Speakers - 2023

All You Need to Know to Design, Build and Maintain Water Features in Your Garden 

January 17, 2023: Chris Schmidt

Whether your goal is to attract more pollinators, create a visually appealing focal point, a relaxing ambiance or even simply to block out noise, a water feature can offer both obvious and unexpected garden delights. In this presentation Chris discusses fountains, waterfalls, bubblers, ponds and streams and takes us on a journey from concept to completion and maintenance – the A to Zed of water features. 

I started in the water feature industry 18 years ago in Edmonton. I learned the trade with a company called Water Works Ponds and worked with them for two full seasons. By the end of my time there I had progressed to Site Foreman, seeing jobs through to completion. I loved trying to recreate nature and I really enjoyed seeing projects take shape and making my clients happy. Others recognized my knack for building waterfalls and creating natural landscapes and I also had fun doing it. Along with a passion for the work came expertise and the confidence to launch a business of my own.

The next year I started Pristine Ponds and Water Features Ltd. and ran this company successfully for 11 years. In 2018 I sold it to a larger landscaping firm trading it for more security and less stress. This also allowed me to move into a more managerial and teaching role, a position for which I was now ready.

Low Maintenance Garden Techniques 

February 21, 2023: Amanda Jarrett 

Looking for ways to reduce the workload in your garden? Then you’ll appreciate our next speaker and her topic... 

Reduce your workload with common sense tips and techniques that work with nature. Learn how to reduce watering and fertilizing with methods that encourage plant health and improve soil. You'll be surprised at what you can do to make gardening more efficient so you will have more time to enjoy it. 

Originally from England, Amanda Jarrett is a professional Red Seal Horticulturist and Organic Land Care Professional. After many years of instructing at Langara College, Douglas College, Vancouver School Board and Gaia College she has retired as the instructor and Coordinator of Organic Master Gardening, Residential Landscape Technician and Ecological Landscape Design courses. She now runs her own garden consulting business, Amanda’s Garden Consulting and has an informative website: https://www.thegardenwebsite.com. She is also the author of Ornamental Tropical Shrubs.

Low Maintenance Garden Techniques 

March 21, 2023:  Marilyn Holt 

Soils sustain life. Most life on earth depends on soil as the primary source for production of food, feed, fuel, forage, fibre and pharmaceuticals.  The combined acreage that home gardeners manage is equal to or exceeds acreage that commercial farmers manage. Therefore, healthy soil in the home garden is extremely important. In this presentation you will learn about types of soil gardeners encounter, characteristics of healthy garden soil, steps to improve your soil, organic matter to add and when to add it, soil superfoods, trace minerals, what not to do that disrupts ecosystems in your garden, winter crop covers and the best ways to make new garden beds. 

Marilyn Holt is a gardening enthusiast, international speaker and past owner and operator of a Pelargonium nursery, exporting plants internationally.  Her interest is strongly oriented to organic gardening without the use of pesticides.

For seven years Marilyn held the responsibility as Editor of ‘The Bulletin’, the B.C. Council of Garden Clubs newsletter. She also held the position of Garden Centre Manager for the Abbotsford Buckerfields store for 12 years. 

Today, she shares her knowledge by putting on workshops and seminars for Buckerfields throughout the year while also speaking to numerous garden clubs and groups on a variety of gardening-related subjects.

“My interest in gardening started when I was in the 7th grade.  My family had just moved to a house on a small acreage and it was winter so the flower beds were bare. In spring, as little bits of green started poking up here and there in different shapes and shades, my curiosity was engaged as I wondered what would become of these green tufts.”

“In those early days, books were the only source of research so I joined the library where I got to study all kinds of gardening books to identify and learn about what was planted in our garden. My parents had no interest in the flower gardens so I was the one that took care of it, with my limited experience.” 

“Those experiences were what started me on my horticultural journey, and to say I was captivated would be an understatement as I can remember my father saying that if I got any more plants, he would need a machete to get through the door of my first apartment. Enough said.”

Brugmansia Australian Pink Rosebud Geranium

Brugmansia rooted cuttings

Brugmansia 'Abbey Sunset' - my new interest and growing them on a balcony

The Drought-tolerant Herb Garden

April 18, 2023:  Andrea Bellamy 

With our increasingly hot, dry summers many gardeners are aiming to reduce or even eliminate the need to water. Whether through xeriscaping (gardening with water conservation foremost in mind) or by choosing more drought-tolerant plants, we can reduce our reliance on irrigation and build more resilient gardens. Many herbs—particularly those of Mediterranean origin—are naturally drought tolerant. What’s more, they’re typically easy-care plants that attract pollinators and are useful in the kitchen or craft room. In this talk, we’ll look at a variety of drought-tolerant herbs as well as suitable companion plants with an eye to creating beautiful, more resilient gardens.

Andrea Bellamy is the author of two books on creating small-space edible gardens (the latest: Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots) and the gardener behind HeavyPetal.ca, a blog devoted to urban organic gardening. She was the garden columnist for Edible Vancouver for several years, winning a Silver Award of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for her work. She has been gardening since childhood and has grown food on rooftops, balconies, boulevards, and patios, and in community garden beds, window boxes, traffic circles, and front and backyards. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and children, where she grows a wide range of edibles, native and woodland plants, as well as blooms for Small Patch Flowers.

Hostas and New Hybrid Lilies 

May 16, 2023:  Pam Erickson 

So what in 2023 excites our speaker, Pam Erikson? Her new talk covers photos of her garden as well as daylilies, hostas, lilies and a few other things, as well as upcoming new daylilies from her breeding program.  Pam will also be bringing plants from her specialist nursery for us to buy.

