ELA Announces Conference Move:
New Location at UMass Amherst!

ELA Conference logo SMALLSustaining the Living Landscape
The 22nd Annual ELA Conference & Eco-Marketplace
March 9 & 10, 2016 at the UMass Campus Center, Amherst, MA

Immerse yourself in a two-day exploration of ecological concepts that support living landscapes! Early registration discounts available through 2/28.

Join ELA now to take advantage of Member discounts to the conference! If you are already an ELA Member, log into your account to get the member discount registration options.

Click Here to View ELA Conference Brochure

Click Here to View Session Schedule and Descriptions

Click Here to Buy Tickets Now!

Our 2016 Annual Conference brings together well-known experts for a lively exchange of information and experiences. On Wednesday, choose from two daylong Focus Sessions: An in-depth look at protecting and building soils and how to incorporate permaculture principles into the conventional landscape. Thursday’s topics include restoring the urban forest, the best use of native cultivars, designing with plant communities, and the latest in energy efficient technology to light up your landscape. Join us as we look at strategies to create and maintain healthy ecosystems.

March 9th
Two Focus Sessions, Keynote Lunch, and Keynote Dinner

Building and Managing Soils from the Top Down

Soil supports plants, and in turn, plants and organic matter are essential to protecting and building soil. As designers and managers of the land, we need to understand these individual components as well as how they function as part of a larger system. Our speakers will share strategies for remediating compromised soils and stabilizing slopes, discuss plant design and selection for poor soil conditions, and illustrate ways to support the natural cycling of nutrients and water. Join us for a comprehensive look at how our designs and landscape practices can provide maximum protection and restoration of soil.

Permaculture Applied to Conventional Landscapes

As stewards of the land, we need to ask ourselves how we can improve on traditional practices to ensure that the landscapes we create and manage are more resilient against pests, diseases, and climate changes. As resources become scarcer, we need to ask how we can reduce our dependence on inputs and maintenance. Permaculture, based on mimicking natural processes, offers some solutions. Presenters for this session will introduce principles and practices of permaculture, demonstrate how these techniques can be incorporated into conventional landscapes, and show examples of successful application in the traditional landscape settings.

Keynote Luncheon, Phil Korman 12:30-2:00pm

Growing Local, Buying Local: Community Support Makes a Difference!
Community support can make a difference! Mr. Korman will discuss how Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has changed the local farming and food economy. He will show what is unique to Western Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley and what others have done to inspire local farming.

Phil Korman is the Executive Director of Community Involved In Sustaining Agriculture (CISA). Started in 1993, CISA is the longest running “buy local” organization in the nation. Their mission is to strengthen local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community.

Keynote Dinner, Tradd Cotter 6:30-8:30pm

Mycoremediation: Healing Compromised Ecosystems with Fungi
Many species of fungi sweat powerful enzymes capable of molecular disassembly of complex molecules such as hydrocarbons and pesticides. A few species of fungi are also well adapted to filter, stun and destroy pathogenic bacteria. Learn how fungi perform these tasks and how to develop a filtration system that is customized to fit your needs. Mr. Cotter will focus on biomass expansion, site engineering, and species of fungi that can be used for mycoremediation projects. He will also discuss using fungi for pest management, habitat restoration, and how to incorporate fungi into bioswales to capture pollutants from site runoff.

Tradd Cotter is a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, a best-selling mushroom cultivation guide. In 1996 he founded Mushroom Mountain, focusing his interests on the use of native plants and fungi to create urban ecosystems that are more functional and compatible with the local plant and wildlife communities. He currently maintains more than 200 species of fungi for food production, for mycoremediation of environmental pollutants, and as natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. Mr. Cotter’s current research focuses on the development of target-specific mycopesticides that could replace conventional chemical products for agriculture.

March 10th 
One Demonstration, Eight Sessions, Plus Four Idea Exchange Panel Discussions


  • Landscape Lighting Demonstration
    Lukas Sturm – Lumen Studio, Inc.


