More than 10,000 landscapers, florists, greenhouse growers, and other garden management professionals from all over the world met at the 1.8-million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center for Cultivate ’18 — the largest horticulture trade show in North America — from July 14-17. Industry leaders gathered for four days of educational presentations, networking events, and expert speakers. With 650 exhibitors and more than 150 breakout sessions, it was another record-breaking year for AmericanHort.
“Cultivate is known as the place for all members of the green industry to come together to network, conduct business, learn best practices, and gather new information on innovative new products and new plant varieties to help our industry perform better, grow faster, and prepare for the future,” Mary Beth Cowardin, AmericanHort’s vice president of marketing and member engagement, tells PCMA.
Part of AmericanHort’s mission is to connect different organizations in the community to help expand the industry’s reach, which is why they partnered with Habitat for Humanity to give back during Cultivate ’18. The organization donated the flowers and plants on display at the trade show to Habitat for Humanity, which then sold them and used the proceeds to build homes in central Ohio for those in need.
Based in Grandview, Ohio, AmericanHort couldn’t imagine calling another city Cultivate’s home. “Columbus is a wonderful destination for our conference and trade show,” says Cowardin. “The Greater Columbus Convention Center can accommodate both our exhibit-space needs and the meeting space required for all the events that take place during the conference. Our attendees like the close proximity of hotels to the convention center, as many like to walk or take the convention buses to get to the event.”
Cultivate attendees also got to explore the city via tours organized by AmericanHort. By bus, delegates visited nearby Ohio green industry businesses, “like greenhouses, landscape operations, nurseries, and garden retail centers,” says Cowardin, “in order to share best operating practices and network with industry peers.” They were also able to tour Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and Ohio State University’s Cultivar Trials, where they “assess more than 700 annual and perennials varieties on display to see how they grow in typical Central-Ohio environmental conditions and evaluate their growth in containers, landscape beds, and hanging baskets.”
When attendees were off the clock, they took advantage of the destination’s buzzing nightlife. “For many of our guests, coming to Cultivate is like a family reunion,” says Cowardin. “They take full advantage of all that Columbus has to offer in attractions, dining, and entertainment.”