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Every year in the dead of winter, something exciting happens in the world of Landscape Construction and Design- iLandscape! Over the last three days, Landscape Contractors, Suppliers, Growers, and Designers have met in Schaumburg to discuss the profession, preview new products, and network with other professionals. There is a renewed excitement and anticipation of the new season. I always enjoy this time, not just because it gets me out of the office during the winter months, but the renewal that takes place. iLandscape is hosted by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association and brings three days of education and tradeshow events. This year’s theme of Elevate is focusing on how to move the industry into a higher level of expertise, production, and performance and yes we also heard from Pete Nelson of Treehouse Masters. We can always do better! The speakers as always were informative and inspiring.

Over the next several blogs, I will share insights, knowledge, and conversations from the days to inspire and uplift during our cold and snowy winter months (look out this weekend!) But, since I can’t keep my excitement in for another whole week, there is one particular piece of knowledge I think would warm up this chilly Friday. “Nuture ecology while feeding ourselves from beautiful spaces.” Brie Arthur; think about that for a moment. Brie is a fabulous speaker and discussed foodscaping- which I will discuss another week but how inspiring. It is never an all or nothing deal. We can create a landscape that works together with aesthetics, native plants (and yes some nativars or ornamentals) and of course edibles that feeds our function, want for beauty and peace, food for every creature great and small including ourselves and revitalizes our ecological desert that is suburbia. We don’t have to bulldoze our yard and start all over- it just takes one plant at a time.

I have one of the greatest jobs in the world- working with nature. It is time we refocus our efforts and work with nature instead of against (Mother Nature can do some amazing things!) And even though I can honestly say, I love my job 98% of the time, there is always a need for collaboration, the spark of new ideas and new ways of thinking to help provide a kick of encouragement. I enjoy being elevated and encouraged. Looking forward to seeing you next week on PlanIt News and in this new and exciting year of 2018 to help you in your backyard and community!

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