  • Light Up Your Landscape
    Lukas Sturm – Lumen Studio, Inc.
  • Tree Filter Systems for Stormwater Management
    Paul Iorio – StormTree
  • Designing with Plant Communities in Mind
    Claudia West – North Creek Nurseries
  • Restoring the Urban Forest
    Matthew Stephens – New York City Parks
  • Creating an Urban Refuge: Mt. Auburn’s Wildlife Action Plan
    Paul Kwiatkowski – Mount Auburn Cemetery
  • What Role Do Native Cultivars Have in an Ecological Landscape?
    Keith Nevison – Fellow in the Longwood Gardens Graduate Program in Public Horticulture
  • Creating Ecological Landscapes in Maine: Challenges & Opportunities
    Arek Galle – BETA Group, Inc.
    Emily Goodwin – Back Meadow Farm
  • Native Shrubs up to the Challenge
    Dr. Jessica Lubell – UConn

Idea Exchange Panels

  • Managing Challenging Landscapes: Tips from the Experts
  • Cost-effective Landscape Management Strategies
  • Battling the Bugs: Strategies for Insect Management
  • Buying Quality Nursery Stock: Asking the Right Questions

ELA’s Virtual Eco-Marketplace
Resource for Ecological Products & Services

Landscape Design Schools

  • Conway

    The Conway School is an independent, private graduate program in sustainable landscape planning and design. Students spend ten months working on real projects that address the most pressing issues of our time. Graduates leave with a whole systems design approach, a professional portfolio, and a Master of Science in Ecological Design. Fix what's broken. Save what works. Design the future.

  • George Washington University

    The mission of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Landscapes at George Washington University is to provide an innovative and relevant curriculum that reflects changing social attitudes towards the conservation and sustainability of our living environments.

Landscape Equipment

  • Air-Spade Division, Guardair Corporation

    Founded in 1991, Air-Spade is the market leader in pneumatic tools used by arborists and utilities for soil excavation.

  • Earth and Turf

    Improving turf through proper topdressing has always been a key goal for Earth & Turf Products, LLC. Since 1997, Earth &Turf has been providing lawn care professionals, sports turf managers, golf course superintendents, and parks & recreation departments with quality-built topdressers that won't break the budget.

Landscape Nurseries

  • Amherst Nurseries

    Amherst Nurseries is a Massachusetts based grower of nursery stock for landscaping, restoration and conservation. We offer a large selection of plants grown B&B, in containers, and in grow bags.

  • Fourth Generation Nursery

    Fourth Generation is a family owned and run business, providing you with a complete source for all your Water Garden needs and an interesting selection of quality plant material to accent the landscape around the water garden. Our goal is to supply all your WATER FEATURE needs, encouraging the intelligent and sustainable use of water in the landscape, incorporating everything from aeration to ultra-violet, from pond liner to water storage systems, low-pressure irrigation options to porous paving, waterlilies and lotus for your pond to native plants for rain gardens. Who we are: We are your Supply Partner - a traditional stocking distributor old fashioned service and support to service & quality oriented “brick & mortar” dealers like Garden Centers, Nurseries, Pet stores and pond/landscape instalIers as you compete in the age of the computer and smart phone. Water in the landscape is our focus - Providing the products and knowledge to enable you to sell Ponds, waterfalls, streams, fountains, as well as pond & lake management, water harvesting & storage, responsible irrigation and storm water management solutions to new 21st century "Green" consumer. Fourth Generation Nursery, Inc 52 Bates St Mendon, MA 01756 Ph: 508-634-1914 Fax: 508-634-9030 e-mail: staff@fgnsales.com www.fgnsales.com

  • New Moon Nursery

    New Moon Nursery is a wholesale growers of eastern native perennial plant material for landscape professionals, container production, storm water management, and restoration. New Moon grows all plant material in deep plugs, suitable for planting directly in the landscape.

  • North Creek Nurseries

    As the innovator of the Landscape Plug™, North Creek’s mission is to propagate and market plants that develop the relationship between people and sustainable outdoor environments. We specialize in growing Landscape Plugs™ of perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns and vines with an emphasis on Eastern US native plants.

