August 15, 2011
Shine in the quest for horticultural excellence
The Dunington-Grubb award winning project submitted by Oriole Landscaping has been featured in several consumer magazines.
By Kristen McIntyre CHT
Conference and event coordinator

The days start feeling long at this time of year, as enthusiasm dwindles. Heat and humidity have drained us and it seems like there is no end in sight. You may begin to question if anyone will notice the extra hours you put in redesigning your end cap displays, facing the stone, or positioning every shrub and tree exactly into place. Let me assure you, if you submit images of your work into LO’s Awards of Excellence program, the judges will notice.

LO’s Award of Excellence program provides our members the opportunity to showcase their talents. This industry is alive with creative, skilled and enthusiastic people, and it is our opportunity to showcase the best of our best.  

LO manages several programs, including Retail Garden Centre with 14 categories; Growers with 11 categories and Construction, Maintenance and Design with an astounding 39 categories.

Again this year the judges of the construction, maintenance and design programs will also award Green for Life stamps to projects that qualify. They will look for green practices and the quality of construction, maintenance and design in sustainable landscapes. Criteria such as permeable paving, native plantings, water conservation and re-use, best practices and green roof technology, etc., will be considered.

“The award-winning projects are breathtaking, and they impress me more each year,” says Denis Flanagan CLD, Landscape Ontario’s director of public relations. “Our members consistently demonstrate superior design sophistication and horticultural comprehension, and continue to reach new levels of craftsmanship. To back it all up, these companies are leaders in areas ranging from safety to new technology. “

Winning entries are viewed each year by thousands of people — both consumers and the trade. Award winning projects have been featured on HGTV, in Garden Inspiration magazine, dozens of newspapers and media publications, at Canada Blooms and LO Congress. Photographs have also been used to illustrate articles on numerous websites and in The Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, London Free Press, Toronto Sun, and many more – not to mention numerous trade publications including Landscape Trades and Horticulture Review. Award winning projects and companies are also frequently profiled in Horticulture Review.

Taking great photos that showcase the true depths of your landscape takes time and practice. Most landscape photography experts say that an overcast day is best for taking effective landscape shots. A bright sunny day does not capture the hues and deeper shades in a landscape. Also recommended is keeping shadows in mind – they detract from your picture, and remember to take more shots than you need. It provides you with more options.

Best wishes to everyone for a great season, and remember to take lots of photos on your job sites and at your retail operations this summer. Before shots really help to sell your work. Deadlines are Aug. 31, by 4 p.m. for garden centre program entries, Oct. 3, by 4 p.m. for construction, maintenance, design programs and special award nominations. All entries are submitted at and are open to active and interim members only.

For more information on the Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence programs, feel welcome to contact me directly,, or visit the above-noted website.