Wouldn’t it be fun to have one huge, blow-out, national trade show and conference – or maybe two, one in summer and one in winter – where we all could gather and trade and talk into the wee hours?

No. It makes my feet hurt just thinking about it.

With the green industry’s multiple associations and organizations and, let’s face it, hardiness zones, we do what we need to do to make sure we reach the people we need to reach. And then some. So we’re hitting the road again this month, and next, for a few winter shows.

First up was MANTS (although as I write this, I’ve just made my flight reservations for Baltimore), where American Nurseryman folks could be found in booth 518. Special thanks to Waynesboro Nurseries for the gorgeous plants that really made our booth special! They’ve provided plants for us during past shows, and we truly appreciate their generosity. A longtime exhibitor at MANTS, Waynesboro Nurseries is located in Waynesboro, Virginia; check out the company’s website at http://www.waynesboronurseries.com.

Next? We’ll be at The Western Show at the Crown Center in Kansas City, January 20 to 22. And how exciting is this: For the sixth year, American Nurseryman is co-sponsoring the Western’s Fashion Show. If you’ve never seen this, it’s a must! Live models on an honest-to-Pete runway, but the focus is on the live plants. And the Western’s a great regional show, full of energy and exceptional educational opportunities. It’s a more intimate setting than the monster MANTS, but that’s what gives this show its flavor. Time to catch up with old friends and colleagues, and time to meet new ones.

After that, I’ll be walking a couple of shows, sans booth space. Close to (my) home, iLandscape is scheduled for February 3 through 6 in Schaumburg, Illinois, and this is the show’s third year. For 30-some years, Mid-Am in Chicago was the go-to winter show for the Midwest, but the event closed a few years ago. Well, iLandscape has stepped up, and it’s really gaining momentum. Like Mid-Am, it draws exhibitors and attendees from the northern Midwest states, and it’s populated by some of my favorite local growers. Can’t wait to see what’s new.

Just a week later, I’ll be in Colorado to attend Progreen Expo at the Denver Convention Center. I haven’t been for a few years, and I’m eager to touch base again. Yet another regional, this is a show that covers the Intermountain West – but also includes Midwestern and far Western folks. A few decades ago, I had the privilege of being the editor of Colorado Green magazine, the publication of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado. At that time, ALCC had a pretty healthy trade show, as did a few other green industry associations in the state. But proving nicely that there’s strength in numbers, the organizations got together and combined their efforts to create one larger show. Exceptional education has been a hallmark of the event from the get-go; exceptional exhibitors, too. Can’t wait!

So if you’re attending any of these shows, let’s watch out for each other. I’d love to get together and catch up.