March 15, 2015
Nurseries and garden centres taking part in the Grow Me Instead program will display posters such as this one.
Nurseries and garden centres taking part in the Grow Me Instead program will display posters such as this one.
Ed Horlings, owner of Horlings Garden Centre in Peterborough and member of Landscape Ontario, is always looking for new products, information and services for his customers.

In 2013, he discovered Grow Me Instead and decided to bring what he felt was an innovative program to his customers.  

Grow Me Instead is a province-wide program coordinated by the Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC). Its purpose is to educate professional and hobby gardeners about invasive garden plants and non-invasive and native alternatives.

In 2012, a small guide was distributed at gardening events. It soon grew into an outreach program that currently engages over 40 nurseries and garden centres.

“We were pleased to increase awareness of non-invasive and native garden plants through the Grow Me Instead program,” says Horlings. “Our customers appreciate the free educational material.”

This year, OIPC is looking to grow the outreach program. “Our goal is to engage more nurseries than ever this year and connect with some of the bigger stores as well,” says Rachel Gagnon, OIPC coordinator. “The demand for beautiful non-invasive and native garden plants is growing as people learn more about the ecological implications of their gardening decisions.”

Landscape Ontario is represented on the OIPC board of directors by Jeanine West.

Participating nurseries and garden centres receive Grow Me Instead posters, header cards and brochures (countertop stands included) — at no cost to them. OIPC also offers free presentations on invasive garden plants, alternatives and the Grow Me Instead program to staff and/or costumers.

Grow Me Instead nurseries will be promoted on the OIPC website and in related presentations given to gardening clubs and master gardener groups across the province.  

“Offer your costumers the information they need to create beautiful gardens that contribute to the ecological health of your community, while encouraging them to purchase plants at your centre,” suggests Gagnon.  

To join the Grow Me Instead community, contact Kellie Sherman at for more information and to register as a nursery partner.
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