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Celebrating women in horticulture on International Women’s Day 2020

Looking around the horticulture industry, it’s hard not to notice the growing pool of women who are bringing innovation, knowledge and passion to the table to drive horticulture forward. From growers to suppliers to researchers to storytellers, women are having an influence on what we know and where we go as an industry. 

“More and more women are choosing to work in horticulture,” says Connie Bradt-Monsma, managing director of A.M.A. Horticulture Inc. “And that’s exciting because having a range of perspectives and experiences enables innovative, solutions-oriented thinking.”

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re shining a spotlight on some incredible women who are cultivating the future of horticulture.

Are you a women working in horticulture? Tell @amahort why you love this industry on Twitter using the hashtag #womeninhort!


JULIE CLANCY

Co-Owner, Manager, Purchaser, Belgian Nursery Ltd.

Julie Clancy Belgian Nursery International Womens Day A.M.A Horticulture

Why do you love working in horticulture?

For the love of plants! The love I have from working in horticulture comes from being able to play with plants, working with amazing people, coordinating the dramatic ebb and flow of the seasons and the joy of sharing knowledge with customers and staff. I am grateful to be able to watch new plants from the start and enjoy seeing them flourish.

What accomplishment or innovation are you most proud of?

I am proud to be a recipient of the Top 10 under 40 in 2016 from Greenhouse Canada. It is always nice to see the younger generations getting excited about horticulture.

Belgian Nursery is a family owned and operated greenhouse/garden center since 1959, specializing in growing one acre of annuals; offering a wide selection of perennials, tropical houseplants (including a 5,400 sq ft cactus and succulent house), decorative pots, and garden supplies and décor.

DARBY MCGRATH

Research Scientist, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre

Darby McGrath Vineland Research International Womens Day A.M.A. Horticulture

Why do you love working in horticulture?

I love being in horticulture because the industry is full of amazing people and as a researcher I get to work with those amazing people to help solve problems and fill the world with trees and plants!

What accomplishment or innovation are you most proud of?

Well, of course, top of my list is developing RootSmartTM with the fantastic team at A.M.A. Horticulture! Projects like that are so exciting because we developed a solution to a problem the industry was experiencing and now we can watch the impact it is having for the growers and the end-users – all of us benefiting from having trees in our landscapes.

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is a world-class research centre dedicated to horticultural science and innovation.

JOYCE HULTINK

Hultink Garden Centre Ltd. – A Place to Grow

Hultink Garden Centre A.M.A. Horticulture

Why do you love working in horticulture?

The horticulture industry offers me the opportunity to watch live product grow from seed to final bloom. In this business I get to see the joy and satisfaction of customers when we share ideas and stories of their plantings. I love the outdoors so this is a great side benefit of being in this business.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

We started this business 29 years ago on barren property. After challenges and some struggles with raising 4 children and starting a new business we are thankful to this present day with the greenhouses and landscape bulk business that has been accomplished. We are able to grow and sell all at one location which allows our customers to see the plants from seed to flower.

What does innovation mean to you?

Innovation is introducing new ideas and products which are beneficial to our industry. Eco-friendly solutions and reducing waste is something our customers would like to see more of.  With weather change we may be also changing to more drought resistant plants in the future.

Established in 1991, Hultink Garden Center Ltd. has been a mainstay in Renfrew, Ontario, delivering quality product and great customer service.   

MIRIAM KOLEN

Miriam Kolen Desch Plantpak International Womens Day AMA

Sales Manager, Desch Plantpak

Why do you love working in horticulture?

Working in horticulture is a labour of love. I just love plants and flowers and all people that have a passion for the horticultural business that surround me. At Desch Plantpak, we love putting all these beauties in nice pots and good quality trays.

What accomplishment or innovation are you most proud of?

I am proud of having a team of passionate and loyal colleagues around me for over two decades that takes care of and innovates with our great customers all over the world.

What do you want to say to other women in the industry?

All women that work in the greenhouse industry should be honored this month. The Earth and Passion are in her hands. Let’s inspire, encourage, develop, empower and value all women in horticulture.

Desch Plantpak devises and creates innovative products for professional horticulture. A.M.A. is a proud North American supplier of solutions by Desch.   

KAREN DAVIDSON

Karen Davidson The Grower International Womens Day A.M.A. Horticulture

Editor, The Grower

Why do you love working in horticulture?

Horticulture is so diverse from apples to zucchini that I never tire of field visits. I was recently in a multi-acre greenhouse alive with bees pollinating the troughs of  strawberries — surely one of the great innovations of recent years.

What accomplishment or innovation are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of the concept of “photo safari” where four or five field visits are planned for a specific geographic area. I research the story line well in advance, brief the professional photographer on the key message and then we travel and photograph several growers in a day. No interviews. This allows for first-rate cover photographs that are in season — one year in advance of publication.

The Grower is a Canadian horticulture publication that reaches 12,000 commercial growers of fruits and vegetables across Canada.

KRISTIN EGO MACPHAIL

President/Owner, Ego’s Nurseries Ltd.  

Why do you love working in horticulture?

I love growing plants and connecting them with people. From early spring seedlings to the glorious colours of summer, it’s very rewarding to grow something that inspires joy and enhances people’s lives. 

What accomplishment or innovation are you most proud of?

I like to think we are constantly learning and applying innovative techniques and processes to continually improve how we grow and market our plants and produce as well as engage our end consumers to help ensure their success. I particularly enjoy searching out and evaluating new varieties of plants and assessing them with our customers in mind. Considerations are not just limited to new colours, size or flavours but also how well they adapt and grow in our local environment, maintenance needs, water and resource use, etc.

What do you think the future of horticulture needs?

The future of horticulture depends on our connection and engagement with people… our customers success with our products whether fresh produce or plants, inspiring youth to seek careers in horticulture, and ultimately showing the value we provide society with our plants.

Ego’s Nurseries has been growing fresh produce, annuals and hardy nursery plants since 1975 in beautiful Oro-Medonte Township. We connect people with plants. 


At A.M.A., we believe that more viewpoints help to generate better solutions for growers success. We wish everyone – and especially the talented and hard-working women in horticulture – a Happy International Women’s Day!

Want more #womeninhort content? Read your story from International Women’s Day 2019. A.M.A.’s women team members share their thoughts on the future of horticulture.

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