach a few classes. This is a great opportunity for NHLA to help in the community and give someone a second chance. If you are interested in doing anything that can help, please free to contact me and I will get you more details. This could work out to be a paid position for the right person, who likes to teach and wants to make a difference. I want to say one more thing before you say, “I don’t want an ex-convict on my job site”. These men and women are on parole and have to hold to strict rules or it is back to prison. I feel that with the help of us at NHLA, we can give someone a great paying career. Who knows, they may be your best employee. Everyone deserves a second chance!
We had a meeting to discuss this topic at the Joint Winter Meeting, which was attended by members of both organizations. I believe it helped everyone to understand that we are still in the early stages of getting this done. We are going to have a vote at the NHLA Spring Conference, to see if OUR membership is willing to go forward with the merger. There will be much to do, since we’d be looking at a name change, logo change, redoing the by-laws, the website, and much more. We are going very slowly with this process, as there is a lot to do, and we want to get it right. We are also looking into how we are going to pay for this whole thing, as you all know change can be expensive. We need ALL of the membership to vote. Please VOTE HERE. There is also a ballot in the March-April NHLA Newsletter.
Please also read Dave DeJohn’s post on the merger. This is extremely important, and if you have any questions or concerns please contact any Board member. Their information is located on the Leadership page.
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Well, we are already down, one month, and Mother Nature is not playing very nice with us again this winter. By the time you receive this Newsletter, the rodent in PA would have told us to look forward to another six weeks of winter. Let’s all hope Phil is wrong and we can get an early start this spring. We all have more leaves than usual to clean up this year, as some fall cleanups did not get done, “thanks” to the early snow. Well, with the hope of spring on its way, we turn to the NHLA Spring Conference, on Friday. March 22. This is going to be a very important meeting. I encourage all members to attend. We will be voting on a very important issue, the merging of NHLA and NH Plant Growers.
The merger or joining of the two associations is very important, and we need as much input as we can, from the members. This meeting will end all discussions on the issue, as the vote will take place at the meeting. We are going to send out an email, with the ballot, so you can vote, even if you are unable to attend the meeting. The results will be in the May Newsletter. I feel this is a very good move for both organizations, as we are both experiencing a decline in membership. This will give us more help and ideas for different events and educational opportunities. We as an organization need to look at it as a way to strengthen NHLA. You know what they say about strength in numbers. If you have any concerns and/or questions please feel free to email me or call me directly.
Well, the NEW website is finally up and running. It went live just after the New Year. It looks awesome! Now we need your help! The old site was almost 10 years old and some of you have never logged in to update your company information. Our Professional Directory is now searchable by specialty areas, as well as, name, company and city. For example, you now do landscape lighting and irrigation, but no longer do snow removal. Please take a few minutes to update your data. We want the consumer to be able to find you!
You should have received an email explaining how to log into the site and how to update your membership information. If you have not, please email Pam or Carolyn. This website was long overdue and we should be good for at least another 10 years.
I just want to say THANK YOU to the website committee, Pam, Carolyn, Annette, Maria, and Dave, as they’ve work many, many hours over the last ten months.
I want to update everyone on the status of the NH Agriculture teacher project. A few members and I met with the group, on January 12 in Alton, NH, to start the process of creating a high school student certification. We had some great discussions. The teachers are extremely motived to make this happen. I hope to have more information for you next month.
Lastly, we still need your help with getting new members. I know all of you know at least 1 or 2 people in the industry, who are not members. Please talk with them and let them know the benefits of becoming a member. We are working on change! One change is more benefits to you, for being a member. The question I hear all the time is “What’s in for me?” New Hampshire Landscape Association’s mission is to create a community of dedicated professionals committed to a sustainable environment, improving knowledge, skills, and professionalism. We accomplish this by enhancing our public awareness of general, economic, and legislative issues to develop our appreciation of the Green Industry, in the state of New Hampshire. In working on our mission, our next goal is to work on more education opportunities for the members. This is where you come in. I know we are all busy, but I am busy, too. I am making the time to work for you, throughout the year. All I’m asking is for an idea for a Twilight Meeting or a speaker for the conferences or the dinner meeting. I am sure that you have said to yourself, I would like to learn more about that?
“You only get out what you put in. Don’t expect more until you do more.”
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I can’t believe we are at the beginning of a new year. I, for one, am glad to see that 2018 is over. It was a tough year, with the passing of several friends, co-workers, and customers. I look back and think of the all memories and remember what they’ve taught me over the years. It helps me keep them near and dear to my heart. I know that we all have had something like this happen to us, this past year. I would like to say that time is precious so make the most of it! You never know what tomorrow brings! I want to wish everyone a healthy, Happy New Year and great growing season!
