Seminar Spotlight –Discover Design & Plant Choices to Benefit Nature

Seminar Spotlight –Discover Design & Plant Choices to Benefit Nature

Kate Frey talks about how to encourage pollinators to your garden and why they are so vital to both plants and to humans.

The choices we make in our gardens, whether they are design choices for hardscapes, structures, accessories and water features or plant choices, can have a profound effect on the other creatures of the Earth who share our gardens with us. But having a garden that is sustainable, one that protects and promotes wildlife and works within available resources, doesn’t mean having a boring garden. Anything but! These savvy speakers will help you think about your garden in new ways, discover earth-friendly (and money-saving) gardening techniques, help you analyze chronic plant problems, and get your creative juices flowing as you discover recycling and reuse. You’ve heard of ‘beneficial insects,’ those insects that we should encourage because they are good for the garden? Well, become a ‘beneficial gardener” – one who is good for the Earth.


Kate Frey – Director, Sonoma State University Sustainable Landscape program
Kate Frey began her career of working with plants and in nature as a seasonal with the state forestry, Forest Service and California Park system. At Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland, California, where Kate worked for 18 years, she managed and designed the six-acre, profuse and colorful organic gardens, as well as extensive sustainable landscaping around the facilities and the Bonterra Ranch. Kate earned a B.A. Summa Cum Laude with Distinction in English at Sonoma State University in 2006. In May, 2003 her garden at the Chelsea Flower Show won a Silver/Gilt Medal, and in 2005 and 2007 her gardens, illustrating many elements of biodiversity and sustainability, won Gold medals and were visited by the Queen. In July 2009 Kate became the director of the Sonoma State University Sustainable Landscape program.

Encouraging Pollinators in the Garden
Bringing Bees Back into Your Landscapes
Thursday, February 24 at 4:15 pm in the Hood Room
Planting pollinator and bee gardens not only ensure your and your neighbors flowers and fruit trees are pollinated, but also helps perpetuate species whose habitats have been severely impacted by agricultural and urban development. The good news is that the same flowers that offer appropriate pollen and nectar resources to bees also make us happy. Though many of us only think of honeybees with we think of pollinators, there are over 1700 species of bees. This seminar will offer an overview of a few examples of the common groups of bees and the flowers they prefer, along with the kinds of gardens that foster them.

Gardens That Give
Creating Sustainable Gardens that Sit Lightly on the Planet
Friday, February 25 at 11:30 am in the Rainier Room
What challenges do we and our gardens face today? Our gardens should generate happiness, but should also sit lightly on the planet and be sustainable. Sustainability is more than what the name implies. Most often it is not a matter of simply sustaining a rich array of local climate and soil-adapted plants in our gardens that consume small amounts of resources, offer habitat to insects and birds, shade our houses, and grow on healthy, permeable soils; we must create these systems ourselves. This seminar will give practical, easy-to-follow information on the steps to creating beauty-filled gardens that make us happy, use few resources, are easy to care for and are filled with life; gardens that give rather than take.


Author Matthew Levesque shows how you can reuse materials for dollar-smart, Earth-friendly landscapes.

Matthew Levesque – Author, The Revolutionary Yardscape
Matthew Levesque is the founding manager of San Francisco’s Building Resources, the Bay Area’s only nonprofit architectural salvage and reuse center which he continues to run. He also developed and operates the Red Shovel Glass Company, manufacturing recycled glass products for landscape applications. Matthew is the author of The Revolutionary Yardscape: Repurposing Local Materials to Create Containers, Pathways, Lighting and More (Timber Press, 2010). He teaches classes on a wide variety of subjects relating to resource conservation and creative reuse. He also designs gardens specializing in landscapes, design and art from reused materials. He and his wife live in both Alameda, California and Grapeview, Washington. Website:

Putting Repurposing into the Garden Plan
How to Design with Eco-Friendly Repurposed Materials
Friday, February 25 at 3:00 pm in the Hood Room
Planning a new garden, or maybe an overdue overhaul of an older one? Stuck with a small urban space? Put some repurposing into the design mix! There are hundreds of fantastic materials out there, but you won’t find them at your local garden center. Learn how to locate and use dollar-smart, eco-friendly, repurposed materials that can turn your garden into a beautiful, personal, earth-friendly haven, and not just another cookie-cutter plot. Creative reuse expert and author Matthew Levesque will share his secrets of “shopping downstream” to find fabulous materials bursting with potential. Illustrated with colorful photos of completed projects, this is a perfect seminar for those in the planning stages, urban gardeners, and for those who just want to add some zip to their garden, no matter how small.

