Favorite Celebs & Friends Speaking at Garden Show – Part 2

Favorite Celebs & Friends Speaking at Garden Show – Part 2

Today we have Part 2 of our blog on the Northwest gardening celebs, friends and mentors we have grown to love over the years at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show (here’s Part 1).  Some of these gardening gurus have been speaking at the show since it first heralded spring back in 1989!


So now you can catch a sneak preview of what you can expect from our local household names at the 2012 show. (Just go to the Seminar Schedule pages of our website for complete details on each speaker.)


No one is more of a household name in this region than James Morris. Huh? Who? Oh, you all know him as Ciscoe. Like Madonna, Cher, and Lassie before him, Ciscoe is a garden celeb who needs no last name. He’s been sharing his passion and educating legions of gardens, beginners and veterans alike, for over two decades. He’ll be back at the show telling us about his peak performing plants for every month of the year, and the indestructible plants that survive the toughest conditions. If these plants meet Ciscoe’s demanding standards, they are sure to meet yours.


Debra Prinzing has a new book coming out in April, The 50 Mile Bouquet: Discovering the World of Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers, with photographer David Perry. It’s sure to be an exquisitely photographed, insightful and entertaining tome on floral bouquets – definitely not your Gramma’s flower arrangements. As a sneak preview to the book, Debra will be showing us how to create the bouquets of our dreams, using fresh garden materials and cleverly reused objects. No more staid, symmetrical frou-frou flowers on florist foam. Debra’s cheerful seminars will get you in touch with your new, improved floral designer self, with beautiful bouquets to show for it.


If you follow David Perry’s blog or Facebook page, you know his eye for photography is expressed in unusual, compelling, and visually arresting ways. And OMG, many of his photos are taken from his iPhone! If you’ve got a smart phone glued to your hand, you really must attend David’s seminar – “iPhone Gardener.” He will show you the amazing potential that these cameras have to offer, recommend some good apps to use for photo manipulation, and in general, just have you in stitches with his insouciant view of the world. Learning technical stuff was never so much fun, so do yourself a favor and if you haven’t already, discover David Perry. You’ll be glad you did.


I always say Richie Steffen, curator of the Elizabeth Miller Botanical Garden, is just way too serious. He is, of course, serious about plants. But he shares his seriously incredible knowledge about plants in a lively and passionate way, with a infectious laugh and good humor that makes all his seminars entertaining, along with educational. Richie and the Great Plant Picks people have a new group of plants you must have – shade tolerant plants, all tried and true for Northwest gardens. If you’ve got shade (and who doesn’t here in the uber green Pacific Northwest?) you won’t want to miss Richie’s list of reliable plants for the shade garden.


Greg Butler wants to save you from yourself. That is, he wants to share the fundamentals of good garden design, so you don’t fall into the trap of hodge-podge planting, overplanting, poorly placed plants, inappropriate plants (see the trend here?) and more. Sound impossible? Like the song, his seminar is titled “Do-Re-Mi,” and, as Greg says, “Take it from “Mi”, your garden can be a “Re” of sunshine on the dreariest day, and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of “Do”!” And when you see Greg’s incredible before-and-after photos, you will be glad you took the time to solve garden problems before you begin to plant!


Mary Ann Newcomer invites her readers to the gardens of the Wild, Wild West on her blog of the same name. Now she wants to invite you all to set a spell and do some weaving – of beautiful garden tapestries, that is. Mary Ann’s seminar will help you discover some perfect compositions and combinations in your garden – plants that just naturally look good together. (You know, the plants that always seem to be in other people’s gardens, but not your own.) Designers know how to do this, and you will too, after seeing Mary Ann’s seminar showcasing gorgeous color combinations that you can pull off at home.


If any gardening celeb was on a Mission, it’s Cass Turnbull. She has dedicated her life, through the founding of the invaluable organization Plant Amnesty, to stop the senseless torture and mutilation of shrubs and trees. Cass wants to teach you how to prune, and, more importantly, how NOT to prune! At her seminar this year she’s tackling those quintessential Northwest shrubs – rhododendron, hydrangea, callicarpa (beautyberry), Viburnum bodnantense and abelia. If you’ve got one or more of these babies, Cass’ seminar should be at the top of your list. (Oh, how I wish my neighbors would all come to this seminar!)


Linda Chalker-Scott, the Northwest’s resident myth buster, wants to save both new gardeners and veterans from wasting their time and money slavishly following “rules” that were meant to be broken. The author of two best-sellers, The Informed Gardener and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again, she’s going to introduce you to your garden soil like you’ve never seen it before. Don’t spend another dime on “amendments” until you’ve heard Linda’s scientific know-how. Great gardens come from great soil, and Linda will help you get yours where it needs to go.


The imaginative ideas in Lorene Edwards Forkner’s brain must zoom as fast as a hummingbird. She always seems to be in motion, and her infectious personality infuses everything she does. Now she’s gathered many of her top ideas into the must-have new book, Handmade Garden Projects: Step by Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More, just released by Timber Press. She’ll be sharing her top tricks at the show, helping you to avoid spending your hard-earned dollars on a projects and having it all end up in the dumpster (I speak from experience).


If you’re a chicken, or just want to start keeping chickens, then Jessi Bloom’s new book, Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard, should be on your list. Really, what self-respecting chicken wants to be cooped up in a cage all the time? Jessi will be showing you how to live free with your chickens. From her sage advice on keeping them, to the best plants to grow in your garden all around them, you’ll feel better allowing your chickens to roam free as, well, as a bird. And the upside to happy chickens is eggs – lots of fresh eggs. Yum!


These are just some of the many stellar garden speakers giving seminars at the show this year. Next up, a look at some of the new speakers who will be taking the stages of the Rainier and Hood Rooms and the DIY Stage. With so many speakers to choose from, you’ll want to plan your days, so check out the Seminar Schedule soon. ~ Janet


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