ALL SEMINARS ARE FREE with your ticket. DIG IN and turn your garden dreams into reality!

Click on the map below to view a map of the Conference Center and all the Seminar Rooms.

Mary-Kate Mackey

Award-winning garden writer, speaker and author, Write Better Right Now

Mary-Kate Mackey is a dynamic speaker and an award-winning garden writer. She co-authored (with Kathleen Brenzel) Sunset’s Secret Gardens—153 Design Tips from the Pros and has contributed to both the Sunset Western Garden Book and Sunset’s Gardening in the Northwest. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, such as Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Sunset, and Country Gardens. Online, her writing can be found at The Christian Science Monitor, and for the past eight years, she has written “Rooting for You,” a monthly gardening column for the U.S. Hartley-Botanic greenhouse website. Her latest book, Write Better Right Now—The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Confident Communication and Self-Assured Style (Career Press, 2016) is based on the techniques she sharpened during her fourteen years teaching writing in the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication.


Steal ‘Em! Great Ideas from the West’s Best Flower Show

Every year the NWFGS brings you appealing ideas for paths, patios, retreats, water features, and more. To celebrate the show’s 30th year, former Sunset garden editor, Kathleen Brenzel, and garden writer, Mary-Kate Mackey, glean the most creative and surprising ideas from the show’s display gardens, and discuss how you can adapt them in your own garden. Co-authors of Sunset’s Secret Gardens, a book of design ideas and tips from the show, they’ll focus on plants, paving, materials, color, and more.

Saturday, Feb 10 at 1:00 pm / Rainer Room / Book signing to follow

GARDEN 101: Win The War on Weeds

Weed Control: Groundcovers are the Missing Link

Weeds—every garden has them; every gardener wants to get rid of them. In this must-see seminar three garden pros tell you how to ID your weeds, how to prevent them, and even how to eat them! Garden coach Robin Haglund helps you differentiate and tackle “naughty naturalizer” invasive weeds from many great native plants that often pop up unexpectedly. Author Mary-Kate Mackey talks about living mulches—beautiful groundcovers that will work with your existing plants to hold moisture and block unwanted weeds. Finally, designer Jessi Bloom gives you the ultimate guide to getting a grip on your weeds—eating them. She will also be sharing ideas on how to make the most of them, as medicinal and culinary herbs. No matter what your weed problems are, here are three seminars that will get you closer to winning the war on weeds!

Sunday, Feb 11 at 2:15 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow