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AmericasMart January market to offer Lawn & Garden Symposium

To be held Saturday, Jan. 14 from 5-6 p.m.

The 2012 Lawn & Garden Symposium with industry experts, renowned top garden and lawn retailers, and garden celebrity ambassadors aimed at helping retailers grow their business will be offered at the Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, Jan. 11-18.

Presented by Today's Garden Center and AmericasMart, the symposium will feature leading garden and retail experts speaking on a variety of topics, all aimed at increasing sales, expanding product offerings, educating retailers on the latest trends and offering insights on reaching customers in an efficient manner. An Al Fresco dinner and networking opportunities will follow the symposium.

This two-fold roundtable event will take place on Sat. Jan. 14 from 5-6 p.m. in Building 2 WestWing, Floors 9 and 10 as industry experts will host a table and, in a manner similar to speed dating, lead a discussion of 10 topics, with six minutes devoted to each topic.

The hour-long discussion will be followed by an Al Fresco dinner and cocktail party as participants, roundtable leaders and The Gardens exhibitors can mingle and network. There is no charge, although seating is limited. Reservations, which are on a first-come, first-served basis, can be made by emailing

The 10 topics are:

1. Competing with Mass Merchants
2. Staff Development and Customer Service
3. Understanding the Female Buying Perspective
4. 7 Most Important Choices for Your Social Media
5. Choosing Furniture for the Landscape
6. Where to Place Focal Points in the Landscape
7. Every Landscape Needs a Theme
8. True, Shrubs, Groundcovers: Designing Outdoor Rooms
9. The Potager: Better Than a Vegetable Garden
10. The Garden at Night

Serving as the facilitator will be Tara Dillard, a nationally recognized and award-winning gardener, author and speaker who hosted her own CBS-TV show, The Better Gardening Show. The author of five books, she currently writes magazine articles and maintains a landscape design blog at

Celebrity and industry experts include:

+ Jason Cameron, a working carpenter, is putting his extensive hands-on expertise to work for DIY Network building, landscaping, hardscaping and more.

+ Erica Glasener, a horticulturist and author, hosted A Gardener's Diary on Home and Garden Television (HGTV) for 14 years. She has written about gardening for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and has penned several books, the most recent being Proven Plants Southern Gardens.

+ Chad Harris, co-founder of The Garden Gates, is a horticulturalist by trade, gardener by love and writer by desire.

+ Erik Friedlii is the owner of Flamingo Road Nursery in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The nursery has been in business since 1996 and recently expanded and opened a new facility.

+ Carol Simpson is the owner of the Ashe Simpson Garden Center, a long-standing staple of the metro-Atlanta town of Chamblee. Specializing in flowers and plants of just about every sort, the Ashe Simpson Garden Center prides itself on stocking the hard-to-find plant or flower.

+ Merrideth Jiles started The Great Outdoors in 1985, and since then it has evolved from simple grounds maintenance to landscape design and expert installation to the Garden Center, which has been hailed as one of the most notable professional nurseries in Central Texas.

+ Paul Bachman is related to Henry Bachman, Sr., who planted potatoes, lettuce, onions and squash on a plot of land in South Minneapolis and started Bachman's in 1885. Today, that land contains the firm's headquarters and acres of floral, gift, garden and landscaping departments. Bachman's has six retail floral, gift and garden centers and a floral presence in Minneapolis retail stores. It also has indoor and outdoor landscaping and nursery divisions, 7 acres of greenhouses and a 670-acre growing range that produces many of the plants it sells.

+ Sue Amatangelo is the director of Home and Garden Showplace, a division of True Value where she is in charge of 220 independent garden centers across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The plan commission for the city of St. Charles, Ill., she is the author of Absolutely Beautiful Containers.

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