  • Planters' Choice

    We are a full-service wholesale nursery in Fairfield and Litchfield counties providing a complete line of ornamental plant material to the trade. With field and container production on separate farms in Connecticut, we sell a complete line of nursery stock including an extensive selection of landscape quality native plants at exceptional prices.

  • Project Native

    Project Native is a non-profit native plant nursery and wildlife sanctuary in Housatonic, Massachusetts. We seek to inspire a love of nature that motivates people to create, restore & maintain healthy landscapes.

  • Sudbury Nurseries West

    Specialty growers of quality native trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials of local provenance. Offering container grown and B&B to trade professionals. Contract growing available. Family owned and operated since 1935.

Landscape Products & Services

  • Bay State Forestry Service

    Since 1963, Bay State Forestry Service has provided the New England forest landowner with responsible, viable forest stewardship through comprehensive land management consulting: forest resource management planning, timber sale administration, invasive plant management, cost-share program assistance, property boundary maintenance and GIS/GPS mapping services.

  • Compostwerks

    Compostwerks is your source for organic products and equipment designed for the organic land care practitioner. Compostwerks provides a comprehensive range of tea brewers and sprayers and brewing supplies, tools, top dressing equipment, natural soil amendments and organic fertilizers.

  • Filtrexx

    Filtrexx International uses natural, bio-based materials for storm water filtration, soil erosion, storm water reduction, vegetation establishment and sustainability applications.

  • Groundscapes Express

    Providing innovative, environmentally sound, erosion control solutions since 1998. The first company in New England to pioneer and extensively use compost products for erosion control and stormwater management. These innovative techniques and materials are adaptable to a wide variety of sites including golf course and road projects, landfills, truck spills and residential developments.

  • Herbanatur

    Herbanatur offers exclusive patented Weed Control Solution in order to selectively control noxious and invasive weeds Wherever, Whenever!

  • Horticultural Solutions

    Horticultural Solutions provides design and installations services, garden maintenance, and all other landscape services. We also provide consulting services and business seminars.

  • Native Habitat Restoration

    Native Habitat Restoration, LLC provides all aspects of habitat restoration services to private landowners, conservation organizations, and town, state, and federal agencies to help them manage invasive plant species and create healthier natural environments, great and small.

  • Pavers by Ideal

    When considering your impact on the environment, consider Pavers by Ideal. If you are environmentally conscientious, or perhaps facing zoning restrictions on surfaces or areas that are limiting what you can build on your property, our eco-friendly permeable interlocking concrete pavers could be the right choice for you. A 4th generation family-owned business.

  • SumCo Eco-Contracting

    SumCo Eco-Contracting, LLC provides full-service ecological contracting – from excavation and custom soils to revegetation and invasive species control. SumCo's scientists and project engineers team with owners, consultants and general contractors to ensure that the ecosystems we build provide the functions and values of natural systems.

Soil Products

  • Horticultural Professionals

    Distributors Of The Highest Quality Microorganisms, Biostimulants, Natural Fertilizers, And More.

  • Neptune's Harvest

    Organic fertilizer made from fresh caught North Atlantic fish, cold processed.

  • Organic Plant Magic

    Organic Plant Magic is an all purpose organic fertilizer alive with beneficial microorganisms.

  • Read Custom Soil

    Read Custom Soils supplies nearly any specialty soil specification - with the knowledge, experience and expertise needed to blend soil components to achieve the desired design characteristics.

There is synergy in the gathering of colleagues and peers. You asked for more opportunities to gather and talk with other ELA members about projects and strategies, and ELA listened. In June, ELA introduced ELA Members’ Receptions.

2015 ELA Members’ Reception


Amy Wolfson, BlueFlax Design; Kristin Andres, Conservation Agent, Town of Chatham; and Keith Johnson, Billingsgate Land Management (left to right).

ELA South Shore Members Meet to Socialize

ELA members on the South Shore met for an evening of socializing and swapping landscape stories at the second ELA Members’ Reception. Members were welcomed by Southeastern Pine Barrens Alliance, an ELA collaborator, who hosted the April event at their new Community Center.

