Usually, we talk about gardening, container design, or decorating in our blog posts. Today we’d like to let you in on an exciting industry event we were honored to be part of!

The Perennial Plant Association has arrived in Minnesota! Every year they land in a different place, and for 2016, Minneapolis was chosen as the host city for the PPA’s 34th National Symposium.

Perennial plant enthusiasts from around the U.S. and Canada meet in a different city each year for one week filled with seminars and fun. This is an opportunity for people from many areas of the green industry to gather, learn from one another, and geek-out about perennial plants.

The site committee begins scouting a year in advance. Industry leaders visit dozens of garden centers, plant-growing facilities, and landscapes. They whittle down their options again and again until they make the final cuts and choose who will be visited by the tour buses full of industry professionals, vendors and university professors.

Tonkadale Greenhousewas chosen as a stop on the Aug. 3 retail garden center tour, and we also had the pleasure of hosting lunch.

To start the event, Jessie greeted the bus and welcomed everyone to Tonkadale.

Tonkadale Greenhouse stage ready for Perennial Plant Association visit

After having time to stroll through the garden center, Jessie gave a presentation on the main stage. Starting with Tonkadale’s beginnings as a greenhouse for propagating African violets, she continued with the many changes and updates that bring us to today. She let everyone in on the wonderful world of spruce top pots and how we decorate pots for each and every season.

She also fielded fun questions such as, “Why do you have buckets full of antlers?” For seasonal containers, of course!

Perennial Plant Association visit: Touring the perennial areaNext it was time for lunch. The day was a steamy one, so the mix of cold sandwiches, salads, and fruits was perfect. After lunch there was more time to wander and enjoy the slight breeze in the perennial area.

Megan then took to the perennial stage and briefly discussed the perennial area. With all well-established businesses, there must be updates from time to time. The wonderful updates that many of our customers have noticed were highlighted, as well as what’s coming next.

Megan also discussed events such as Pollinator Day and the seminars, walk-abouts, and blog posts that Tonkadale enjoys doing as a way to help our customers be successful gardeners.

Everyone had fun and had a chance to gather new ideas they can take home to garden centers in many other states and territories. How about that? Even those of us in the green industry visit garden centers for fun, too!