The Revolutionary Yardscape
Repurposing Materials to Build Containers, Paths & More
Saturday, February 26 at 2:15 pm in the Rainer Room
If we are to build not just sustainable gardens, but really revolutionary gardens, where do we begin? If we desire vibrant and bright yardscapes, ripe with hand-built beauty, firmly anchored in their local settings, how do we proceed? Author and designer Matthew Levesque maintains that the answers are to be found in the creative reuse of local materials. An expert in designing landscapes with reused materials, Matthew will share proven strategies, easy tools, and step-by-step instructions for repurposing a number of local materials to make paths, containers, lighting and more.


Richie Steffen – Curator, Miller Botanical Garden
Richie Steffen is the curator for the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden where he manages the rare plant collections and heads acquisition of new plants for the garden. Richie has been actively involved in the horticultural community currently serving as a committee member of the Great Plant Picks program and as a board member of the Hardy Fern Foundation and Northwest Horticultural Society. An avid gardener, he maintains a small garden at home as well where he constantly experiments with new plants and growing conditions. Through his travel abroad he had gained a great appreciation for the flora of the world and the richness of Northwest horticulture. Drawing from these varied experiences Richie is always ready to share his enthusiasm for plants and the people who grow them. Pick up the new full-color poster of the 2011 Great Plant Picks at booth #2150. Website:

Inspiration in a Responsible Garden
Making Gardening a Personal Experience
Wednesday, February 23 at 11:00 am in the Hood Room
Embracing creative elements, plant collections, personality, and climate into the landscape is a recipe for bringing fun back to gardening and adding to our urban environment. It is time for us to return to loving plants and part ways with just building new patios. See the unusual, the oddities and the unconventional landscapes that make gardening truly a personal experience.

The new Great Plant Picks of 2011 are 'Fun in the Sun' and drought tolerant. Rickie Steffen shares the new list of outstanding performers in his seminar, and also talks about gardening responsibly.

Fun in the Sun with Great Plant Picks
Waterwise Gardening for the Pacific Northwest
Saturday, February 26 at 5:45 pm in the Hood Room
Smart water use is essential for today’s landscape. Over the years the Great Plant Picks has assembled a beautiful array of hardy and drought tolerant selections for our region’s gardens. Learn about the best selections for sunny dry spots to provide year-round interest, as well as bright splashed of seasonal color. The new 2011 Great Plant Picks will be available along with copies of the new poster and additional handouts listing drought tolerant plants for various garden sites.

THE GARDEN SHOW – Plant Explorers
Outrageous Tales from Truly Obsessed Plant Geeks
Friday, February 25 at 2:30 pm in the Rainier Room
And now for something really different! Four plant hunters get together to talk about what it takes to discover new plants in the wild and collect precious seed from promising new plant varieties. This is a totally spontaneous and ad-libbed conversation hosted by Richie Steffen, Curator of the Miller Botanical Garden, with guest stars Panayoti Kelaidis, senior curator and director of outreach at the Denver Botanic Garden; and Kelly Dodson and Sue Milliken, the team behind Far Reaches Farm, who are busy planning another seed collecting and plant hunting expedition to China this fall.


Got chlorosis? Linda Chalker-Scott is 'The Informed Gardener,' and tells you how to prevent and solve your plant problems. Photo courtesy of Linda Chalker-Scott.

Linda Chalker-Scott – Author, The Informed Gardener & WSU Horticulture instructor
Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Linda has lectured extensively to a variety of audiences on diverse topics, all pertaining to sustainable landscaping and always based on current and relevant plant science. In 2009, she and three other academic colleagues launched “The Garden Professors” blog. Over the past 11 years, Dr. Chalker-Scott has written for Fine Gardening, Organic Gardening, and MasterGardener Magazine. Her first book, The Informed Gardener (UW Press, 2008), is an award-winning examination of some common horticultural myths. The sequel – The Informed Gardener Blooms Again – was released by UW Press in 2010 and continues horticultural myth-busting. She also recently published Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: good science – practical application (GFG Publishing, 2009). Follow her blogs at and website at