We have been very busy here, at NHLA, with the new website and working on the possible merger of NHLA and NHPGA. The winter meeting is January 16 and I encourage everyone to try and make it. We are going to present what a possible merger would look like and how it would affect both associations. We will answer any and all questions you might have. I think I have said this before, but this is not a done deal until the membership of both associations have voted. So with that said, we will have the official vote, in March, at our spring meeting. Please feel free to contact the Board, if you have any questions regarding this proposal.
The website should be up and running by now, so and please take a few minutes and check out the new site. Please verify your membership information and update, if necessary. We will be sending out instructions. There have been many of hours spent to make the new website right, but we are all human. The committee has done a great job and I want to say THANK YOU for your hard work.
We are looking at 2019 and want to do the best we can for our members. Please remember, YOU are part of this membership and your voice counts. The Board makes up less than 2% of the association. All the committees together, make up less than 10% of the association. We need to hear your voice, to know what you would like to see happen with the association. We have had several successes in the past five years. Our annual golf tournament has been a huge success and our largest fundraiser. We brought back the Dinner Meeting last year, and have had a great response. We continue to have our winter and spring meetings and several Twilight Meetings throughout the summer. These events are possible because of a few dedicated members, and the help of the UNH Cooperative Extension, who work very hard to make sure these programs go off without a hitch. We need YOUR ideas and YOUR help, to continue to meet YOUR needs. We are working hard to streamline the committees. We recognize that traveling to a meeting is not always possible or convenient, so we have the ability to use ZOOM, a teleconferencing system, for meetings. We are hoping this will allow more people to become committee members, which in turn will generate more ideas. Please contact me if you would like to help out on the Education Committee, for 2019, and help make the NHLA an educational resource for the industry in New Hampshire.
A new source of employees! We have been in talks, with a few high school Ag teachers, in the state. We’ve shared our Certification Manual with them, so they could review it and write a proposal for an Ag Curriculum, statewide. The draft proposal was created and shared by all. They sent us a copy and we were very impressed. The next step is to work on questions, for a formal certification test. We will have a meeting, on January 12, to start this process. I will keep everyone posted in the February newsletter.
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift…that’s why they call it the present.”
– Alice Morse Earle.
Please take time for family and friends because time goes to too fast.
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
The NHLA Board has been very busy the past few months. We have some great opportunities coming for our members. The first project we are very close to finishing is our new website, which has long been overdue for an update. The committee has been working very hard to get this done, in a timely manner. This website is going to be user friendly and allow the general public to access the membership so they hire NHLA professionals. So look for the notice that the new site is up and running. I want to thank the committee members: Pam Moreau, Maria Rainey, Dave DeJohn, Annette Zamarchi, and Carolyn Isaak for a great job. Thank you for your time and commitment.
The second project is the discussion of a possible merger of the NHLA and NHPGA. This merger has been in the talking stage for several months, and is far from being a done deal. We need to get both Associations to get together to discuss, vote on, and approve the merger before we move ahead. We need the membership to attend the January Joint meeting to be a part of the discussion and then attend/vote at the Spring Conference, in March. This is going to be a long process, and we do not want to rush into anything without the approval of the membership. So I ask you to vote on this matter and please contact me if there are any concerns with this merger. Remember that it is your Association and you need to VOTE. Please read the article from Dave DeJohn, as he has been representing the Board during the merger talks. (See Dave’s article on in the December newsletter, available when you log in.)
A third project is in the works with Janet Rosequist, who is Capstone Facilitator and the former Agricultural Education Director at the Winnisquam Regional Agricultural Education Center. Janet reached out to NHLA for help in starting a certification program for students who take horticultural classes in high school. NHLA will be collaborating with the teachers in the state, to develop a test to initiate a student certification. The State of NH is looking for something, so they have a benchmark for student knowledge. I have met with Janet, and we have come up with some ideas that will benefit both the students and our membership. Some of the ideas are paid internships with member companies, field trips to job sites and/or members facilities, guest speakers in the classroom, and a team of member professionals to mentor/answer questions on specifics that should be taught in the classroom. In the current difficult employee economy, this can only benefit our members. Please contact me if you would be interested in getting involved with this project. We are still in the early stages, but we are going to move forward in 2019.
