Show Spotlight – 2011 Seminar Schedule!

Show Spotlight – 2011 Seminar Schedule!

The 2011 Seminar Schedule is now available at!

  Today I switch my Social Media Manager hat to my Seminar Manager hat as I report that the entire seminar schedule is now on the garden show website!    

With 125 seminars on four stages over five days, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show has the largest roster of horticulture seminars of any garden show in the world. This year we’ll have the largest lineup of speakers in show history – 95 in all, including 55 author book signings. That’s testimony to the passion of gardeners here in the Northwest, and the support and affection that professionals all over the country have for this venerable show.


Where, oh where, do I start? There are so many gardening luminaries speaking at the show, and so many great topics, I won’t be able to include them all here – go to to see the schedule in its entirety. I’ll start with some of the 33 new speakers appearing at the show for the first time, with new books that are hot off the presses. These include Andrea Bellamy, author of Sugar Snaps and Strawberries; Arden Bucklin-Sporer, co-author of How to Grow a School Garden; Emmy Award winning TV star Graham Kerr, whose book, Growing at the Speed of Life makes its debut at the garden show; Roanne Robbins, author of Continuous Container Gardens; The Revolutionary Yardscape author Matthew Levesque; Seattleite Alexandra Hedin, author of Entertaining at Home; Ivette Soler, aka ‘The Germinatrix,’ author of The Edible Front Yard; Garden Up! co-authors Rebecca Sweet and Susan Morrison; and Jayme Jenkins, co-author of Garden Rules, speaking with Teresa O’Connor, co-author of Grocery Gardening.    

Many seminars will focus on gardening for wildlife and sustainability

Other new speakers include National Wildlife Federation’s David Mizejewski; Ballard Bee’s Corky Luster; Kate Frey, Shirley Pinchev Sidell, Bill Thorness, David George Gordon, Leilani Wood, and Zsophia Pasztor.


Of course we will have our returning favorites, local speakers who never fail to inspire and entertain garden show audiences every year. Look for seminars by Ciscoe Morris and Meeghan Black, Lucy Hardiman, Marianne Binetti, Mary Robson, Roger Gossler, Debra Prinzing, Robin Haglund, Mary-Kate Mackey, Nita Jo Rountree, Richie Steffen, Wendy Welch, Rose Marie McGee, Linda Chalker-Scott, Greg Butler, Beth Evans-Ramos, Mallory Gwynn, Karen Chapman, Phil Wood and more.


This year we’re featuring ‘The Garden Show’ – four entertaining seminars modeled after late-night talk shows. Each episode of ‘The Garden Show’ will have a guest host and three guest stars, focusing on a different topic. It’s meant to be totally spontaneous – and possibly combustible – conversation! Wednesday’s show features Lucy Hardiman questioning Val Easton, Cole Burrell and Richard Turner for their thought-provoking views on “The Future of Gardening.” On Thursday the always irrepressible Ciscoe Morris will host Cass Turnbull, Marianne Binetti and Steve Lorton, for what is sure to be a zany hour as they share “Our Most Unforgettable Characters.”    

Richie Steffen hosts Friday’s episode of ‘The Garden Show,’ with guests Panayoti Kelaidis, Kelly Dodson and Sue Millikan, recounting their adventures in the “Plant Explorer Chronicles.”  And on Saturday Lorene Edwards Forkner and her guests Graham Kerr, Willi Evans Galloway and Teresa O’Connor dig into the trials and tribulations of edible gardening in “Incredible Edibles.”


Even the smallest spaces can have edible gardens - just use containers

Speaking of edible gardening, we’ll have a wide variety of seminars on growing fruits and veggies, each with its own unique flavor. It’s such a huge topic these days, as people seek gardens that both nourish their soul and their body. Willi Evans Galloway will show us how to “Love Your Vegetables!” and create “Salad to Go,” while Bill Thorness will talk about “Year-Round Edibles.” Lorene Edwards Forkner will demonstrate how to have “The Herbal Kitchen,” Sue Goetz will share her “Herb Garden Favorites,” and Milwaukee’s Melinda Myers will entertain with “Garden-tainment – Tricks for Using Fresh Garden Herbs.”    

For the first time at the garden show we’ll be welcoming the former ‘Galloping Gourmet,’ Graham Kerr, with a delightful seminar titled “My First Ever Kitchen Garden!” Graham is a recent convert to edible gardening, and boy is he hooked! Jessica Bloom will show how to “Have Your Garden and Eat It Too,” based on her multi-award winning 2010 show garden, and will also share her chicken-keeping secrets in “What the Cluck?!” Alexandra Hedin will teach “Plant Now, Eat Later,” and garden show favorite Ed Hume, who always has wonderful, time-tested tips, will be share how to have “Your Best, Bountiful Garden.”


I’m especially excited to bring you some unique new seminars. Mary Lou Sanelli is an author and performer who will be doing dramatic readings from her books in her seminars, “Women in the Garden” and “The Literary Gardener.” Judging from the reviews of her performances, these will be two unforgettable seminars. Shirley Pinchev Sidell, a national expert on Biblical gardens, will present her fascinating work in “Plants of the Bible.”  Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Pringle’s seminar, based on their new book of the same title, will show “How to Grow a School Garden.” This is a must-see seminar for every parent and educator who would like to introduce gardening and nature to school age children.    