The Informed Gardener Blooms Again
Busting Common Myths about Gardening Practices
Sunday, February 27 at 9:30 am in the Hood Room
This seminar provides a partial overview of information contained in the author’s most recent book The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (University of Washington Press, 2010), which continues to challenge many dearly loved assumptions about urban gardens and landscapes. The book includes sections on evidence-based gardening, understanding how plants work, how/what/when/where to plant, soil additives, mulches, and miracles in a bag/bottle/box. The beginning of this seminar will focus on some common myths regarding the management of urban soils and the handling of roots during transplanting. Later, the audience will be invited to ask questions and participate in discussion of other myths addressed in the book. The text of the seminar will be provided on handouts, and signings of this new book and the award-winning The Informed Gardener will be available after the seminar.

Linda Chalker-Scott shows how plants' root growth can be drastically affected by soil conditions. Find out how to improve your soil in her 2 seminars at the show. Photo courtesy of Linda Chalker-Scott.

Meet Your Garden Soil
Discover the Easy Steps for Basic Soil Testing
Thursday, February 24 at 5:45 pm on the DIY Stage
So you think you have a clay soil? Before you decide to go into the pottery business, find out for sure using the “finger test.” This presentation will demonstrate an easy way to determine your soil’s texture class. Find out if you have silty clay, a sandy loam, or one of several other classifications. Handouts will be provided to allow you to do this test at home.


Beth Evans-Ramos – Co-author, The Salvage Studio
Beth is sharing her joy and hope of living a greener life through public speaking, teaching workshops and consulting. Her current passion is selling ideas instead of stuff. She was a co-owner of Salvage Studio, which focused on rescuing good junk and repurposing it into fun and functional pieces. During that time she co-authored The Salvage Studio: Sustainable Home Comforts to Organize, Entertain and Inspire (Skipstone, 2008). Currently, you can keep track of her public appearances and her personal efforts to lead as sustainable life as possible through her web/blog:

This bird feeder puts the 'fun' in fuctional. This wonderful bird feeder created by Beth Evans-Ramos appeared in Birds & Blooms magazine. Photo courtesy of Beth Evans-Ramos.

Salvage Garden Style
Converting Stylish Stuff to Fun, Functional Pieces
Sunday, February 27 at 3:30 pm in the Rainier Room
Everyone today is trying to garden sustainably, and no one does it with more style than Beth Evans-Ramos. She shows you how to create stylish garden art, furniture and décor from ‘found’ objects, salvage and really good ‘junk.’ From hip to edgy, to rustic and rusty, this is a style that is affordable, fun to create and filled with function. Beth gives you lots of practical advice, lessons learned (the hard way) and inspiration, all conveyed with Beth’s signature humor and joy.


Ladd Smith – Co-Owner, In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes
In 1994 Ladd Smith co-founded In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes, a provider of organic based landscape services, out of his lifelong passion for protecting the environment. In Harmony has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Washington State Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention, the Northwest Environmental Gide’s Environmental Achiever of the Year Award, the WSNLA’s 2007 Environmental Excellence Award and In Harmony is a King County 5-Star Envirostar. In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes’ work has been featured in many publications including: Sunset, Northwest Home and Garden and The American Gardener. Ladd has been a regular presenter for King County’s highly successful Natural Yard Care Neighborhoods program for the past seven years. In 2009 Ladd became the landscape consultant for a new reality TV show in Seattle, called “Mission: Sustainable.” Visit the In Harmony exhibit booth, #720. Website –

Reuse, recycle, 're-characterize' - Discover savvy salvage from Beth Evans-Ramos. Photo courtesy of Beth Evans-Ramos.

Cutting Edge Landscapes
Discover Earth-Friendly Gardening Techniques
Wednesday, February 23 at 5:30 pm in the Rainier Room
Our landscapes are becoming much more than outdoor living spaces. They have the ability and potential to reduce our global impact, feed our communities and return wildlife to our homes. Green roofs, urban farms, rain gardens, cisterns, pervious surface and planting for wildlife of all kinds are a few examples of what Ladd will show. Discover not only what your garden can do for you, but what it can do for our planet.


For the complete seminar schedule, go to Remember the seminars have moved to our spacious state-of-the-art location in the Conference Center and Seminar Passes are no longer required! See you there! – Janet

  • Beth Evans-Ramos
    Posted at 12:57h, 25 January Reply

    All of these seminars look right up my sustainability-loving alley! Thanks so much for including mine in this exciting group.

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