The Great Big Plant Event

Register for The Great Big Plant Event Now.

On-demand video demos and a series of live events offer step by step information for entering the plant market or driving current sales. Leading retail florists, industry professionals, and “plantfluencers” teach you how to source the best plants for your customers, provide care tips to keep them coming back, how to set up engaging displays, and much more.


The Great Big Plant Event Includes:


Unlimited access to 23 on-demand video demos that can be viewed at any time in your Career Connections account and registration to two live events.  See our full list of speakers

Live Events:

Tuesday March 23 at 2:00 PM EST: A Cross Segment Sourcing Panel

Tuesday March 30 at 2:00 PM EST: A Presentation by “plantfluencer” Marcus Bridgewater also known as Garden Marcus

  • Contains 3 Component(s) Recorded On: 03/30/2021

    Join SAF for featured live sessions to expand on what you’ve learned.

    Join SAF for these featured live events during the month of March!

    SAF Great Big Plant Event Dates

    o   Tuesday March 9 at 2 p.m. eastern: A conversation with Eliza Blank of The Sill, which has been a major disruptor of plant sales in the online space.

    o   Tuesday March 23 at 2 p.m. eastern: A cross-segment sourcing panel that includes time for Q&A.

    o   Tuesday March 30 at 2 p.m. eastern: A presentation by "plantfluencer" Marcus Bridgewater, also known as Garden Marcus.

    Eliza Blank

    Founder & CEO

    The Sill

    Eliza Blank is the Founder & CEO at The Sill, a digitally native direct-to-consumer houseplant brand on a mission to modernize the garden center experience. Prior to launching The Sill, Eliza served as a Brand Strategist at Wolff Olins, one of the leading brand agencies in the world, and as a Brand Manager at Living Proof, a Polaris Partners backed beauty company that exited to Unilever. She has been featured in The New York Times, Domino Magazine, Refinery29, NPR, and Forbes, and in books including Living with Pattern, The Kinfolk Home, and My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired. Eliza holds a BS in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU. Her favorite plant is the Philodendron Cordatum because it grows quickly and is incredibly resilient.

    Marcus Bridgewater


    Choice Forward

    Marcus Bridgewater, commonly known as Garden Marcus, is a speaker, creator, and plant enthusiast. He began gardening when he bought his first house nearly seven years ago. After killing nine of his original 16 plants, he found himself determined to learn how to care for all living things. He now has around 500 plants at his Texas home. He developed his internet presence by connecting his observations in his garden to greater life lessons, and has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue, and the Los Angeles Times. When he is not in his garden, he is leading presentations, workshops, and seminars with Choice Forward. 


  • Contains 5 Component(s)

    Conversations with top plant-influencers from around the country.

    These socially-savvy “plantfluencers” will share their own plant journey, care tips and philosophy—and how their love of plants translates with their wide social following.


    Darryl Chang


    House Plant Journal

    Darryl Chang is the creator of the incredibly popular blog and Instagram account, House Plant Journal. Darryl’s commitment to excellence, passion for plants and thirst for knowledge have turned him into one of the most trusted resources of the internet houseplant world. What was initially a hobby Tumblr page has turned into an Instagram account with over 500,000 followers, a foundational houseplant care book entitled ‘The New Plant Parent’ and plant time-lapse videos that have gone viral around the world.

    Alika "Jade" Turner

    Plant Care Consultant

    The Black Plant Chick

    Plant Care Consultant and Podcaster Alika Turner, also known as Jade, is more than a plant woman; she has a real appreciation for nature and the significant role it plays in our lives. In her business, Jade takes comfort in knowing that her influence not only helps in saving plants but also saving humans. She is an advocate for plant and garden therapy; you can learn more about her story on her popular podcast The Black Plant Chick Pod. Alika aspires to teach people the benefits of connecting with plants and the healing power they hold. From hosting workshops to creating plant guide videos for magazines like House Beautiful, you can find Alika sharing a wealth of knowledge across platforms of all sizes. Her motto is "love, peace, and propagate."

  • Contains 8 Component(s)

    Hear what trends successful plant marketers are watching, and how they leverage those trends in their marketing.

    Hear what trends successful plant marketers - with a variety of business models - are watching, and how they leverage those trends in their marketing.  


