Slaves to the Goddess Flora – Part 1

Slaves to the Goddess Flora – Part 1

Plant geeks unite! Here is Part 1 of the plant-centric seminars we will have at the show in February. If you’re a conifer lover, shade gardener, or succulent fan, now you can hear from the best about the hot new plants, and tried-and-true stalwarts of the garden. Or if you have problems to solve – wet spots, unsightly views, a boring garden in early Spring, or your plants simply keep dying (happens to the best of us) – our speakers will give you first-rate advice and get your gardening juices flowing! (And watch for Part 2 of our ‘Slaves to the Goddess Flora’ blog – featuring more of your favorite plant geek speakers. And yes – Dan is back!)


Ciscoe Morris – Radio, TV host, columnist & author, “Ask Ciscoe”
Ciscoe Morris began his gardening career at age ten, when he harassed a priest at a neighborhood church into hiring him as a lawn boy.  His book, Ask Ciscoe – Oh La La! Your Gardening Questions Answered (Sasquatch, 2006) is a national bestseller. For 24 years he directed the gardening and landscaping at Seattle University.  During his tenure, the University won several prestigious environmental awards including the EPA’s highest national environmental award.  The gardening program he developed led Seattle University to be the only University campus in Washington designated as a wildlife sanctuary. He has a distinguished media career and is currently featured on KING5 TV’s ‘Gardening with Ciscoe” with co-host Meeghan Black.

Plant of the Week
Peak Performing Plants from January through December
Wed, Feb 8 at 4 pm / Rainier Room

Northwest gardens don’t have to be nothin’ but mud in the rainy winter months. Take it from Ciscoe, as he shares his favorite plants at the peak of their performance – every week from January though December!

Bring it On!
Indestructible Plants that Survive the Toughest Conditions
Sat, Feb 11 at 3:45 pm / Rainier Room

Trees, shrubs and perennials so attractive, it belies their “tough as nails” constitutions. See which plants made Ciscoe’s list, and you can not only have an “Oh la la” garden, you can save money because your plants survive the low water summers and cold, soggy winters!



Dr. Richard L. Bitner – Author, “Designing with Conifers”
Richard L. Bitner is a garden writer and photographer and also a practicing board-certified anesthesiologist. He studied horticulture at Longwood Gardens where he is a popular teacher of the Conifers, Deciduous Flowering Shrubs II, and Designing with Conifers certificate courses and he has been a Plant Study Walk Instructor since 1993. His writing and photographs have appeared in regional and national magazines. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal Plant Award Committee. He is the author of the best-selling Conifers for Gardens An Illustrated Encyclopedia (Timber Press, 2007) and Timber Press Pocket Guide to Conifers (Timber Press, 2010). Timber Press published his latest best seller, Designing with Conifers The Best Choices for Year-round Interest in Your Garden in spring of 2011. Dr. Bitner earned an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and is a former faculty member. He currently teaches at the Penn State School of Medicine/Hershey Medical Center.

Gardening with Conifers
Making Wise Choices in Selecting Conifers
Wed, Feb 8 at 11 am / Hood Room

Perhaps no group of plants is so poorly used in our gardens, even though they play a multitude of roles in our landscapes. They serve as large landscape trees and useful hedges, foundation shrubs, groundcovers, and rock garden regulars. But they are often planted inappropriately and the same plants are used again and again. The focus of this seminar is about making better choices when selecting conifers for home landscapes. Designers, home gardeners, and nursery owners will be challenged to change their thinking about conifers and inspired by dozens of images of conifers used in imaginative but appropriate ways.

Designing with Conifers
Using Conifers to Provide Year Round Garden Interest
Thurs, Feb 9 at 4:30 pm / Hood Room

Conifers can be the backbone of Northwest gardens. They combine wonderfully with many of the plants that do so well in our climate. They are easy care and provide good color and textural interest in every season. But they are often planted inappropriately and the same plants are used again and again. In this seminar Dr. Bitner will talk about integrating conifers into our mixed borders and making successful plant combinations with conifers. Learn how to change your thinking about conifers and be inspired by dozens of images of conifers used to create beautiful, timeless gardens.


Robin Stockwell – Owner, Succulent Gardens Nursery, California
Robin Stockwell is the owner/operator of Succulent Gardens, a nursery specializing in hardy succulent plants located in California. He currently has a complete retail succulent nursery devoted to teaching about and promoting the use of succulent plants.  He has been a nurseryman, retail store owner and professional gardener for over 30 years. He has made numerous media appearances, including the P. Allen Smith show, the Coastal Gardener and KSFO, and he has been featured in Sunset magazine, the Monterey Herald, the San Jose Mercury News and the Santa Cruz Sentinel

A Rainbow of Succulents
Using Succulents to Create a Symphony of Color
Wed, Feb 8 at 2 pm / Hood Room

Succulents are hot – and they are tough survivors of hot, dry weather. Grower and succulent expert Robin Stockwell shares a wide variety of color, form, and texture of these popular plants. Several of the vertical gardens Robin has designed for the San Francisco Flower & Gardens shows and Sunset Magazine’s Celebration Weekend have won awards. Learn how he designed and installed his show-stopping vertical walls, which succulents are best for the Pacific Northwest, and how to manage less hardy varieties.

Vertical Gardening with Succulents
The Nuts & Bolts for Vertical Gardening
Thurs, Feb 9 at 11:15 am / DIY Stage

This would be a hands-on presentation demonstrating the materials used, including containers, soil, and plants. Plant preparation would be covered along with the growing process, maintenance, exposure and general questions regarding all issues related to vertical gardening with succulent plants.