Pam Erikson is an award-winning daylily hybridizer, photographer, instructor and lecturer from Langley, B.C. Canada.

In 1991, Pam became the first American Daylily Society judge in Canada. Also in 1991, Pam started the first Canadian daylily club in the country in affiliation with the ADS and is still its President to this day. Pam and her family invite gardeners from around the world to tour the gardens in July at peak bloom time and are members of the Circle Farm Tour program through Tourism Langley; and were the first official daylily display garden in Canada sanctioned by both the American Daylily Society and the Canadian Daylily Society. The one-acre display garden has seen bus tours from Australia, Japan, England and the United States – in addition to thousands of local gardening enthusiasts and several gardening television and radio shows from around the country. The gardens now contain over 3,000 varieties of daylilies and lilies; over 600 varieties of hostas and hundreds of other specimen trees and perennials.

In recent years, Pam has collaborated on several books dedicated to daylilies; was a contributing author to ‘A Grower’s Choice’ (Raincoast Books 2001); is a member of the Garden Writers of America and writes regularly for numerous publications across North America, as well as being the Editor of the Pacific Daylily – a bi-annual publication for ADS Region 8; garden columnist for the Langley Advance Times newspaper; is a director on several community horticultural and agricultural committees, societies and clubs. She makes yearly appearances on local radio and television shows to continue the promotion of her favorite plant. Pam was named Hybridizer of the Year by the Canadian Daylily Society in 2005, and to date has introduced 92 new daylily cultivars to the world market, with hostas being added to the hybridizing program in recent years. In 2018, Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials were honored by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce in being named Small Business of the Year.

Let’s Talk Hydrangeas

June 20, 2023:  Jill Wright 

Hydrangeas are an integral part of the summer garden with new cultivars introduced every year.  During this talk we will look more closely at identifying and pruning several species of this genus.  We will discuss some of your favourites and which of the cultivars are pollinator friendly.

Jill Wright is a long-time member of the Richmond Garden Club and previous Chair of the Vancouver Master Gardeners Association.  This will be her 15th year leading the volunteer group that maintains the perennial gardens in Paulik Park which is located in central Richmond.

Stretching It Out! Extending the Growing Season

Sept 19, 2023:  Allison Luke 

There are always opportunities to make the most of extending the gardening season. Some tried and true ways to stretch it out include starting seeds indoors or keeping the thermometer mercury positive in winter using cold frames. At UBC Botanical Garden we use the above techniques as well as heated greenhouses, unheated houses, and a polyhouse, but our focus will be on low-tech options that are suitable for gardeners and homeowners. Lastly, we’ll touch on microclimates and how climate change is already extending our number of growing days in Metro Vancouver.

Allison Luke started out in horticulture in Victoria, The City of Gardens, in 2007 and has been in love with the industry ever since. Honing her skills in the private sector, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Queen Elizabeth Park, and then as head gardener at The Arbutus Club led her to her current position as the Principal Instructor of the Horticulture Training Program at UBC Botanical Garden. Certified as a Red Seal Landscape Horticulturalist and ISA Certified Arborist, she teaches workshops and leads tours for the public, businesses, and garden clubs..

Foodscaping Our Future (Home-scale Edible Eco-systems)

Oct 17, 2023:  Joshua Clae Wagler

Joshua Clae was born into a family of farmers, foodies, and nature lovers. Enchanted by his grandparents' farm and fascinated by growth, Joshua majored in Urban Studies at the University of Calgary, eventually travelling overseas to Pacific Asia to study the Globalization and Sustainability of Cities. Returning home, he began seeking practical, scalable, and inspiring solutions to the social and environmental problems that he witnessed both overseas and at home. In 2011 he began studying food forestry, nutrition, permaculture, and homesteading. The journey had come full circle, and Joshua found a career connected to his original joy and inspiration: the farm, the forest, and the dinner table. In 2013 he co-founded Edible Landscapes Design Ltd. in Victoria, BC, working to transform the City of Gardens (and beyond) into an edible ecosystem bursting with superfoods for generations to come.  https://www.ediblelandscapesdesign.com

Our fragile food supply chain has been tested countless times in recent years. Beyond the pandemic, climate change has been at the root of many of these disturbances, manifesting as floods, fires, drought, and other extreme weather events. These factors combined have given birth to an unprecedented interest in growing food at home, and yet have also provided a unique set of gardening challenges. In this time of great change, your environment is bursting with potential, whether you live in an apartment, on an acreage, or somewhere in between. Looking to the forest as our teacher, Josh will explore the philosophy, principles and practices to transform your landscape into a foodscape. No matter how large or small, sunny or shady your space, it is possible to cultivate a beautiful, resilient, deliciously decentralized, foodshed for the future starting in your own home.

Bringing Nature Inside - Holiday Arrangements

Nov 21, 2023:  André Erasmus 

André was born in South Africa to parents who lived and shared their love for flowers and gardening. His mother was an accomplished floral designer and his father had a nursery and flower shop in Pretoria. After living and working in Tel Aviv and London, André immigrated to Canada in the late 80s. While presently residing in what is left of rural Port Kells, his three grown children are all, as he says, “decidedly urban Canadians”. André is a keen gardener, church organist and choir director, and a contract floral designer.

He will speak on flower arranging and do a couple of arrangements to illustrate and elaborate on the key elements in design: composition, texture, colour, and contrast. He thinks that every delightful composition  starts with a walk in a garden or forest. He appreciates that floral composition develops naturally and encourages individual spontaneous expression.