    Rebekah Gross

    Creative Project & Account Manager

    Plant Shed New York Flowers

    Rebekah Gross is the Creative Project & Account Manager for Plant Shed New York Flowers. She has worked in music, fashion and botanical design throughout her career. She specializes in creative project management, conceptualization and installation of experiential biophilic and floral designs, and managing creative partnerships in the B2B sphere. She currently leads a team of horticulturists and designers to create livingscapes for both private consumers and large business structures.  

    Danae Horst


    Folia Collective

    Danae was an LA-based photographer and prop stylist when her obsession with plants, and desire to see people feel empowered to care for them, drove her to start Folia Collective, an indoor plant store with stylish goods for plants and plant lovers. Most mornings you'll find her out zipping around wholesale plant nurseries searching for the best plants for the shop. Danae is also an author her book, Houseplants For All, came out in August of 2020 which teaches readers how to fill any home with happy plants. 

    Sandy Schroeck, AIFD, CFD,PFCI


    Trend On Design

    As the owner of Trend On Design, in Eden Prairie, Minn., Schroeck lives by the mantra “educate, inspire, influence” and it shows. She thrives on the energy of a crowd, and she’s passionate about introducing even seasoned floral professionals to new products, creative mechanics and design techniques to become more innovative and profitable designers.
    Sandy Schroeck is an award-winning designer, trend watcher and educator with extensive experience in the floral industry.  Having gained professional retail and wholesale experience during her career, Sandy has a unique perspective for the promotion of successful floral and gift businesses. With a strong belief of excellence in design, Sandy is a member of the American Institute of Floral Design.

    Derek Woodruff, AIFD, CFD, PFCI, CF


    Floral Underground

    Derek Woodruff joined the floral industry at the age of 16 where he began learning floral design in vocational school and working for a local florist. Since then, he has continued to study the trade through institutes such as Michigan State University, the Michigan Floral Association (MFA), and the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). In 2008 he launched his own business, Floral Underground. Woodruff enjoys presenting on stage, in hands-on workshops, and also online to audiences of floral designers and consumers alike. He has won numerous awards including the 2016 Sylvia Cup Design Competition. 

  • Contains 18 Component(s)

    Go behind the scenes with retail florists who have a successful plant presence as they provide short demonstrations and best practices for sourcing, caring for, and selling plants.

    Go behind the scenes with retail florists who have a successful plant presence as they provide short demonstrations and best practices for sourcing, caring for, and selling plants. Topics will include effective in-store and online merchandising, sourcing, how to create interactive plant experiences and educating customers on plant care.


    Gracie Alvarez


    Tiger Garden - University of Missouri

    Gracie Alvarez is from Little Rock, Arkansas and is currently studying journalism and political science at the University of Missouri where she will graduate in May 2022. Gracie started working at Tiger Garden her freshman year of college and has been there ever since. She helps manage Tiger Garden’s social media and website as well as working day-to-day in the shop. She loves working in floral design because it is an amazing creative outlet, and she loves learning more about different kinds of flowers and plants. She is also appreciative of the opportunity Tiger Garden gives her to learn more about everything it takes to run a retail flower shop. 

    Michele Blakeslee


    Nielsen’s Florist & Garden Shop

    Michele Blakeslee is a Horticulturist, UConn Graduate and avid gardener who is passionate about plants and pollinators. She is celebrating 12 years at Nielsen’s Florist this year and is known to many as the plant expert or houseplant guru. Michele is known for her help with seasonal containers, educating gardeners in the community and inspiring children about the world of plants through Nielsen’s lectures, hands-on classes and children’s events throughout the year.

    With a strong knowledge of herbs, Michele was mentored by the Gilbertie family on the basics of herb and organic vegetable gardening in her earlier years. A few years later, Michele established her own small landscape company providing design, installation and maintenance for perennial and ornamental gardens. Today, she continues to pass along these practical tips and convey the importance of how we can make a difference keeping our earth chemical free. Growing plants should be stress-free and enjoyable and Michele’s philosophy is to inspire people to grow plants inside the home or create outstanding gardens

    Eliane Botts


    Tiger Garden - University of Missouri

    Eliane Botts is a Columbia, Missouri native, a senior German major at the University of Missouri with minors in Plant Science and Art, as well as a student leader at Tiger Garden. Eliane first started working at Tiger Garden the summer before her freshman year at the University of Missouri and has been working there for 3 ½ years now. Along with her academic studies, she has loved working at Tiger Garden for the real-life experience and connections that Tiger Garden allows her to make. She knows it is a unique opportunity to take part in a program that allows her to work alongside her peers to run a business together and always strive to improve Tiger Garden.

