Dear Homeowners,

Spring is in the air, making it the perfect time to consider landscaping projects. Some homeowners dive right in, become weekend warriors and tackle projects on their own. Other projects require the expertise of a professional landscape contactor. In either case, Cincy Home Magazine and the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association (ONLA) can help.

The ONLA, Ohio's only all-encompassing green industry association, is a professional organization representing the state's nursery stock growers, landscape designers and contractors, lawn and landscape maintenance, arborists, irrigation specialists, garden center retailers and allied suppliers.

The ONLA provides members with a wide array of publications, educational events and professional business services that keep them abreast of industry trends, give them up-to-date scientific research on plant matters, and help them lower their cost of doing business.

Furthermore, the ONLA is proud to offer the Ohio Certified Nursery Technician (OCNT) program for green industry professionals. The OCNT program, now over 20 years old, includes three areas of specialization: Garden Center, Grower and Landscape. Each area of specialization has its own study manual and test developed by college professors and industry leaders. Those who successfully obtain all three specializations are granted the "Master" technician status.

Professional certification is one of the most important steps an individual can take to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to his or her career. Certification reflects achievement and establishes professional credentials. The OCNT program gives companies and individuals the opportunity to increase their knowledge and ability to perform to set standards.

How does this affect you, the customer? The more professional the people you do business with, the happier you'll be. Regardless of your landscaping or gardening needs, it's a good idea to select ONLA member firms and those who employ OCNTs. ONLA member firms are sources of reliable advice. Their personnel can assist you in selecting the best and latest varieties of plants, answer your horticultural questions and assist you in beautifying your environment.

Look for the ONLA and OCNT logos at your favorite garden center and ask your landscape contractors and suppliers if they are members of the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association.

We've been growing professionals since 1908.

Kevin Thompson, Executive Director
Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association