The fourth project is with the NH Department of Corrections. I have been contacted by Dan McDonough. He is looking to partner with NHLA to help find jobs for skilled inmates who take classes in prison. I have invited him to a Board meeting to provide more information, so you will see more in the January Newsletter.
Our last project is looking at how we can better serve our members. However, in order to do this, we need your help! We’re looking into creating smaller, focus committees for some of the programs, so the commitment is not overwhelming. Our new Dinner Meeting Committee will begin in 2019. We are still looking for people to join the Education Committee to develop programs for our membership. I would like to appeal to the entire membership to think about helping out. A little of your time goes a long way with education. If there is a member, or an employee of a member, who would be willing to give a little time, it will help us provide a well-rounded education program for your benefit. Please contact me or any board member if you are willing to help out.
As you can see, we have had a very busy few months. By the time you get this Newsletter, the holiday season will be in full swing. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and looking forward to the Christmas season.
I would like to leave you with a little message. May you find joy in the holiday season and may we all help our fellow man. Please remember the less fortunate during this joyous season. I want to wish everyone a healthy and Happy Holiday!
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
October – November 2018
Hello to all! As I sit here in our home office trying to think of what I want to say, I am reflecting back to events of the last few days in Massachusetts. They had a gas explosion and fires in one part of the state and a deadly shark attack in another. I sat there on Thursday night like most of you probably did, watching this unfold on the news, wondering how and why this could happen. Thank heavens things like this do not happen every day, but when they do, you see the kindness of perfect strangers offering a helping hand, in any way possible. As the people in those cities and towns pick up the pieces, keep them in your thoughts and prayers. It is good to know there is compassion in the world!
Well, on to the business at hand with the NHLA. There is a lot of good news coming out of the Board room. First, just a reminder, our next Dinner Meeting is on November 13, which is a Tuesday. The topic is going to be about ponds and water features, which should make a big splash in the industry. Charlie, from Chester Hollow Water Gardens, will cover everything from installation to maintenance after they have been installed. Sign up early, as I have a feeling it will be a great meeting.
I know in last month’s notes I asked for people to be on the Dinner Meeting Committee. I just want you to know that we have decided to put the committee together after the holidays. We have a lot going on right now.
The second thing I would like to share with you is that the web site is on track for release sometime around the holidays. The committee has been working closely with Sullivan Creative to get this done. They want to make sure that they cover everything we need in a great website. The new site will be user friendly and will allow you update your information at any time.
There is more good news! The Certification Committee gave their fall exam, on September 8. It was one of the largest groups to take the exam, and we now have 7 new certified. Congratulations to the newly certified professional! They have been invited to the dinner meeting, where they will receive their certificates. (The December Newsletter will publish their names.) It is truly an accomplishment. It takes hard work and dedication to pass the exam. It is great to see that we have so many people interested in the Green Industry. We had 18 people take our summer ID class this year, which is just fantastic. The committee has done a great job with our Certification program. They have put in many hours, creating and updating our manual. I just want to say a special thank you to Patty Laughlin, who is the coordinator, and Mac McPhail and Cori Cahow, the co-chairs, for their continued support!
By the time you receive this Newsletter, we would have had our last Twilight Meeting. I want to thank the education committee for their hard work and dedication in organizing these events, throughout the year. I know it is not easy to come up with something that interests everyone. I would like to offer a challenge! I would like every member/company to come up with one idea for a Twilight Meeting, Dinner Meeting, or a speaker for 2019 and send it to Jon Batson, Pam Moreau, or myself. This committee works very hard to organize the Joint Winter Meeting and the Spring Conference. So next time you see anyone from either of the committees, please thank them for all their hard work. They are dedicated volunteers!
Well, that is all that I have to say for this month. I know that we have a lot of challenges in our day to day lives, so go out there and make the world a little better place. Have a great fall!
Best regards, Jim
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
I am writing to you as we have just finished the golf tournament and it was the best one yet. It was extremely hot and humid, but everyone took it in stride and had a great time. I want to thank the committee members, Chuck, Mike, Alan, Steve, Pam and myself for doing a great job putting together the tournament. I also want to thank the volunteers that came out to help: Bill Gardocki and Lou Ann Poor for running the putting contest. My special helpers Kate, and her friend, Hailey who took a day out of their summer break to give us a hand with the raffle and pictures.
