The “CENTS” show; Columbus, Ohio

wci-chop-2.jpgTomorrow it’s time to make the yearly trek to the CENTS show, hosted by the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Assoc.

This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest trade shows in the industry. While I greatly admire the breadth, and scope of this show on the exhibition floor. I cannot say the same for the educational component. It’s just not that good. The talks are still done the same way talks were given 30 years ago-the only difference . . .. more people, in bigger rooms.

We all get herded in, then the introduction, a speaker appears . . . down go the lights. Oh; wait, there is one other change (and not for the better) PowerPoint, yes PowerPoint, instead of fuzzy slides, or beautiful slides of gardens, conifers, beetles, bugs, disease, etc. We get all those but they are now formatted in bad PowerPoint talks. Lecturers can now read their slides . . . whoopee! I just love it when a Professional speaker looks to the screen and reads the slide verbatim, oh I just love it.

My partner and I decided several years ago (when I had a partner) that this was a bad way to teach/lecture to trade professionals. We wanted them to participate, I want interaction, pretty tough in a dark hall. Interaction/participation there is almost none of that at the CENTS educational show. Did I mention it was a great tradeshow?

So, to finalize . . .The rooms are very large, several hundred pile in, or by Tuesday trudge along, plop down, and zone out. The ONLA just keeps trucking along,, different year-same presentation style. Nothing much retained.

I have not presented at this particular Ohio show, I have presented in several other states (I guess if you are from out of state-you are a expert) and the educational set-up is much better, in scale and scope. Particularly the good folks in Pennsylvania (if any of you PLNA folks are reading this-call me 🙂 ) who do a super job, at super facilities.

Anyway I plan on posting during the show, not quite live updates, but to pass along anything that strikes me as newsworthy. I think a lot will depend on how good (or bad), the wifi set-up is in the Convention Center. Did I mention it was a great tradeshow?

I plan on going to the APLD meeting also, and see what they’re up to. I’ll speak on this at length; my situation with APLD, later this week.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Tim:
    The attendees are professionals in the ‘Green Industry”. This is not a show for the general public to attend.

    The ONLA is the driving force behind the show, and that’s who you would talk to.

    By professional I mean Landscape Designers/Architects, Landscape Contractors, and Landscape Maintenance Companies. Another large block of attendees is the Garden Center folks. plus Educators, and students.

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