    Amberlee Gandy


    Tiger Garden - University of Missouri

    Amberlee Gandy is a member of the student leadership team at Tiger Garden as well as a teaching assistant in the floral design classroom at the University of Missouri. She will be graduating in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education - Leadership and Communications and a certificate in Floral Design. Originally from Gower, Missouri, she has now resided in Columbia, MO for the past three years. Over the course of her time at the University, Amberlee has been involved in the Agricultural Education Program. She began working as a clerical assistant with the department during August 2018 and has been with the program ever since. She served as the 2020 president of Mizzou Ag Ed Society as well as a 2020 Agricultural Education Program Ambassador. Amberlee also found an interest in Mizzou’s Student Chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers where she served as the 2020 AIFD Liaison. She found her passion for wedding floral design while working at the on campus floral shop throughout the past three years. As she worked her way through the floral design program, Amberlee discovered that she could see herself pursuing floral design as a career. She uses her creativity and originality for telling the stories of others through flowers. 

    Terril Nell, Ph.D., AAF

    Research Coordinator

    American Floral Endowment

    Terril A. Nell is Professor Emeritus of Floriculture at the University of Florida. He served as chair of the Environmental Horticulture Department from 1991 – 2012 and he was Professor of Floriculture from 1977 – 2011 before retiring from the University of Florida in 2011. His research results have led to changes in floral industry practices including enhanced production techniques and improved flower and plant longevity. He is a member of the American Academy of Floriculture and received the Paul Ecke Jr. Award from the Society of American Florists for exemplary devotion to profession, industry and community. Terril served on the board of directors of SAF from 1995 – 2007 and was president of the Society of American Florists from 2003 – 2005. He currently serves as the Research Coordinator for the American Floral Endowment.

    Heather Waits


    Bloomtastic Flowers & Events

    Heather Waits is president of Bloomtastic Florist Inc., in Upper Arlington, Ohio. An expert on marketing, networking, operations and customer service (particularly in relation to weddings), she has written articles for several industry publications, including Floral Management, Florists’ Review and The Wedding Business Magazine. She has presented sessions at two SAF conventions and served on the Floral Management Advisory Committee. The Knot and Wedding Wire have recognized her work and locals named her shop "Columbus’ best florist.”

    Eileen Weber, AAF

    Vice President

    Lake Forest Flowers

    After growing up in her father’s flower shop, Eileen pursued a bachelor’s degree in horticultural production and marketing at Purdue University. It was her love of working with people and the impact of flowers that led Weber to officially join the family business. She has an MBA and serves as vice president of Lake Forest Flowers managing business operations, marketing and community engagement. She teaches floral design at a local art center, garden club programs, private parties and monthly adult and children’s workshops.

    Tanner Wheat

    Greenhouse Manager/Buyer

    Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop and Garden Center

    Tanner Wheat attended the Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colorado and joined the family business, where he is now the Greenhouse Manager/Buyer, after a decade long career in the cycling industry. Tanner and his wife, Kayla, an art teacher for Denver Academy, enjoy their days off camping and mountain biking through their beautiful state. Their sidekick Turbo, a rescued retired racing greyhound, visits the greenhouse every day with Tanner and is loved by staff and regular customers. Tanner has attended SAF’s Congressional Action days since 2015, bring the floral industry’s message to Capitol Hill. He is also the past member of the board of directors for the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. 

Premier Partners 

46 & Spruce

46 & Spruce is an online hard goods supply company that offers a beautifully curated selection of products for the gift shop, event, and floral industry professionals. With a free Professional account, you get exclusive access to bulk quantities of popular products at attractive prices. Set up your free account today. > 46 &



Accent Decor

We Sell Beautiful Vases + Decor to Beautiful Businesses

In a world filled with so much of the same, we find great value in the power of inspiration. We like to think we go beyond your average wholesale supplier by delighting in the discovery of design-focused vessels and the ability to provide them at prices accessible to all. >



Heart of Florida Greenhouses

Developing Innovative Plants for the Home Space and the Work Place

The core of any business is its commitment to service. At Heart of Florida Greenhouses, we strive to offer the best service in the foliage industry. >

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  • Kate Delaney

    We can keep the Great Big Plant Event momentum going with ongoing discussions.  Comments? Questions? Observations?  This is the place!

  • Laura Weaver

    Welcome to the Discussion Forum!  Feel free to post any comments, questions, observations here to keep the conversation going about the Great Big Plant Event!