Michael Talbot, M. Talbot & Associates and founding member of ELA, and Adrian Punch, Harrow and Seed (left to right).

Michael Talbot, M. Talbot & Associates and founding member of ELA, and Adrian Punch, Harrow and Seed (left to right).

According to Theresa Sprague, ELA Vice-President and South Shore member, “This intimate and informal gathering gave members an opportunity to share stories and plans as we were all getting ready to jump into the upcoming season.

We enjoyed meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, and lots of laughs throughout the evening.”

Would you like to schedule a Members’ Event in your area? Email ELA to get started.

2014 ELA Members’ Reception

Stevens Coolidge2

Stevens-Coolidge gardens at ELA’s first Members’ Reception.

The inaugural event took place in northeastern Massachusetts at the Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover. This property, owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations, features kitchen and cut-flower gardens, potager garden, rose garden, and orchard on 91 acres. The evening began with a walking tour of the gardens with our TTOR host. Attendees enjoyed an interesting venue, a bite to eat, and time to talk to other ELA members about their exciting projects as well as landscape challenges.

Sue Storer, ELA founding member and current Treasurer, noted that she’s “excited to see ever more opportunities to connect with others in the field. The new Members’ Reception events actually bring ELA full circle to where we began – in small informal gatherings of practitioners eager for opportunities to compare notes, share information and resources, and often collaborate on projects.”

Stevens Coolidge3

Egglant in the potager garden.

Additional Members’ Receptions are being planned: for September along the Massachusetts south shore; and October in the Boston area (details coming soon). We hope you’ll join us at one of these casual gatherings, but if you live outside of New England, perhaps you would like to host your own ELA Members’ Reception. Contact Penny Lewis, ELA’s Executive Director to to discuss options for regional events throughout the US.Stevens Coolidge1

Inspiration comes from many sources but it is especially appreciated when it comes in the middle of a long, cold winter. Meet recent winners of the ELA Environmental Vision Award at the Boston Flower & Garden Show.

An Environmental Vision – 2015

For the second year running, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit at the Boston Flower & Garden Show received the Ecological Landscape Alliance Environmental Vision Award. This year’s exhibit, “An Enchanted New England Woodland Walk” featured the border where planned landscape meets woods from a child’s perspective. One goal of the exhibit, according to John Forti, the organization’s Director of Horticulture and Education, was to encourage people, both young and old, to “find magic in the landscape” and to go out and explore their own yards.Log.420

The exhibit included a large hollow log, enticing garden gate, pint-sized chairs and table set for tea, and an array of visually appealing plant material that all worked together to draw a visitor into the landscape on both sides of the garden gate. But, according to Tricia Diggins, one of three ELA judges, “the wonderful complexity of the exhibit demonstrated how a child-friendly landscape goes much further than just not using chemicals on the lawn.”

MA Hort Exhibit.2.220Tricia along with Mark Richardson and Theresa Sprague, all members of ELA’s Board of Directors, judged the exhibits against a list of criteria that included conservation of resources, use of recycled materials, and a design guided by knowledge of and respect for natural ecosystems. According to Mark, an ecological highlight of An Enchanted New England Woodland Walk “was the abundant use of native plants, many of which were sited with other plants as you would normally see them in natural plant communities.” He also noted the use of natural materials, like pine needle mulch, and the emphasis on habitat, including a vernal pool.

Theresa noted that “while the majority of the plant material was native, the exhibit also included a mix of non-native species that were appropriate to the ‘site conditions,’ particularly in areas where there would be more human activity such as by the seating area.” MA Hort Exhibit.1Though the exhibit incorporated many native plants, some carefully chosen non-native “traditional” plants, such as primrose, hellebores, and a variety of heather, she felt added “some human-habitat, creating a nice balance with the wildlife habitat and illustrating that the two are not mutually exclusive.”

The winner of the ELA Environmental Vision Award receives a $150 donation to the environmental non-profit of his choice.

