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Talks for trade shows, landscapers, garden centers, nursery retailers, and other horticultural professionals.

Guidance to Go Consultation Services

Does your garden center or landscaping business make house calls? This talk explains how on-site consultation services can build customer loyalty, boost sales, and position you as the local go-to source for landscaping needs. Learn how a coaching/consultation service builds trust, drives sales and becomes a profit center for your business.


“People, I’d like to introduce you to Plants” Keeping our clients and customers in touch with the natural world

Horticultural professionals who work closely with the public are often amazed at how ignorant many people are about the plants that are all around them. We help customers who don’t know about the necessity of root systems and clients who think that when their maple trees are dropping leaves in October this means that they are dying. As plant geeks, we’re tempted to laugh or shake our heads, yet these interactions really speak to how important our work truly is. This talk addresses how to stay fresh and open in the face of “plant blindness,” and how to take advantage of every opportunity to turn ignorance into understanding…or, dare we suggest it, excitement.


Becoming Better Plant Pushers
Selling Plants and Gardening in the Internet Age

Delivering plant and product information alone is no longer enough; we need to step up our game as garden communicators. In order to keep a love of gardening alive, and to continue to make a living doing what we love to do, we are called upon to enlarge our thinking about how we present gardening information and who our audiences can and will be. Those in horticulture are challenged to find new ways to cultivate gardeners and plant purchases. This presentation will give specific ideas and techniques for resonating with audiences and starting a gardening revival.


IGC Brainstorming Ideas you can use today and tomorrow

Garden center staff are searching for practical inspirations and problem-solving tips that can be applied quickly. In this time when even the expert trend watchers have no idea where our business is heading, those who are on the ground want actionable suggestions. This talk contains ideas for events, community connections, building customer relationships, posts for social networking and blogs, and display.


Perennials for Professionals Matching Plants, Planting, and Maintenance Practices to Your Clients

Your client wants perennials that “are low maintenance” and you want to keep the customer happy. As a garden professional, however, you know that a perennial garden can be the most high-maintenance landscape there is. This talk is about picking the best perennial plants, planting them appropriately, and caring for them with methods that create beautiful gardens with less involvement. Yes, it’s possible to please your clients, create beautiful gardens and simplify the job for  your employees.

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On Rave Review from Jeanie Gillis of Parterre Garden Services, Cambridge, MA
“CL gave a great presentation ‘Perennial Care for Pro’s’ to Parterre Garden Service. The talk was current to perennial trends, informative and funny with lots of practical techniques and solutions that many of our Gardeners were able to use the very next day!”


Plant Picks that Please Clients (Some Plants Aren’t For Everyone)

There are thousands of great plants, but not every plant is right for all people.  As an avid gardener I recognize that some of the selections that are appropriate for people like myself are not good choices for most of my customers or clients. Plant geeks have different standards for their gardens than home-landscapers or the general public. This talk is designed to help landscapers and garden center employees recognize which plants will make their customers happiest. I show a few examples of gardeners’ plants and explain why they may not be the best choices for many of your clients. This is followed by a large range of annuals, perennials, and shrubs that will keep your customers content and coming back for more. 


The 21st Century Flower Garden Helping Customers and Clients Design The Garden They Crave

The 21st Century flower garden is a mix of shrubs, perennials, and annuals…with occasional veggies thrown into the mix. It’s also a garden that we are called to be more thoughtful about. From fertilizers to water usage, and from climate change to quality of life, this talk helps landscapers and garden center employees design flower gardens so that they are beautiful,  functional, and sensible. Attendees will quickly understand how to compose such gardens and how to help their customers and clients whether they’re doing it from scratch or adding to existing landscapes.


It’s A Visual World Why garden centers, landscapers and growers need in-house photographers.

As your current and potential customers turn to the internet for their information, your business is increasingly challenged to present it self visually. Learn why you need employees who have photography and Photoshop training. Hear ways to compile a company photo library and use those images for inexpensive marketing. Get the information your garden center or landscape business needs as you decide if you can do it in-house or if it’s better to “go pro” and hire photography experts.


Sell The Excitement! Communication Skills for the Green Industry

I’m sure you’ve attended many green industry trade events where the speakers either failed to excite the audience or missed opportunities to do so. Frequently Power Point Poisoning is the rule. This is unfortunate because dynamic presentation skills can be learned. Whether you are the owner of a horticultural business, volunteer Master Gardener, grower, or an employee of a garden center, you may be occasionally called to speak in front of an audience. This presentation will help you improve your presentations so that you can truly sell the excitement of plants and gardening.  This talk can be expanded into a four to eight hour workshop for those who want to better promote their passion and/or make a living as a professional speaker.

Note: C.L. is also available as an individual speech coach to help those in  horticultural-related professions improve their presentation skills.

Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On Rave Review from
“Gave me confidence”
I have wanted to branch out into public speaking and CL’s presentation at the GWA symposium in Quebec has given me the confidence to get started. She certainly practices what she preaches when presenting a talk on presenting! I learned as much by watching her in action as I did from what she said. I am so glad I went to this workshop!
K. Purdy, Oxford NY

C.L. speaks to the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association

Annuals That Deliver

If your clients and customers are paying for new annuals every summer, they want plants that deliver color. From the brand new to the tried and true, this talk shows plants that are an asset in the garden from planting to hard frost.


Landscape Design Bloopers

This talk looks at design mistakes that are commonly made by landscapers and home-gardeners alike. By looking at where things have gone wrong, and sometimes seeing a corrected version through the magic of Photoshop, I explain the reasons why some garden designs look better than others. Learn how to provide plantings that please your customers on the day the job is finished, and for years afterwards.


Gardening With A Purpose

One of the buzz-phrases of 21st century gardening is “Gardening with a purpose” and I have to admit that when I first heard this phrase, I thought, “well duh!” We all have reasons for being in this business and our customers have their reasons for coming to us for plants, products and advise. But sometimes it’s easy to lose track of this purpose, or to forget how important our business truly is. This presentation is appropriate for garden center employees, professional landscapers, master gardeners and home garden geeks: we are all involved in one of the most life-affirming activities there is.

Tell Them A Story

Spreading a Passion for Plants using story-telling skills

There is a reason that your audience will remember a story you told but may not recall any other details, or even the topic you were speaking about. Stories are “sticky” and every garden communicator needs to be able to include them in every presentation. This talk will help you develop your own signature stories and learn how to perfect them. Find out where to find good stories that your audiences will love and remember. Learn how to use those stories you already tell around the dinner table, even if they aren’t about gardening. Find great stories in the news, and discover how to develop a simple idea into a story your audiences will relish.


Star OnStar OnStar OnStar OnStar On Rave Review From Great Garden Speakers
“Informative & Humorous!”
C. L. shared her speaking expertise in February 2013 with aspiring and experienced Garden Writers Association members in a full day workshop. C. L. delivers valuable information in a relaxed, confidant style with humor and personal anecdotes. Her tips were invauable in helping me polish my delivery, such that my most recent audience wants me for a return engagement. Wow!
L. Clarke, PA


Download my Green Industry Speaker’s One Sheet pdf file hereRead speaking endorsements of C.L.

Contact information:
For details about these or other talks and workshops,
please contact me by email at:
Mail: C.L. Fornari P.O. Box 355 Osterville, MA 02655
Phone: 508-428-5895