May 15, 2010
Denis Flanagan CLD
Director of public relations and membership services

Denis FlanaganJust like landscaping jobs, public relations opportunities sometimes arrive all at the same time. That’s exactly what happened over the past couple of weeks. On a Thursday, I travelled to Waupoos in Prince Edward County, about 80 km from Kingston.

The purpose of the trip was to visit with a family for a potential Wish Foundation garden. This tied in nicely with my main reason for heading east, which was to take part in a fund-raiser for a community park in Picton. At this event, organized by the local BIA, I was to share the stage with Steve Poole of Connon Nurseries/CBV, Scott Wentworth of Wentworth Design Group and Mark Cullen, representing Home Hardware. The event was based on the CBC radio show, The Debaters, where we each presented topics and spent the rest of the time ridiculing each other in public. Money was raised for a good cause and we had lots of fun.

Speaking of fun, people often think lots of travel is glamorous. I beg to differ. In this case, my overnight stay would remove any false image. I stayed in a room without an Internet connection. This was only one of the electronic malfunctions, that included a pre-war alarm clock that failed to work, resulting in my sleepless night on an ancient mattress, only to be abruptly interrupted by my cell phone ringing at 6:30 a.m. After fumbling around for my unintended alarm device, the voice from the person causing my phone to ring announced he was from a Windsor radio station and wanted me to give a ‘live’ interview to promote the event I was travelling to next. Somehow, I managed to talk with some coherency about garden trends, whilst still tucked in bed.

A welcome stop in Kitchener

A long drive to Windsor was ahead, so I welcomed the opportunity to stop in Kitchener. Here, I gave a presentation at the home show on behalf of the Waterloo chapter. Several members had great-looking displays in the show, and hundreds of Garden Inspiration magazines were handed out at the LO booth. The chapter deserves top grades for its work at the show!

My journey continued west in order to take part in Windsor Blooms, held at St Clair College. What a great event it is, supported by the college and the local landscape industry. They may not have had Martha Stewart in attendance, but the enthusiasm of attendees was tremendous. Every sign in the show proudly displayed the Green for Life brand. Congratulations to our Windsor Chapter and the staff and students of St. Clair for pulling off an amazing event.

To round off the trip, I gave a presentation at the annual Spring Garden Show at Canadale Nurseries in St. Thomas. Wow, what a fabulous example of innovative marketing. During the day, I had a chance to chat with several companies that contributed with some very creative displays. Many showcased LO membership and Awards of Excellence plaques.

The mood among everyone at the Canadale event was extremely positive for the upcoming season. This was nice to hear from a geographical area that has been hit hard during recent economic woes.

My hotel experience this time was quite the opposite, as I stayed in a lovely spot and had the opportunity to meet the owners over dinner. They insisted on giving me a tour of the new property that they purchased next door. It is an old church building they are renovating with plans to hold weddings there. They were inspired by the displays they had visited at Canadale that day, and were keen to find out if our members would be interested in landscaping the building and perhaps turning the whole story into a TV show. Stay tuned!

As I drove into Milton on Monday, my car’s odometer showed 1,200 kilometres for my trip across the province. And, my personal reward miles clocked in at priceless, after seeing the incredible promotional work our members are performing for Landscape Ontario across this province.
Denis Flanagan may be contacted at