Author Archives: sthoms3355

APLD-MI Welcomes another new Gold Sponsor


Rosetta Hardscapes is a family-owned and operated business that started as the brainchild of three brothers who had spent their entire careers in the construction industry—Mark, Jim, and Ben Manthei. Rosetta Hardscapes launched in Charlevoix, Michigan in 2007, responding to the need for a hardscape product that mimicked the colors, textures and shapes of natural stone in a beautiful, convincing way.

The very first Rosetta product developed was the Outcropping Collection—a larger scale wall solution that creates grand walls that truly capture the look of natural stone.

Outcropping was met with success on a local level, and since 2007, several Rosetta manufacturers have joined the Rosetta team—covering select markets in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.


Rosetta is committed to research and development. Beginning with the Outcropping Collection, early advances included the development of a complete the Step Collection, which includes the Dimensional and Irregular Step lines. These additional products make Rosetta a one-stop solution for landscape projects that require coordinating elements.

The complete line of Rosetta wet-cast, concrete products gives Rosetta an appealin every market—within the landscape architecture

community, among the landscape contractor market, and even in the do-it-yourself homeowner crowd. This creates an opportunity to promote Rosetta across a range of specifiers and customers.

Rosetta’s innovative engineering resources include on-staff engineers, wall layout software, design charts, construction details and much more. These resources are available both in print and online and are constantly being improved and updated.

To learn more about Rosetta’s products, please visit their site at

APLD-Michigan Welcomes Spring Meadow Nursery as our newest GOLD SPONSOR

Spring Meadow Proven Winner Shrubs

Dale Deppe has watched his company grow from a small propagation nursery to one of the largest providers of proprietary plant materials in the country. The reason for this growth? Superior liners optimized to grow and finish fast, and a steady stream of introducing new flowering shrubs developed by top plant breeders across the world.

In 1981, Dale founded Spring Meadow Nursery with his wife, Liz. Today, large and small nurseries from across North America look to Spring Meadow to do their propagation and to bring them new and exciting plants. They are a market leader in the propagation of flowering shrubs, potted liners, and starter plants. Spring Meadow Nursery is also the developer behind Proven Winners® ColorChoice®, one of the most recognized brands in flowering shrubs in North America.

“The old scenario of releasing plants had to do with exclusivity. You reduce the supply to raise the costs. The plants are higher priced because they’re hard to get hold of,” said Deppe. “The Spring Meadow method is to increase the price by driving up demand. It’s a completely different way of thinking, which ultimately enriches everyone, from the grower to the retailer.”

They have over 400 varieties in their catalog, with more than 200 varieties marketed under the Proven Winners ColorChoice brand, including Incrediball® Hydrangea, ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea, Pinky Winky™ Hydrangea, My Monet™ Weigela, Little Henry® Itea, Wine & Roses® Weigela, Quick Fire® Hydrangea and Invincibelle® Spirit Hydrangea.

You can find their shrubs in retail outlets across the U.S. and Canada. You’ll also find Proven Winners ColorChoice plants at better gardening centers in the distinctive Proven Winners containers.

To learn more, please visit their site at

Hortech becomes APLD-MI’s newest Bronze Sponsor.


Hortech is an innovative professionally managed Midwestern wholesale nursery, founded in 1983, which  specializes in perennial plants; conventional perennials, labor saving ground covers, hardy ferns, climbing vines, and a broad array of ornamental grasses. Offering a palette of the finest native and non native species, Hortech is unique in that their plants are test grown in their trial garden and evaluated for hardiness, beauty, and sustainability. They resist the modern concept of rushing products to market to be first, whereby the consumer’s landscape becomes the trial garden. They would rather do their own testing so that when you purchase their plants, from Midwestern garden centers and landscapers, you will be satisfied with the results.

In addition to being dedicated horticultural professionals, they grow their plants in a unique manner utilizing the checks and balances of nature. Hortech was founded by a biologist, David MacKenzie, who maintains that plant culture should be a biological, not chemical, activity. The modern practice of showering plants with chemical cocktails, is not how plants are grown at Hortech. They feel that such practices would be like replacing your daily multi-vitamin with a handful of antibiotics. The very act of trying to ward off disease would suppress your immune system and make you susceptible to disease once the antibiotics are stopped. Likewise for plants; chemical cocktails of fungicides, antibiotics, insecticides, and miticides may appear to create plant health via disease avoidance, but they suppress the plants’ own natural defenses, and once the plant is in the consumer’s landscape it undergoes an inevitable “crash” that occurs when the chemical support is removed.

Hortech plants, which are Grown Earth Friendly, establish quickly and grow vigorously without undergoing chemical withdrawal­­–because of how they are grown, in concert with nature. Their objective is to always seek and implement biological and organic methods of plant culture whereby the plant is healthy due to the proper balance of nutrition, environment, and natural checks and balances. They have figured this out for the vast majority of the plants that they grow. To accomplish this, they use soil inoculants and compost tea to ward off root rot and other diseases, ladybugs to keep aphids in check, predatory mites to consume undesirable sap-feeding mites; predatory nematodes to control weevils, praying mantis to eat leaf eating insects, etc. There is a whole host of other natural checks and balances that we foster, and each contributes to the overall health of our plants and the environment in which we grow them.

Please visit their site or contact them directly at (616) 842-1392.

1/12/14 Design as an Ecological Art

APLD’s Landscape Design as Ecological Art (with Darrel Morrison) Workshop

Registration is now open.  Register now before it is advertised to non-APLD designers.

Sunday, January 12, 2014  (Weekend before CENTS)

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

5.5 APLD CEUs, 1 OCNT Credit, 7 Landscape Industry Certified

Join Darrel Morrison for this inspirational and fun workshop.  Morrison will be discussing the relationship between ecology and design and will show examples of his work in which art and ecology intersect.  The workshop will include a series hands-on quick design concept studies and musical exercises to provide initial designs, which will then be translated into preliminary planting plans for a hypothetical site.  Students should bring 18” tracing paper, chalk pastels, colored pencils, triangles/circle templates and their creative minds.

$195 on/before Dec 30/ $235 after

Darrel Morrison, FASLA, is a longtime advocate of the use of native vegetation in landscape design and restoration work. He taught in the Landscape Architecture Department at the University of Wisconsin for 14 years where his emphasis was on native plants, native plant communities, and landscape restoration. Subsequently, he taught in the School of Environmental Design at the University of Georgia where he served as Dean from 1983 to 1992. Currently, he lives in New York City and continues his private landscape practice.

When you get to the CENTS website, hit the ‘Education’ tab, then ‘Events’, then ‘Education’, then ‘Pre Convention Workshops’, and finally choose ‘ APLD’s Landscape Design as Ecological Art.’

10.4 Acres of Green Roof

On Thursday, August 1 myself and three lovely ladies who have been working hard with me to put on the 2013 International Design Conference starting tomorrow were granted a spectacular morning.  Through are association of putting this conference together, we had a private tour of the Ford Rouge plant  in Dearborn.  This isn’t the same tour you get through the Henry Ford Museum.  We got special access to places most people cannot get to, even employees in the plant.  What amazing weather to be on one of the world’s greatest environmental wonders.

20130801_112319 Ford DTP Aerial 2008-04-11 DTP Relaxed Mom 2013-08-01 11.18.15 2013-08-01 11.05.35 2013-08-01 11.15.02 2013-08-01 11.05.19

Segways in Detroit

Over a year ago the idea of doing a Segway tour of Downtown Detroit for the conference was brought to my attention.  Maureen Kearn’s new company, Segways2U (, was featured in a local newspaper (not sure if it was the News or Free Press).  It definitely started to draw interest with the Local Site Committee (LSC).  None of us ever had experience with Segways, but thought it would be a quick way around Downtown to see all of the sites that we had in mind.  Walking would not be a possibility with the limited time that we had. We definitely wanted to show landscape designers from around the country everything Detroit had to offer: the good, the bad, and the unique.

On Friday, June 21, myself (Steven D. Thoms) and Mildred Hurley, LSC Tour Captain went on a pre-tour.  We met each other at the GM Renassiance Center to our amazement downtown was crazy with people.  I hadn’t heard about it before arriving but River Days was happening along the RiverWalk.  This was both exciting and scary.  Exciting to see people downtown but also leary about operating a Segway with so much pedestrian traffic.


We were both hesitant getting on these peculiar looking pieces of equipment.  The safety video that Maureen showed us displayed people riding on these as easy if they were walking down the sidewalk but it also was scary with the possible incidents that could happen.  Maureen was very helpful in describing everything and taking us outside the RenCen to get us acquainted with her machinery.  It was to our amazement that we both caught on very quickly and off we went into the city.