Dr. Iain Robertson, a UW professor of Landscape Architecture, was really thinking outside the box with his seminar proposal – literally. He will be leading two tours of the newly renovated Freeway Park, just beyond the walls of the Washington State Convention Center. Attendees will meet in the South Lobby and head outside as Dr. Robertson explains why certain trees and shrubs were removed from the park during a recently-completed major renovation, and discuss more suitable replacement plants. Finally, back by popular demand, David Perry will be presenting “Conquering Your Digital Camera.” If you want to learn how to take better photos, David will show you how in hilarious fashion.    

Two very popular container gardens last year were those created by miniature garden designers, Janit Calvo and Geralyn Rudolph. Now they will each be giving you their best how-to tips for creating your on miniature gardens. Janit demonstrates “How to Garden in Miniature,” and Gery inspires you to “Create Small Worlds Within Reach,” both on the DIY Stage.



We'll have many seminars on the art of pruning trees, shrubs and vines

Many people new to gardening don’t realize how many seminars are geared just for them, especially pruning seminars (and even veteran gardeners can always brush up on their pruning skills). I’m excited to be welcoming aesthetic pruner Yuki Nara to the Northwest Show for the first time. I first heard her speak in San Francisco. The audience was in awe of her mastery in pruning Japanese maples, so don’t miss her “Pruning Japanese Maples for Grace and Beauty.” The doyenne of pruning, Cass Turnbull, will take the mystery out of pruning vines, in “Devine Vines,” and Mallory Gwynn teaches “Learn to Prune Your Favorite Plants.” Bess Bronstein will talk about “All the Right Cuts,” and Christine Pfeiffer explains “How to Prune…So You Don’t Have to Prune So Often!” Both are certified arborists and excellent teachers.


We will have some popular exhibitors speaking at the show, and this is a great way to get more in-depth knowledge. Monrovia’s Director of New Plants, Nicholas Staddon, will share ideas on great plants in “Small Space, Big Ideas,” Charley Yaw, of Charley’s Greenhouses, will talk about “Hobby Greenhouses 101,” and Joe Grienauer, owner of Emerald City Orchids, will talk about “The Seedy History of Orchids.” Barry Hoffer, owner of Maples for All Seasons, will share his passion for maples in “Container Gardening with Japanese Maples,” and Sam Benowitz, owner of Raintree Nursery (who spoke at the very first garden show) will talk about “The Best Fruit Trees for NW Gardens.” Mutual Materials’ rep Marty Njaa returns with his popular “Retaining Walls 101.” If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, this is a great seminar for you.


We’ll have speakers on focusing on gardening with wildlife, sustainable gardening, container gardening, seed starting, many plant varieties (roses, Iris, hydrangeas, lavender, and clematis, to name a few), garden design, water conservation, and floral arranging. Plus our fabulous SPROUTS STAGE on the weekend is filled with entertainment and activities for children and parents alike. Children will be able to plant seeds, sing songs, dance to lively music, learn about worms and even eat bugs! Every week I’ll be posting a Seminar Spotlight on The Garden Show Blog, so you can read more about your favorite speakers and topics.  Look for the latest blog on seminars that will be focusing on ‘cultivating books,’ at  

The Sprout Stage will have bushels of programs to excite children about gardening and nature



And don’t forget – the seminar rooms are now located in the spacious new Conference Center, which can be accessed from the east side of the North Hall. The Rainier Room and Hood Room seat more people than ever before, so seminar passes are no longer needed!    For those who like to keep track of such things, there are only 121 days until the show! – Janet

  • Alan Burke, asla
    Posted at 13:22h, 27 October Reply

    As always – a star (jasmine) studded series of seminars! I look forward to being there and seeing Shirley Pinchev Sidell’s talk on Biblical gardens, as this is one of my great interests – historic and mythical beliefs about plants. I also plan to see “How to Grow a School Garden” , as we will be putting the finishing touches on a new playground at the Capitol Hill Waldorf School next month. Best to you!

    • Janet
      Posted at 10:45h, 28 October Reply

      Thanks Alan! What a wonderful project for Capitol Hill. I hope a lot of educators attend “How to Grow a School Garden.” – Janet

  • Cary Peterson
    Posted at 20:35h, 29 October Reply

    It’s always nice to have a garden especially when you work so hard at it. I always like to add a little color to the mix as well and daylilies make a great companion plant for the garden. A little known fact is that the daylily flower is edible so it makes a great garnishment for your fresh salad.

  • Jeff
    Posted at 11:22h, 01 November Reply

    I don’t live in NW, but I came across your blog post. What a comprehensive seminar. That would be interesting and extremely informative to attend. Is that only in the NW? Do they have anything in the SW?

    Jeff | Plant Covers for Gardeners

    • Janet
      Posted at 09:49h, 02 November Reply

      Hi Jeff – The show is only in Seattle, and is held every February. It’s worth the visit!

  • Angela Davis
    Posted at 16:25h, 29 December Reply

    I just went through the seminar list and found my three favorites all in a row & somewhat overlapping! Oh no! On 2/25 Rebecca/Susan start at 4 pm, then Ivette at 4:30 and Jessi at 5:15! I was grateful we don’t need to get seminar tickets this year since it looks like I’ll be cutting it sorta close! You’re doing a great job keeping us all updated – talk to you soon.


    • Janet
      Posted at 17:28h, 31 December Reply

      Thanks Angela – And Rebecca & Susan are also speaking on Saturday on Garden Up! – Janet

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