Ever want to rub shoulders with a ton of landscape professionals? Good thing we do. As in many industries we make our own good company and in an industry with passionate people, there are bound to be a few shop talk moments. Today was my venture to Chicago for the Midam tradeshow, our one show a year that allows us to meet up with the who’s who of landscape and everyone else too. We catch up with colleagues, old classmates, suppliers, contractors and take various business classes. Here are a few of my new finds this year.
1. Hocus Pocus groundcover from Midwest Groundcovers. The tag line is that they “cover like magic”. They are made up of many tried and true groundcover, but the increased size pots will aid in their ability to grow in fast. My favorites are the six different sedum and creeping thyme. They are all drought tolerant, and with the way things have been going we need every drought performer we can get.
2. FX LED lighting fixtures with more power. We’ve been slowly switching to LED lighting fixtures. Until this year the FX downlights (for placing in trees and various other elevated locations) were made with an output of no more than 3LED which visibly looks like about 20watts of light. This season they are introducing a new light, the DE, which will output up to 9LED which visually looks like 50watts. This is great for higher locations that will allow a lot of light to pool onto the ground. FX really stepped up this season and also showcased a new Luxor system which allows for customization and versatility in the low voltage lighting system. Now, like a sprinkler, the lights will be put on zones and the system can tell the lights to dim when needed. Now mood lighting can be customized for every situation. Need more light during a backyard pool party, or less during a romantic stargazing event. The choice is yours.
3. The Belgard truck trailer stopped by for a visit. This entire truck trailer is retrofitted with a fireplace, water feature, outdoor kitchen, grill and the floor is laid with pavers to show all their products without ever having to set up for another tradeshow. Brilliant! The back even has a working pizza oven and grill for those shows where the convincing is done through demo and a taste for brick oven pizza. Belgard recently purchased another company, Hanson Hardscape, which gives them access to some new product lines. This one below is part of the tile line.