An Environmental Vision – 2014

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s exhibit “Eden on the Charles” at this year’s Boston Flower & Garden Show (March 12-16, 2014) received the Ecological Landscape Alliance Environmental Vision Award. “Eden on the Charles” illustrated the show theme, “Romance in the Garden,” with a design that highlighted two love stories that took place at Mass Hort’s Elm Bank Estate in Dover, MA.

Exhibits were judged against a list of criteria that included conservation of resources, use of recycled materials, and a design guided by knowledge of and respect for natural ecosystems. Eden on the Charles featured moving water, a central player in the courtship of Ray and Betty Frost who canoed the Charles River at Elm Bank and stopped to picnic along the shore, but also an important component in habitat creation. Native plants used for focal points and “water wise” layering of plants added to the ecological qualities of the design. Kerry O’Kelly, ELA Board Member and judge, commented that the winning design provided a “hopeful reminder that stewardship of the landscape provides much more than clean water – it helps create landscapes people want to enjoy.” The exhibit’s waterside path and bridge draw one into the landscape where they can enjoy activity, such as canoeing, or a leisurely picnic lunch.

"Eden on the Charles," MA Horticultural Society's exhibit at the 2014 Boston Flower & Garden Show won the ELA Environmental Vision award.

“Eden on the Charles,” MA Horticultural Society’s exhibit at the 2014 Boston Flower & Garden Show won the ELA Environmental Vision award.

The Mass Hort design team led by Landscape Institute/BAC designers Suzanne Higham included Heather Heimarck (Landscape Institute Executive Director); Julia Esteves (owner of Juliagarden Landscape Design of Osterville); Piera Sassaroli (owner of Piera’s Landscape Design of Boston); Jeff Dube (University of Michigan graduate student in Landscape Architecture); Suzanne Higham (owner of Frog Hollow of Georgetown, MA); Bill Cuddy (owner of WJC Services of Rowley, MA); and Mass Hort staff David Fiske, Charlie Harris, and Clark Bryan. Together they created an exhibit designed to engage the public in the beauty of plants, gardens, and landscape design and to highlight the talents of landscape designers and green industry professionals in the practice and love of horticulture.

The winner of the ELA Environmental Vision Award receives a $150 donation to the environmental non-profit of his choice. This year MA Hort chose to donate to .

An Environmental Vision – 2013

The creator of the winning design, Crystal Brinson, Horticulturist from Fairhaven, MA, envisioned a garden design that took what appeared to be a naturally occurring spring, created a grotto that flowed into a dry stream bed, and gently inserted a cultivated area that “let the gardener enjoy nature up close.”

Exhibits were judged against a list of criteria that included conservation of resources, use of recycled materials, and a design guided by knowledge of and respect for natural ecosystems. Brinson’s design showed a mastery of ecological design. And she extended her ecological ethos to all aspects of the display, using only organic fish and seaweed fertilizers and predatory insects to control fungus gnats and aphids. In addition to more decorative native plantings, she also included dandelions in the design “to remind everyone of their importance for feeding the bees in the spring.” Lettuce was grown in troughs to reduce fertilizer runoff.


Babikow LogoCrystal was responsible for the concept and design for this year’s theme. She also oversaw installment after selecting and growing all the plant material. Her partner, Kenneth Jardin, designed the bluestone and reclaimed-granite bench, as well as the bluestone troughs. Phil Cook of Quintessential Gardens designed and installed the grotto and granite sculpture. Jessica Cook, also of Quintessential Gardens, contributed selected plant material and along with daughter, Dehlia Jane, was inspiration for the sculpture.

According to Trevor Smith, ELA Vice-President and one of the judges, Crystal’s “design incorporated numerous sustainable aspects, native plants, habitat, edibles, but the aspect that put it over the top for me was that the display was sustainably forced and maintained prior to the show. That is true environmental vision.”

The winner of the ELA Environmental Vision Award receives a $150 donation to the environmental non-profit of his choice. This year Brinson and the Cooks donated to the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA).