Featured Speakers

The Capital District Garden & Flower Show and Cornell Cooperative Extension have an outstanding line-up of speakers planned for 2018.  It’s a great combination of horticultural experts, master gardeners, authors, speakers, chefs,  business and garden center professionals.  They’ll share tips, trends, hot topics and offer live demonstrations for everyone from the novice to the expert gardener.

Click here for the 2018 Schedule.  Keep checking back as additional speakers and sessions are still being added.

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Online Speaker-Workshop Form (CLICK HERE) 

Tovah Martin

“Boot Camp For Your Senses ” – Sunday, March 25 @ 12pm
“Gardening as if the World Depends on Us!” -Sunday, March 25 @ 2pm
An avid (verging on obsessed) gardener indoors and outside, Tovah Martin is the author of many gardening books
Her upcoming title, The Garden in Every Sense and Season will hit the bookstores in April, 2018. That book follows the popularity of The Indestructible Houseplant (2015, Timber Press), The Unexpected Houseplant (2012, Timber Press) and The New Terrarium (2009, Clarkson Potter) as well as Tasha Tudor’s Garden (1994, Houghton Mifflin). A freelance writer, her articles have appeared in publications throughout the country including Gardens Illustrated, Country Gardens, Garden Design, Traditional Home, Martha Stewart Living, Cottage Journal, Old House Interiors, Horticulture magazine, Yankee, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens as well as The Daily Telegraph in Europe. In addition to being the 2012 Writer in Residence for the new Victoria magazine, she is an accredited Organic Land Care Professional through NOFA, an honorary member of the Garden Club of America and the recipient of their medal for outstanding literary achievement. In 2013, she received the Gustav Mehlquist Award—the highest honor bestowed by the Connecticut Horticultural Society. She has appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, PBS television series and the CBS Sunday Early Show as well as many other television and radio broadcasts. She speaks throughout the country and has lectured aboard the QE2. Tovah can be found at www.tovahmartin.com and she posts on Facebook at Plantswise by Tovah Martin.

Fred Breglia

“Promoting Plant Health Through Proper Pruning” – Friday, March 23 @ 12:30pm
“Improving Soils for Better Results In All Locations” – Saturday, March 24 @ 1:30pm
Fred Breglia, Landis Arboretum executive director, is an internationally certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).
He is also an active member in the National Big Tree Measuring Cadre. With 30 years of experience in the green industry, Mr. Breglia is a nationally known, award winning arborist, frequent speaker, and educator. Capital Region residents know him well as the “Tree Man” a regular guest on WAMC’s Vox Pop Radio Show. Employed for over 20 years at Landis Arboretum, Fred Breglia’s reputation and influence has been paramount in expanding the presence of the Landis Arboretum. Fred is a ADK 46er … he has successfully climbed all 46 of the Adirondack high peaks.

Suzanne Balet-Haight

“Succulents – Planting In Unique & Different Ways” – Friday, March 23 @ 2pm, Saturday, March 24 @ 12pm 
Suzanne Balet-Haight has a Horticulture Degree from SUNY Cobleskill & Cornell University.
In 1995 she started Balet Flowers and Design in Malta, NY, producing a wide variety of locally grown hard-to-find, annuals, perennials, vegetable & herb plants, handmade pottery as well as growing 3 acres of cut flowers for pick your own, or designing unique wedding bouquets. You may have seen her selling flowers at the Saratoga Farmers Market or offering gardening expertise & help to homeowners in the area. She loves to grow & design flowers at her farm & invite you to come experience & visit. www.baletflowers.com

Peter Bowden

“Adventures in Macro and Close-up Garden Photography” – Friday, March 23 @ 1:30pm , Sunday, March 25 @ 1:30pm
Peter Bowden, the most well-known gardener in the Capital Region of New York, has been writing gardening articles since the mid 1980’s.
Over 35 years of experience in the retail garden center industry as well as a life-long love of gardening make Peter’s anecdotes worth the read, every time. Not only are his articles filled with pertinent information for the North American gardener, they are also packed with amusing stories, crammed with societal insights, and peppered with poignant points of practical procedures for the home gardener.

David Chinery

“Growing A Great Lawn” – Sunday, March 25 @ 11:30am
Dave Chinery is the horticulture educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County.
He has degrees in plant scince from Rutgers University and The Ohio State University.

Laurel Gailor

“What’s All the Hype About Invasives?” – Friday, March 23 @ 4pm, Saturday, March 24 @ 11am
Laurel Gailor, current Capital / Mohawk PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) coordinator,
… has been working in her field for over 35 years, and for the last 29 years with Cooperative Extension.Laurel is not new to working in the invasive species arena, as many of the programming efforts through the years have focused on invasive species – education, management, and control.

Jodie Fitz

“Kids in the Kitchen” – Sunday, March 25th @ 1:30pm & 3:30pm 
“Mixing It Up” –  Sunday, March 25th @ 2:30pm 
Jodie Fitz, creator & personality of the Price Chopper Kids Cooking Club, travels in a six state region cooking with both audiences of all ages.
She always has a recipe to share & a story to tell join her at (fill in event details) and always at www.jodiefitz.com

Donnie Graham

“Chicken Riggies – A Utica Favorite” – Saturday, March 24 @ 12pm
“Chef Donnie” brings more than 30 years of restaurant experience to the cooking school classroom.

As head Chef at Albany’s retro restaurant, Quintessence, Donnie was the inspiration behind their eclectic nightly feature and won the Capital District Chili cook off seven times! He earned a culinary degree through Schenectady County Community College. Ne now shares his passion for exploring new cooking styles with the students at The Cooking School

Kathy Harter

“Native Plants – Gardening for the Circle of Life” – Friday, March 23 @ 1pm
Kathy completed her Master Gardener training in December 2012 and since then has volunteered as a gardener at the Sustainable Living Center in Schenectady’s Central Park,

…answered gardening questions on the Master Gardener help line, and served on the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County Board. She recently completed two Cornell University online courses: Permaculture: Fundamentals of Ecological Design and Introduction to Environmental Education. As a member of Fort Orange Garden Club, Kathy co-manages the Herb Garden at the Pruyn House in Colonie. At her home in Niskayuna, Kathy is an enthusiastic gardener, raising flowers and vegetables in her back yard.

Chris Grigas

“Styling Cut Flowers For Your Home” – Saturday, March 24 @ 4:30pm
“Design in 7 Minutes Time, Designer’s Challenge” – Sunday, March 25 @ 12pm
“Schuylerville and Galway Floriculture Student Challenge” – Friday, March 23 @ 12pm
Chris Grigas is host of the Designer’s Challenge, a Floral Design committee member and a floral designer at Fleurtacious Designs, Latham, NY.

Amy Howansky

“Working with a Landscape Contractor” – Friday, March 23 @ 2:30am, Saturday, March 24 @ 1:30pm, Sunday, March 25 @ 12:30
“What’s Wrong with my Tree or Shrub” – Friday, March 23 @ 4:30am, Saturday, March 24 @ 10:30am, Sunday, March 25 @ 2:30
Amy Howansky is a horticulturist, landscape designer, educator and Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional.
As a former educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, she coordinated the Master Gardener Program and taught pruning as part of the Citizen Pruners program. During her 32 years in the trade, she has coordinated community gardening programs and has taught extensively about landscape design, tree care, vegetable gardening, and all things horticultural.  As the owner of  Backyard Solutions, she creates landscape designs and educates employees for other area landscape businesses.

Kevin Lee Jacobs

“Garden Party” – Saturday, March 24 @ 3pm
Kevin Lee Jacobs is the creator of the popular food, garden, and lifestyle website A Garden for the House
www.agardenforthehouse.com, and the author of Kevin’s Kitchen: 100 Recipes for Delicious Living (BookBaby; 2017).  Kevin creates unique recipes that rely on simple, fresh ingredients, usually obtained from local farms and his own herb and vegetable gardens.

Denise Maurer

“Containing Your Gardens” – Saturday, March 24 @ 2:30pm
Denise Maurer is a Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension – Rensselaer County.
As owner of Denise Maurer Interiors, she has specialized in residential interior design for 32 years.   Her sense of design is carried into her personal gardening style where she combines flowers and vegetables with ornamentation.  Denise is a frequent speaker on the subject of gardening using color and design.

Barbara Plantholt Melera

“Seedy Business:  Plants That Do Best When Grown From Seed” – Friday, March 23 @ 3pm 
“The Art & Science of Saving Seeds” – Friday, March 23 @ 5pm 
“Container Gardening” – Saturday, March 24 @ 1pm 
“The Bulbs of Summer” – Saturday, March 24 @ 2:30pm 
Barbara Plantholt Melera from Harvesting History is former venture capitalist and lifelong gardener.

Patty O’Hare

“Rain Barrels” –  Saturday, March 24 @ 3pm
Patty O’Hare, Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.
Patty O’Hare, Silver Lining Home & Design, has her certification at New York School of Interior Design.

Michele Peters, AIFD

“Michele’s Flower Hour” – Friday, March 23 @ 3pm, Saturday, March 24 @ 1:30pm
Michele Peters, owner of Ambiance Florals & Events.
Michele is a versatile floral artist, with design styles from classic to modern trends. With over 20 years of experience, Michele brings creativity and energy in to her designs, weddings and events. Michele is the Capital District Garden & Flower Show Floral Design committee chair.

Joanne Strevy

Subbing for Joanne is Terry Hubbard with “Smart Landscapes” Saturday, March 24 @ 2pm . 
” Cancelled!  Designing a Glorious Garden!” – Friday, March 23 @ 3:30pm, Saturday, March 24 @ 11:30am, Sunday, March 25 @ 3pm 
Joanne is a garden consultant, designer, speaker, writer, and owner of Rosewood Gardens located in Saratoga County, NY.
She is well known for her expertise on David Austin English Roses, and the English gardens that she designs mixing fragrant roses with cottage perennials.  Joanne is passionate about teaching gardeners how easy it is to grow roses, and to help them create beautiful, manageable gardens that they can enjoy for years!

Angela Tompkins

“Urban Wildlife Management” – Friday, March 23 @ 11:30am
Angela Tompkins serves at a horticulture educator and Master Gardener coordinator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County.
She has a degree in Wildlife Biology and is a licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator. 

Melissa Petalas

“Curb Appeal:  Benefits of Staging Your Home’s Exterior” – Saturday, March 24 @ 3:30pm
Melissa Petalas has been with Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. since 2004 and is a Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker.
In addition, she is the Community Liaison at Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. linking her company with the community, building both business and client relations.  She was nominated and won the 2017 Ralph P. DuPont Award which recognized her activity with services to the Greater Capital Association of  Realtors (GCAR), the real estate industry and her volunteer work within the community.  She is currently the 2018 Chair of the Community Relations Board at GCAR and is on the Board at West Albany Strong.  She has a passion for helping others and volunteers her time raising money and awareness for various charity organizations.  She is the proud mother of two sons, John Paul and Alec, and her puggle, Jade.

Matt Zacharewicz

“DIY:  Herbal Tea from Your Garden” – Sunday, March 25 @ 11am
Matthew Zacharewicz, the co-owner of Short and Stout Tea Lounge, has been involved in the whole leaf tea culture for over 10 years.
He has been offering tea classes in different venues including at his specialty tea shop located in Albany. Short and Stout carries over 120 kinds of premium whole leaf teas including many pastries infused with tea.

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