Bring on business as usual

Bring on 2022 and a return to business as we knew it, or perhaps new learned better business strategies and practices. Let’s face it, we are all experts in using Zoom and Google Meets and various chat sites but there is nothing quite like having a conversation face to face and for some, it gets them out of their pyjamas!

Those organising events are eager to get the ball rolling and with good reason. Major events don’t just happen overnight, the planning is enormous. Having had to cancel events previously planned would have been heartbreaking for many, so let’s get behind them this year where possible. It will be lovely to get on a flight and not worry about an isolation lockup as interstate travel opens up. Interstate conference organisers will no doubt have their fingers crossed that there will be no more surprises left in the COVID bag of tricks.

The Melbourne International Garden Show is scheduled for the end of March. Aside from the event itself and the abundance of greenlife, many industry people are keen to connect with people to build on their customer bases, and touch base with colleagues they have not seen for a while. We often use these events to have meetings with interstate clients and business associates. I always feel inspired by the Emergent Gardens created by young designers and Achievable Gardens designed by students and educational institutions and sponsored by many of you. ‘Revealed’ is another element of MIFGS I miss. We all miss it and are keen to get back to business and normality, I’m sure.

The surge in demand for greenlife over the last couple of years has evidently eased and many businesses are preparing for whatever is next. According to GIA statistics, the horticulture industry should prepare for steady growth as more than half of horticulture businesses invested in new business infrastructure last year, and almost half are planning to expand over the next few years. It makes sense then, to reach out to school age gardeners to nurture their interest in Kids gardening programmes. Several of these programmes are offered by state organisations and should be supported. The many career pathways in horticulture must be highlighted to attract the best-suited workforce for our industry. I feel that some of the schools have looked at these taster courses as an outlet for the lower achievers and this sentiment should be strongly resisted.

Recycling containers, labels and packaging is high on the to-do list for 2022 and is a project that we all should support. I will be interested to see how pilot schemes conducted in 2021 fare in terms of success and if we are generally making headway in the pollution caused by packaging and discarded containers. Several organisations are now repurposing discarded materials to make new materials and improve processes. Perhaps adversity has sharpened people’s minds to recognise an opportunity.

So, I’m ready to say “So long Netflix” and “Hello world!” as opportunities for travel arise in 2022 and I hope to catch up with you all too.

Karen Smith and your Hort Journal Team

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