The New England Nursery Association (NENA) celebrated the organization’s 100 year anniversary on September 13, 2012 at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Bolyston, Mass. Members from throughout the region gathered to reconnect with friends and colleagues, swap stories, and look at what lies ahead for New England’s commercial horticulture industry.
“NENA promotes and builds relationships. I dare say I’ve learned something from just about every person in this room,” said NENA president, Robin Struck of D.R. Struck Landscape Nursery in Winthrop, Maine in her opening remarks. “I cannot imagine running my business, as I have for more than 25 years, without this organization.”
NENA past presidents, spanning four decades, joined fellow members on a tour of Tower Hill Botanic Garden’s impressive property. The tour of the beautiful display gardens culminated in a commemorative tree planting featuring a Liquidamaber styraciflua ‘Slender Silhouette’. The tree can be see in Tower Hill’s Entry Garden where it will stand sentry for many years to come.
A highlight of the day was a presentation by NENA past president, Pat Bigelow of Bigelow Nurseries in Northboro, Mass. Pat, a third generation nursery owner, inspired the group with an “Affectionate Look at Life in the Nursery Industry,” including her thoughts on bringing the next generation into the business:
“I am often asked, ‘how do you get young people excited about the nursery industry?’ Simple: you share the excitement of that leap of faith you knowingly (or unknowingly) make every spring. There is an exhilaration to jumping off that cliff with your well thought out business plan – then making it through the myriad of unknown catastrophes, trials and tribulations that are bound to get thrown at you and, in the end, actually succeeding!”
Thanks to the forethought of the 24 industry leaders who met back in Boston’s Horticultural Hall on March 12, 2012, NENA has grown to become an integral part of today’s commercial horticulture industry. Bruce Vanicek of The Rhode Island Nurseries in Middletown, Rhode Island received special recognition at the September 13 celebration. Bruce’s great grandfather, V.A. Vanicek was elected to the board of directors back in 1912 and The Rhode Island Nurseries have been NENA members for 100 consecutive years!