I hate to say it, but the days are getting darker and the fall season is just around the corner. It feels like the days go by faster, as I get older. For some of us, we are moving into winter mode. I just want to remind all of you that do snow work that the NH Salt Symposium is coming up on Sept 11, 2018, at the Grappone Center, in Concord, NH. This is an event you are not going to want to miss, as it contains information about the industry, equipment, and new techniques for being successful. I will be at the meeting with Ted from the Green Snow Pro program to see how we can get this program out to the members. I will keep you posted on the progress. This is going to be a very important program in the near future and NHLA wants to make sure you get all the information to complete the program and get certified. Insurance companies and property managers are already looking for contractors who are certified. So I hope to see you at the meeting, in September.
Please keep an eye out for the November dinner meeting on Ponds and Water Features.
Looking forward to 2019, we are seeking a person or persons to run the Dinner Meeting Committee. It would require coming up with a topic, securing a speaker, and arranging a venue for the meeting. The committee would only take care of one event per year. If you are interested, please contact me via email and we’ll talk.
We are getting closer to completing our new website and it should be live by the end of the year. The committee has been working very hard on getting this up and running for our members. I think that when it rolls out for the first time you will be impressed.
It has been a very long season, with the late start, struggling labor force and crazy weather. Fall can’t come soon enough; we need a break in action, so our employees can get some much needed rest. As I sit here and write to you, I wonder what the next few years will bring, as we struggle with labor issues, rising cost of materials, and lack of time for ourselves. What I mean by lack of time is that we are always on the go, as more demands are made on us. The days of going back to the office, to answer phone calls, are long gone as they are now attached to our hips. The world is in the mode of instant satisfaction and we are in the middle of it. We need to step back and take a few minutes for ourselves; life is too short. Where am I going with this you ask? Just a few weeks ago I went to a funeral of a former coworker. He was one of a kind. He was the type of person you meet in your life that makes you want to be a better person. I know that his last few years were tough, as he fought a disease which eventually took his life. We need to take time for ourselves. We design and create beautiful landscapes for our clients. We need to stop and take a few minutes and “smell the roses.” It’s amazing how good they will make you feel. I hope you take something away from my advice. Please remember that you can contact me anytime via email with any questions or concerns.
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Well, here I am on a Friday night after what seems like a very long week with some missed deadlines and product not getting delivered because of the lack of trucking needed to get it here on time. Anyway, it is the weekend and I plan on getting on my bike and pedaling a few miles to forget the stress of the week. We all need to decompress at some time in this crazy world we call the Green Industry. I find that doing something that you love to do after a long day of hard work is just what the doctor ordered. I can honestly say that this the first time that I will climb on my bike and pedal a few miles. There is something about challenging yourself to climb the next hill or ride 30 miles on a beautiful Sunday morning. I know that I could have used a few rides earlier this season to clear my mind and get a fresh perspective on what I was doing at work. So take a little advice and try to get away from the daily grind and clear your mind.
I know of a way to clear your mind and that is at the 5th Annual NHLA Golf Tournament. This is a great event to have some fun and meet new friends and see old ones too. It is on August 7 at Candia Woods Golf Club. I hope to see you there, as we had our largest turnout last year. This event helps keep NHLA fiscally strong, which allows us to continue with educational programming.
Well, on to the news of what the Board has been up to in the last month or so. We have decided to raise the membership fee to $140.00 from $130.00, to help offset the rising costs of running NHLA. We have not had an increase in a very long time and we think it is needed to keep the organization going in to the future. We also decided to offer a 3-year deal at a discounted rate. You would pay for 3 years at the $130.00 rate for a total of $390.00. We thought this was a great way to get your dues taken care of and you only need to worry about it every three years. So you will see the increase in your renewal for 2019, when you receive your renewal invoice this month. I would like to thank you for your understanding and continued support of the NHLA.
The Website Committee has been working very hard to get your new website finished. They have met several times to make sure it has everything it should to help you and your businesses succeed. Our goal for completion is December 2018.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to the hosts of the two Twilight Meetings. Dennis, at Back Bay Stone, was a great host and treated everyone to a demo on thermal treating stone. Which is not as easy as it sounds; I personally will leave it to the pros. I also want to thank Anthony, at Dirt Doctors, for the tour and insight as to what goes into composting materials and mulch production. Finally, I would like to thank Jon Batson, Cathy Neal, and the Education Committee for all their hard work making the Twilight Meetings possible.
That is all I have for this month. Remember you can contact me with any questions or concerns at email@example.com.
“Remember to reach for the stars every day and enjoy life.”
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Happy 4th of July. It is hard to believe it is already July and we are still all going crazy trying to get work done. It has been a great season so far, and I do not see a slowdown in the industry as far as this year is concerned.
By the time you get this note, we will have had our first Twilight Meeting at Back Bay Stone in Henniker. The next one will be at The Dirt Doctors in Pembroke on July 11, followed by one on July 25 at Strawbery Banke. Keep an eye out for the rest of the schedule on the website and in the newsletter.
Do not forget the GOLF TOURNAMENT is coming up on August 7; we hope to see you there!
Education is our mission, so I am looking for YOUR ideas for Twilight Meetings and the November Dinner Meeting. I think these are a great way to learn and socialize with other members. Last year we had Dan Snow talk about the artistry of stone. Your input is extremely important to us, so please contact a board member with your ideas.
I would like to take a minute to let everyone know, since Thompson School will soon be a fading memory, that NHTI has a great horticultural program. So please if you are interested in taking a design class or other landscape related course, please check it out. I think if we work together with NHTI, we can have a great replacement for the T-School. I am going to try to work with them to come up with a program that would benefit all future employees and owners in the green industry.
As we all know, educating our future is very important to the Green Industry. Please remember, NHLA organizes several Twilight Meetings each year, which offer great education and networking opportunities. NHLA’s members have a wealth of knowledge and love to share projects and ideas. With that being said, I am asking for members to share their ideas with everyone and write an article for the NHLA Newsletter. They do not have to be about your last project. The article could be about a problem you’re having getting good insurance rates or where you found a great marketing source or website designer. If we all think outside the box, we can all help each other in some small way.
Just a brief update on the NEW website! The committee is working very hard to finalize the site map. They have contacted several different people and committees for their input. I have faith in the committee to do a great job! The new site is going to bring a fresh new look to the NHLA. We are always looking for help with articles, news, and pictures for the website, so if you’re interested in helping out, please contact the business manager for details.
My final thought for you to ponder! NHLA is made up of a many talented men and women, who share a passion for the Green Industry! I would like to start a mentoring program for the Association, so the younger, more inexperienced members can connect with seasoned veterans to talk about issues they are experiencing in their business or in the field. We do not have to give away trade secrets, but if one person gets the right answer and becomes a better business person, then we’ve succeeded. If you are interested in helping to get the mentoring program started, please contact me anytime. Just remember one thing; we only go around the Merry-Go-Round once, so make the most of everyday.
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
It is about 10:30 pm and I am sitting down to write this month’s notes. It has been a long day, as I also sit on The Irrigation Association of New England’s board, and we had our meeting tonight. Anyway, now that Mother Nature has finally given up her grip on winter and she has plunged us into spring, with a few 90 degree days, things are moving fast. It is refreshing to see the turf greening up, the PJM‘s flowering and all the other spring colors. Now the real work begins, as we try to finish our cleanups and mulching, all before for the summer kick off, on Memorial Day weekend. I know that we will all be a little happier when the mad dash is over.
As the finish line approaches for spring cleanups, the closer we are to the finish line for the Horticultural program at the Thompson School of Applied Science, along with the other three programs at the school. Many of us have great memory of the T-school. As I said in last month’s notes, by time you get the Newsletter, the issue with Thompson school might be resolved. However; after much research and hard work from the committee, we were too late. The closing had been in process for many years, unbeknownst to us. Unfortunately, the last class is preparing for this year’s finals. They will be the very last graduating class, in May 2019. I have mixed feelings about seeing the last Hort program graduate fade into the sunset. I want to thank all the members who called and wrote letters to the powers to be, at UNH and the State of NH, to get them to reconsider keeping the program. I think Dr. Dirt summed it up very well, in last month’s Newsletter.
Unfortunately, we are also still battling another big issue with the H2B visa program. It is sad to say that this is still on going and nothing seems to be getting done. The secretary of Homeland Security, Nielsen, is looking to release 15,000 visas before the middle of May, which is not going to be enough to supply the needed work force. Please keep contacting your NH congressman and ask to have the cap lifted. This is a problem that is not only affecting the landscape industry but many more industries in the United States. It will affect every one of us as the farmers and fisherman are also going to have trouble getting their work done. This is going to have a lasting effect on of our wallets as prices are surely going up, sometime in the near future.
Well, on to better news, from the board room of the NHLA. We have selected a company to build our new website. The new site will be more user-friendly and help promote members to potential customers. I know the committee has had their first meeting, and we are well on our way to a new web site. The committee is working with Pam Sullivan and her team from Creative Sullivan, in Concord, NH. Creative Sullivan has worked with many nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire. I have faith in the committee to do a great job.
