Get Engaged

Special Events & Projects

One of the best ways you can engage with HRI and learn more about our mission is to attend one of our donor appreciation events or participate in one of our special projects. These events are a fun way to meet others who share the vision of advancing horticultural research, creating innovative new methods and products, and supporting next generations of horticultural students.


Receptions are typically held in conjunction with the horticultural conventions MANTS in Baltimore, MD and Cultivate in Columbus, OH.


Tour de Hort

One of the most successful event fundraisers in HRI’s history was Tour de Hort which started with one man, his bike, and a love of horticulture and spanned four years.

In the summer of 1999, Gordie Bailey, Jr. (Bailey Nurseries, Inc. [link to Gordie’s donor profile page]) celebrated his 64th birthday while en route from Oregon to Minnesota. The 2,100-mile ride was dubbed the ‘Tour de Hort” and raised over $350,000 in contributions for HRI. Two years later, in the summer of 2001, Gordie set out from Bailey Nurseries main office in Newport, Minnesota on the ‘Tour de Hort II’ and rode over 1,200-miles to Cleveland, Ohio arriving just in time for the American Nursery & Landscape Association convention. Bailey and the HRI board of trustees were delighted to exceed their goals and raised $550,000 for industry research.

In the summer of 2003, Gordie rode from Cleveland to Boston where the ANLA held its annual conference, arriving on July 17th. During the 1,270-mile ride, Gordie stop and visited as many industry friends as he could while HRI hosted site stops along the route. The goal for the ‘Tour de Hort III – The Finish Line’ was to reach a combined total of $1.25 million dollars for industry research which was raised by Gordie for HRI.


Trek de Hort

Following in Gordie’s footsteps (or bike tracks!), Bob Dolibois (then the executive vice president of HRI’s association partner American Nursery & Landscape Association—now AmericanHort) and his wife Susie spent their summer 2007 vacation in Tanzania, trekking to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. "Kili" is the tallest freestanding mountain rise in the world and the highest peak in Africa at 19,340 feet!

Together, they made the trip to raise funds for HRI. Their trek was made in honor of the green industry that they have served for the past 16 years and in recognition of Gordie Bailey’s visionary trip Tour de Hort.


Book de Hort

In 2015, Bob Dolibois continued his fundraising journey with the creation of a new product—the book Back Then to Right Now: The Horticultural Industry Comes of Age. Picking up the horticultural industry’s story from the mid-1970s (when Richard P. White wrote A Century of Service: A History of the Nursery Industry Associations of the United States), Bob and his editor Sally Benson (executive editor of American Nurseryman Magazine) spent several years combing through publications, conducting extensive interviews with leaders, and documenting the growth of our industry.

The evolution of the nursery and landscape industry and its associations has undergone a lifetime of change. From clipboards to computers, and from operating comfortably under the radar to experiencing increased governmental and regulatory scrutiny, commercial horticulture has evolved to become an economic force that’s larger than Hollywood.

How we grew from the mid-1970s to present is a fascinating tale told expertly by Bob Dolibois, who guided an industry association for 21 years through tumultuous growing pains as well as bountiful boom times. In Back Then to Right Now: The Horticultural Industry Comes of Age, Dolibois explores how our industry has evolved to meet modern consumer demands, the ways government impacts our businesses today, and he articulates the core values that makes horticulture a remarkable industry. More than that, the book is an entertaining yet factual tale of our shared history.

A limited number of books have been published and they are available to donors when making a minimum contribution ($100). All proceeds from the book will benefit the Horticultural Research Institute.