Vanessa Gardner Nagel, APLD, NCIDQ – Designer & author, Understanding Garden Design
Vanessa Gardner Nagel, APLD, NCIDQ, is the author of Understanding Garden Design: The Complete Handbook for Aspiring Designers (Timber Press, 2010). Sunset Magazine awarded her an Award of Excellence in the 2004 Landscape Design Competition. Vanessa turned her global design experience as a commercial interior designer inside-out into landscape design. Today, after more than 30 years as a designer, she continues to be an award-winning, eco-conscious garden designer and supports the design philosophies of integrating the exterior with the interior, as well as ‘finding the common thread’ when ‘weaving’ a garden design. Vanessa is a professional member of the Oregon and Washington Chapters of APLD.

Structural Plant Placement
Locating & Strengthening Your Garden’s Bones
Fri, Feb 10 at 9:30 am / Hood Room

Do you characterize your garden as “missing in action”? Do you wonder what type of plant to put in which location? Learn methods to place structural plants that will create garden definition and keep your garden looking scrumptious all year long


Kelly Dodson & Sue Milliken – Owners, Far Reaches Farm
Kelly Dodson and Sue Milliken are bonafide plant geeks. As owners of Far Reaches Farm, a specialty nursery located in Port Townsend, Washington, this offers the perfect excuse to indulge their life-long passion for plants and combine it with a nursery retail and wholesale operation. Don’t try this at home! It’s a lot of work all year round, but Kelly and Sue are passionate about what they do. They met while on a seed collecting expedition to China, and together opened Far Reaches Farm eight years ago.

Shade Gardens Rule!
The Best & Most Unusual Plants for Shade
Wed, Feb 8 at 7 pm / Hood Room

Sue Milliken and Kelly Dodson of Far Reaches Farm are passionate shade gardeners, and they will talk about many of their favorite plants in their shade garden and nursery as well as tips for melding garden design with obsessive plant collecting.



Marty Wingate – Lecturer, columnist & author, “Landscaping for Privacy” & “The Garden Plot”
Marty Wingate is a writer and speaker about gardens and travel. She holds a master’s degree in urban horticulture from the University of Washington.  Marty is the author of three books:  The Bellevue Botanical Garden: Celebrating the First 15 Years (BBGS, 2007); Big Ideas for Northwest Small Gardens (Sasquatch, 2003); and The Big Book of Northwest Perennials (Sasquatch, 2005), and she writes for a variety of national magazines.  Marty is currently working on a new book for Timber Press, titled Landscaping for Privacy, which will be released December 2011. In addition to her books, Marty can be heard every Tuesday on KUOW (94.9 FM) as part of the “Weekday” gardening panel. Marty’s first murder mystery, The Garden Plot, about an American gardener in London who gets tangles up in a murder investigation, is available on Kindle and the Nook as an ebook.

Landscaping for Privacy
Designing Buffers, Barriers & Screens for Your Garden
Fri, Feb 10 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room

Do you have unsightly views? Neighbors can be wonderful, but not if they mar your enjoyment of your own garden. Marty will share her innovative ways to turn your outdoor space into a peaceful retreat, with clever design ideas and solutions using the right buffer, barrier or screen for your garden.

Don’t Look Now
Innovative Screening Ideas for Every Garden
Sat, Feb 11 at 12:15 pm / Hood Room

Got something to hide? Learn a variety of innovative screening ideas for your landscape and gather the best design ideas to disguise unwanted views in your garden.



Vanca Lumsden – Owner, Albe Rustics
Vanca Lumsden is the owner of Albe Rustics, handcrafting unique rustic furniture made from a variety of wild and domesticated trees. She is also a long-time award-winning garden creator at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.  Her show gardens, co-created with Judith Jones of Fancy Fronds Nursery, have won the Founder’s Cup Best in Show Award twice. She was also the co-owner of Ponderings, a wholesale aquatic plant nursery and retail specialty nursery in Medford, Oregon. She has taught pond building classes for retail nurseries and community colleges in Oregon, Washington and Northern California for the years I was in that business. Vanca has made numerous TV and radio appearances in conjunction with my nursery business and the NWFG show.

Get Your Feet Wet
Boggy, Soggy Plants for Plant Addicts
Wed, Feb 8 at 6:45 pm / Rainier Room

This will NOT be a technical talk about ponds or bogs. This is about interesting plants that naturally grow or can be adapted to grow in wet situations. For 15 years I grew aquatics for the trade and was always trying something new…some I grew, some I killed – but it was always fun!  So this should be interesting to the gardener who wants to try new gardening adventures and turn a boggy eyesore into a beautiful, lush landscape.


Susan Egan – Owner, Cottage Lake Gardens, Woodinville
Susie Egan is the owner of Cottage Lake Gardens, a private plant nursery and display garden located on Cottage Lake in Woodinville, Washington. Susie also does landscape design, garden coaching and garden maintenance for local homeowners. She is an active Master Gardener and volunteer for the WSU Master Gardener Program and started the Master Gardener Clinics held at the Woodinville Water District and Molbak’s. Her focus in recent years has been the study and propagation of native and woodland shade plants particularly of Trillium, an endangered wildflower. Susie is working towards establishing a National Trillium Collection whose purpose will be to conserve, grow, propagate, and make available the amazing genera of Trillium. So far Cottage Lake Gardens has 45 of the 47 species of Trilliums in the world.

A Symphony of Spring Ephemerals
Woodland Gems to Bridge the Seasons
Sun, Feb 12 at 4:45 pm / Hood Room
Enjoy the beautiful world of Spring Ephemerals, those sweet little woodland gems that are the first wildflowers to bloom in spring and whose fleeting beauty become a lasting memory in our gardens.


For the complete seminar schedule, go to our website. We’ve redesigned the seminar schedule for really easy reading. We hope you like it! Just click on the speaker name for their photo, full bio and their seminar topics. ~ Janet



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