Well, the clock is about to strike midnight and I need my beauty sleep (HA HA) and the cat is wondering why I am still in the office. THANK YOU to everyone for going the extra mile to create the best landscapes possible. Keep up the great work!
By Jim Moreau, CIT, CLIA, CIC, CLVLT
Well, here I go with my first note to you, as the president of NHLA. I hope I do not screw up and ruin all the hard work of the past. First, I would like to say a great big THANK YOU to Dave DeJohn for taking the reins, for the past 28 months. He is going to stay on the board, as the past president, so he will help guide me. Next, I would like to thank the Education Committee for organizing the March meeting. I think the new facility was well received and hopefully next year, Mother Nature goes on vacation during that week. Finally, I would like to thank the board of directors for all their hard work and dedication for the betterment of the Association.
As I sit here and think of all the work that we have ahead of us as a board, I would like to ask for your help. I know that you hear this message from every president, but it is really YOUR association. We sit on the board to help direct the NHLA the best we can, with the help of the different committees. (Education and Certified Professionals) So I would like to ask one more time, please send us your ideas and concerns, join a committee, or attend a board meeting.
The 2018 season is going to be in full swing by the time you read this newsletter. Hopefully, by that time the Feds have taken care of the H2B work visa issue, and we have taken care of the Thompson School issue. We all know how important it is to secure a skilled labor force, especially if we continue to have the abundance of work that we’ve secured over the past few years. We, as an association, need to let both Washington, DC, and our NH Statehouse know how desperate we are for help (see the May NHLA Newsletter.)
Well that’s it from my soap box. I’m not trying to spark a political debate, just trying to help.
The board will be working on several projects in the coming year. The first project will be a new website. We have been talking with several designers and with members. The new site will be much more user-friendly and help promote our members. We will keep you posted on the new site and let you know when it will roll out.
Next is our annual golf tournament, on August 7. I have a hard time believing it will be our 5th tournament. It has been a great success and we look forward to seeing everyone back again, this year.
Finally, the Gateway Project in Manchester, which is revitalization project for a small park in the city. The details of the project were discussed after the March meeting, and I should have more details next month.
Lastly, I would like to say THANK YOU for having faith in me, to take on the role, as president of the NHLA. Please feel free to contact me about any concerns and ideas you may have. I will try, with the help of the board of directors, to do the best job possible for the NHLA.
May your season be the best ever!
By David DeJohn, NHCLP
So, here we are, the last “President’s Notes” you will be subjected to by me, and I promise this one will be short. Two years and four months this time around, four years and four months if you include my stint in 2010 and 2011. Might be some kind of record but who’s counting? I’m happy to have done it and honored that you all, or a least most of you, had the confidence in me to give it another shot. I can’t say I was any better at it this time around, but I think I was more comfortable in the role and was maybe slightly better at running a Board meeting, although that part is debatable, and if there is any truth to it then it’s mostly because Pam, our Business Manager, made it as easy as possible for me by making a few adjustments to our meeting agendas. Thanks Pam!
As I step down and make way for Jim Moreau to take over, I think 2018 finds our Association in good shape, despite a declining membership. We are a strong and viable organization still focused on providing great on-going educational opportunities for our members. With the help of our partners at UNHCE hardly a day goes by that you don’t find some information in your email about classes, seminars, conferences, and workshops to help in furthering your knowledge and keep you updated on the industry. Hopefully over the years I’ve been able to convey how much I love what I do and how important NHLA has been in helping me do it. That’s preaching to the choir though, and the more difficult thing has been to get that message out to a broader audience, to attract new members and have them see the value in becoming a member of NHLA.
This is where we could really use your help. We all know people and companies who are not members and who, in spite of the internet and social media, could really benefit. Well, invite them to a Twilight Meeting, bring them to a conference, include them in your foursome at our Annual Golf Tournament, tell them why being a member has benefited you. And, tell us why being a member has benefited you and give us your ideas for attracting new members. As I’ve said many, many times, this is your organization and we need your input to continually make it better.
Well, that’s it. I can’t thank you all enough for the support and kind words over the last couple of years. For those few who let me know you weren’t too happy with me or what we are doing, all I can say is I tried my best. And the only real solution I can offer is for you to come on board and join a committee or become an officer to make changes and to help lead the way.
Thank you so much to everyone on the Board and on the committees for your dedication, commitment, and support to NHLA. We certainly couldn’t do it without you!
Welcome to Jim Moreau, our new President. Good luck, I know you’ll do a great job. I look forward to working with you in the coming year!
Happy Spring and good luck in the 2018 season!
By David DeJohn, NHCLP
2018 sure didn’t waste any time in the weather department. From the snow Christmas Day to two weeks of record cold and frozen pipes to 50 degrees and flooding, and we’re only half way through the month of January! I have a project I’m still picking away at in Deerfield and I worked that first week between Christmas and New Years. I say worked, but mostly I was chasing tarps carried away by the wind, trying to keep equipment running and thawing out fingers on the truck heater. I did what I could without the use of my excavator but finally gave in when a gust of wind literally picked up my poly wheelbarrow that was holding down a tarp on a stone pile and flipped it about six feet away. So I waited out the week and started back this week when temps started out in the 20s and ended up in the 50s! Crazy.
So, exactly one year ago I wrote in these notes that I wasn’t a fan of the direction I thought this country was taking. One of my biggest concerns among others was the hit that our environment was about to take. The contempt shown for the science around climate change, and science in general, was scary but I hoped that reason would prevail. Well, no such luck. This administration’s assault on the natural world is frightening, callous, and shows a complete disregard for the hard fought gains made since the 70s to clean up our air and water and hold the oil, coal and gas corporations accountable for the pollution they create. Science, education and technology have all played a part in moving us away from a complete reliance on fossil fuels and towards greener energy solutions that will help in reducing carbon emissions. There’s no one perfect solution and fossil fuels will most likely always be a part of the mix but this absolute lack of consideration for anything else and bending over backwards to give the fossil fuel industry everything it has ever wanted is astounding.
We need energy and that’s a fact. It’s what makes everything we do possible, and in that regard every single one of us bears some responsibility for the predicament that our world is in. We can’t ignore it and we don’t have time to wait for “further studies” or because “not all the facts are in.” Regardless of whether or not you believe in climate change, pollution is real; air and water pollution is real; bird and mammal and marine species going extinct at an alarming rate is real (an estimated ¼ of all species in the next 50 years); an average of 1.7 oil spills a day is real (roughly 875 million gallons of oil have been spilled since 1979 worldwide. In this country 9 million gallons have spilled from pipelines alone since 2010). These things are facts that can’t be disputed.
In this country the EPA is the closest thing we’ve got to a Federal watchdog for the environment and though it is an imperfect steward we need it to be able to do it’s job. A job made much harder now that it is being run by a man who once sued that very agency over a dozen times to try and block various environmental rules and regulations. Mr. Pruitt meets daily with executives and lobbyists from the fossil fuel industries, but rarely meets environmental groups and scientists. It’s well known that Mr. Pruitt and this administration in general deny climate change and has announced the intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, “the only country in the world” to oppose the agreement. This is only one of 60 environmental rules and regulations that have been thrown out or in the process of being thrown out.
29 rules have been overturned at the stroke of a pen, some of which include lifting a freeze on new coal leases on public lands, revoking a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining waste and debris into local streams (what!?), approved the Keystone and XL pipelines as well as the Dakota Access pipeline,all of which are part of already existing pipeline routes and have had accidents that have contributed to the 9 million gallons spilled since 2010.
There are 14 proposals in progress to repeal rules such as the Clean Power Plan, repeal a rule under the existing Clean Water Act that protects tributaries and wetlands, a proposal to shrink 10 National Monuments, and an effort to re-access 12 protected marine areas to be opened up to expanded off shore oil and gas drilling and has proposed ending a restriction on exploratory drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For a complete list of these reversals go to www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/05/climate/trump-environment-rules-reversed.html.
This is an administration that is so out of touch with environmental realities that it’s mind boggling. Luckily though the process for rolling back these regulations hasn’t exactly gone the way they want because “in many cases they’ve tried to by-pass formal rule making procedures and skipping steps like notifying the public and asking for comment.” Lawsuits are being filed in an attempt to force the administration to at least follow established procedure to review and change these rules and regulations. There is most definitely a fine balance between energy needs and environmental protection and dealing with climate change, but this administration has almost completely ignored renewable energy as part of that equation. Recently though, Federal regulators rejected a proposal from Energy Secretary Rick Perry to subsidize unnecessary and aging coal and nuclear power plants at the expense of cleaner, more affordable energy options. “The proposed rule was a not-so-thinly veiled effort to prop up dying fossil fuels and undermine modern, clean, renewable energy. Secretary Perry’s proposed rule was but another in a long list of actions by the Trump administration that defy the facts to appease the polluter lobby.” So there is indeed hope.