We left the RenCen and headed into the mobs of people enjoying the festivities along the Detroit River.  We avoided going directly on the RiverWalk and used the bike path on the street that runs parallel with the river.  We quickly made our way onto the Dequindre Cut enjoying the smoothness of the new asphalt.  This path was much less populated than along the river which gave me a chance to open up the Segway and top it out at the 12mph max.  We enjoyed watching the landscape maintenance crew work on the grounds and the planned graffiti at various points while traveling along this part of the tour.

We quickly made it to Gratiot trying to maneuver our way to the Eastern Market area.  We later found out from Maureen that there was an easier path to travel.  As we came to the end of a overpass over the old rail road tracks, Mildred forgot how to stop and continued to move past the street that led us to the urban garden of Greening of Detroit.  Mil got control again and caught up with me so we could view the gated gardens.  Although it is still early in the growing season, we can only imagine what the gardens will look like in early August for the conference.  We then made our way over to Eastern Market which was quiet on this Friday afternoon.

We started our track back to downtown trying to take in the sights.  I’ve driven and walked downtown, but the Segways just gave me a whole new perspective of this “Great American City”.  We were surprised how quickly we had made it to this point of the trip, so we decided to go off course a little.  Once we made it to Woodward, we headed North towards a different crowd, baseball fans.  The stadium district was hopping with Tiger fans and the hard-to-believe Boston Red Sox fans.  Yes, you read that right.  Many (I mean I saw 100+) in our short journey.  If you are from another city that might not sound funny, but unless it was a playoff game people don’t travel from other cities to come to Detroit.  You might get the occasional driving fan from close cities such as Cleveland, Toronto or Pittsburgh but this was completely different.

2013-06-21 17.31.29

Mil and I than made our way past the filming site of the upcoming Transformers movie and onto our way to the headquarters of DTE Energy and the MGM Casino.  We enjoyed the massive water feature that is on the DTE campus and took a quick peak at MGM’s vegetable garden.  We then headed over to Lafayette Gardens.  Mil and I were really noticing our feet were getting fatigued.  Even though we weren’t walking, the way the Segways work is your feet/ankles do the accelerating/braking.

Segway Pretour3

Just as we were heading back to the front entrance at the GM Ren Cen we noticed there was a son and father completing their tour of the city.   Mil started a conversation with them and it was obvious they were from Boston.  They had stated that they were having so much fun on their visit to Motown.

We hope you can join us for APLD’s annual International Design Conference August 2 – 5, 2013.  Early bird registration closes in just a short time so cash in.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Steven D. Thoms, APLD, CGIP, CLP

President and Founding Member of APLD-MI

2013 APLD International Design Conference LSC Chair


APLD-MI Welcomes New Gold Sponsor

Providing our members with value for their membership and attracting new members is a costly endeavor.  The small amount we receive for the chapter membership dues is a very small portion of our budget.  Our chapter has been able to advertise, sponsor educational opportunities, and have a nice trade show booths because of our generous sponsors.  In early June, a new generous company has become a Gold Sponsor – Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.  The company the builds the “Finest Outdoor Kitchen Equipment” is known throughout the country for its grills, refrigerators, ovens and cabinets.  Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourment is based in Chicago but hand builds its stainless steel pieces of art right here in our state in the city of Kalamazoo.  Please check out their website at  Thank you for your support in advancing the profession of landscape design and promoting the recognition of landscape designers as qualified and dedicated professionals.

MGIA Trade Show and Convention

Another year of our presence at Michigan Green Industry Association’s annual Trade Show and Convention in Novi, Michigan. We are making our organization known to the 1000’s of landscape contractors wondering the isles looking for newest supplies, equipment and companies to help them prosper in 2012.  We always get a lot of interest but I see action in the future.  Designers who might actually pull the trigger to join.  Not having the attitude of someday when the economy is better.  Because it is better………


significantly!  Along with the excitement of the 2013 APLD International Design Conference coming to Detroit, I can see our membership doubling in the next 18 months.  Not that numbers are our focus, but with more people joining the forces it will make all landscape designers life easier.  Our booth looks great.  If you haven’t stop by yet to talk with us, please do so.  Booth number 131.