May 15, 2010
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director

I am constantly amazed at the support our Landscape Ontario family enjoys. This industry seems to attract great people who have passion for the horticulture, for their community and each other. The Canada Blooms experience was an example of this.   

We have many ambassadors in the media. Two perennial supporters are Frank Ferragine and Mark Cullen. Both gentlemen deserve recognition for their constant support. They are always willing to talk to the public about our industry and the association. They are always willing to contribute their time.

Recently, Mark sent an email asking me some questions that will be turned into an article in The Toronto Star.  I thought you may be interested in the answers.  

What is Green for Life?

Green for Life is an industry communication program that is designed to raise awareness for the many benefits of gardens, green-space, landscapes and green infrastructure. The public currently understands that plants and gardens are beautiful. As the original green industry, we are enthusiastically sharing our story that beyond beauty, plants and gardens provide economic, environmental, lifestyle, therapeutic, aesthetic, spiritual, community pride, recreational, health and legacy benefits.  

There are so many benefits, that it is actually difficult to tell our story in simple way. I suppose if you boil it down, the message is, “Our members and their activities enhance lives.”

Why do people garden?  

People garden for many reasons. From a personal perspective, I garden because I love plants. I love watching the spring birth of fresh green buds, the vibrant colour and the ever-changing living canvas as the garden continues to grow. I also love the visitors. The birds and butterflies provide great entertainment. Deep down I am moved by the hopefulness, wonder and beauty of it all. Where is the downside? 
Others enjoy gardening because of the opportunity to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. There is great pleasure and fun in reaping the fruits of your labour. The act of nurturing and care offers its own profound rewards. Coming from an Italian background, I watched my grandfather absolutely delight in the whole gardening process from collecting his own seeds, digging the soil, planting, watering, fertilizing, weeding and finally reaping the results (most of which were shared by the rest of the neighbourhood and extended family).  He even took over the half-acre vacant municipal field, beside my parents’ Toronto home, so that he could share the bounty with more people.   

Still, others garden because of the pride they have for their surroundings. They reflect their values and personality to the rest of the community.

Why should they garden more?

They should garden more because of the many life enhancing benefits. The garden will increase the value of property. In our sedentary lifestyle, the health reasons for gardening are very beneficial. This is true, no matter what age or physical shape you are in.  Gardening is also great for the environment. Great savings in energy are possible by providing windbreaks in the winter and shade in the summer. The garden also captures rainwater, saving on the huge municipal infrastructure costs associated with catch-basins and storm water management pipes.  

Many people are becoming aware of the need for environmental stewardship and the serious societal problems associated with climate change, air pollution and water quality. Plants and gardens offer real solutions to all of these problems. Carbon dioxide, the main culprit associated with climate change, is actually a fertilizer for plants. You may recall photosynthesis from your high school science class. Plants use and need carbon dioxide in order to convert energy from the sun into sugars and starches that make up the body of the plant. The side benefits are food, energy and oxygen. In our fast-paced industrial and computer-based lives, we forget about being green for life. As you can see, gardeners have a major role to play in enhancing lives for the future.    

Why should people look up a Landscape Ontario member?

Members of Landscape Ontario commit to a statement of conduct, principles and ethics. In simple terms, Landscape Ontario is a collection of professional companies owned and operated by people who are committed to constantly upgrading their knowledge and skills and who care about their customers, community and employees.   

Is there an LO code of ethics?

The LO statement of conduct principles and ethics can be found at this link:  

How are these standards upheld?

Members of Landscape Ontario must be operating full-time in the horticulture business for at least three years before they can apply for membership. They must also provide proof of business and workers compensation insurance, be sponsored by two current members and commit to a Statement of Conduct, Principles and Ethics. In addition, the association offers many certification and awards programs to help improve competencies. These programs further assist the public in identifying the right professional for their needs and budget.   

The landscape/garden industry is very diverse and provides many opportunities for specialization. Homeowners’ garden and landscape needs are equally diverse. It is therefore essential for the homeowner to recognize how to choose a landscape professional. Landscape Ontario has developed excellent free brochures to help.

Please see: (this guide is for the homeowner) (this guide is for larger jobs on industrial, commercial, institutional, multi-residential and public jobs) (A guide for choosing an irrigation contractor)   

All of these links and more can be found on the website.

What links – besides should readers go to learn more?
Tony DiGiovanni may be reached at