One of the main arguments that is often put up against preparing for climate change and complying with stricter regulations is that it is too burdensome (meaning it’s easier to pollute than to comply, so just let us) and too expensive. This last part coming from industries that are already heavily subsidized with our tax dollars. Well I think that’s an argument that can no longer hold water now that the 2018 Tax Overhaul has been passed and these Corporations and Industries have been given billions and billion of dollars in permanent tax breaks to supposedly re-invest and create jobs. I really hope someone in Congress will bring up that point the next time these companies start whining about having to install a smokestack scrubber or clean up a toxic waste site or keep debris from a mine from getting into a stream or tributary. Think of all the jobs that could be created by the coal industry alone if they moved to restore the areas devastated by mining and actually began to invest in Green energy technology and brought that to the areas hardest hit by the decline in coal production.
Now, I’m fully aware that I’m speaking in simplistic terms and that there are political and social realities that make all this extremely complicated. However, what’s not complicated is this administration’s seemingly total lack of concern and complete denial for the changing climate and it’s inability to see and understand the value of what little natural world we have left. Some places deserve to be left alone and to remain wild and unexploited.
As stated before, many of these rollbacks and proposals are, or will be, challenged in court and it could be years before they could possibly take effect. At the very least they may be made to follow proper procedures to change the regulations. There are hundreds of State and National groups and associations working everyday to challenge and educate this administration and the public. It bears repeating that as a “Green Industry” Association, along with our partners at the UNH Cooperative Extension and others, we need to be educating and getting educated on these important topics so that we can become the best stewards of the Natural World that we can be. As I said one year ago, we are in a unique position to educate the public, voice our opinions and defend that which we can’t do without. Get involved, make your voice heard!
By David DeJohn, NHCLP
Okay, I’ve procrastinated enough. Time to get these notes written and sent off as deadline is tomorrow. This is one of the rare times when I’m glad it’s still dark at 6:00 in the morning so I can sit at my desk with my coffee and write without being too antsy to get to work!
This December day’s forecast is calling for snow — 1 to 3″ this afternoon and tonight and I’m feeling ready for it. By end of day yesterday all my prep work on two different jobs was complete and materials covered. It was a good feeling to have made my goal and to know that from here on out all I have to do is just show up and build walls. As I mentioned last month the pace will slow down some now and although I still need to get these jobs done I can breathe a little easier, take a little more time. Like yesterday. The conditions were perfect for picking stone with temperatures in the morning in the 20s so the access road was frozen enough to get four loads of stone out before it started to soften up. Once it was too muddy to keep moving stone and rather than start making a mess around the house setting base stones I took a nice long walk out into the woods to explore the 400 acres surrounding the house and discover new caches of stone for future possibilities.
Having just heard Dan Snow give his talk a few weeks ago I felt like I was seeing the rock outcroppings and the walls meandering through the woods with fresh eyes. That’s one of the true, tangible benefits of having an event such as the Dinner Meeting or all the Twilight Meetings we had this past summer, where you can get inspired by such talented speakers and the things they create. Thank you again to Swenson Granite Works for sponsoring the Dinner Meeting and to all those who attended. It was a great turnout and I appreciate the support. A couple ideas have been floated for another one, perhaps up in the Lakes region, so we’ll keep you posted on that. January 17 is the date for our Joint Winter meeting at the Grappone Center in Concord and March 21 is the date for our NHLA/UNHCE Spring Landscape Conference at the Puritan Center in Manchester, so more inspiration is just around the corner!
2017 as predicted was a very busy season and 2018 is looking to be just as crazy (for myself and others I’ve talked to). Right now I have work well into July if not beyond, but I’m hoping it will be a little less chaotic than 2017 was, and I mean that personally, professionally, and politically. Personally, for me, it’s awesome and I have nothing to complain about, but I have been traveling more between here and California to help with aging parents and that’s only going to get more interesting as time goes on. Professionally I’m as busy as I can be and loving it, but running 3-5 jobs at once has got to stop… Yeah, who am I kidding? Politically, all I can say is “What the Hell is going on?”
2017 saw some changes within NHLA and I would like to say a very special thank you to Pam Moreau, our new Business Manager. Pam took over as Business Manager when Guy Hodgdon retired last year and has done a fantastic job of organizing, streamlining, and bringing NHLA into the 21st century! We are very lucky to have you, Pam. Thank You! And thank you to everyone who Chairs and Serves on the committees and on the Board. Your hard work and dedication makes the NHLA what it is.
Happy New Year to you All! Hope you have a great 2018 Season!