Featured Speakers

The Capital District Garden & Flower Show and Cornell Cooperative Extension have an outstanding line-up of speakers planned for 2020.  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 2019 Schedule.  Check back in early February for the 2020 schedule.

Interested in becoming a Capital District Garden & Flower Show speaker?  Apply Now.  Click here.

Frank Almquist

“Soils – What’s Under Your Boots” – Sunday, March 22 @ 3:30pm 

Frank has been a Master Gardener since his retirement from an engineering and management career at IBM in the Hudson Valley.He currently teaches basic gardening topics at the Master Gardener training classes, Garden Day held by the Ulster Co MGs, and other similar events in the region. This work on soil biota was to give students an understanding of how plants grow and the many microscopic interactions that take place in the body of the soil.

Fred Breglia

“Promoting Plant Health Through Proper Pruning” – Friday, March 22 @ 1pm, Saturday, March 23 @11am, Sunday, March 24 @ 2pm 
“Improving Soils for Better Results In All Locations” – Friday, March 22 @ 11am, Sunday, March 24 @ 12pm
“Trees of NY; an Ecological Perspective” – Saturday, March 23 @ 1pm

Fred Breglia, Landis Arboretum Executive Director, is a certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).  He is an active member in the National Big Tree Measuring Cadre. With 31 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 “Tree Man” a regular guest on WAMC’s Vox Pop Radio Show. Employed for 21 years at Landis Arboretum, Fred Breglia’s reputation and influence has been paramount in expanding the presence of the Landis Arboretum.

Peter Bowden

“Adventures in Macro and Close-up Garden Photography” – Friday, March 22 @ 3pm, Saturday, March 23 @ 3pm, Sunday, March 25 @ 1pm

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.

Jodie Fitz

“Cooking with Jodie Fitz” – Saturday, March 23rd 10am, 11am & 12pm 
“Fidget Grows a Pizza Garden” –  Saturday, March 23rd @ 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.

Donnie Graham

“A Taste of Spring” – Sunday, March 24 @ 1:30pm

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. He now shares his passion for exploring new cooking styles with the students at The Cooking School.

Denise Raucci-Ritz

“Garden to Table Home Cooking” – Saturday, March 23rd @ 3pm and Sunday, March 24th @ 3pm  

Denise Raucci-Ritz is “Pasta Mama.”  Denise comes from a traditional Italian family with strong values and a love of cooking. The kitchen is where Denise’s family spends most of their time; they gather, create and cook together making memories to last lifetime. Denise says ” I cook from my heart and appreciate my family, good friends and good food.”

Carole Henry

“Container Gardening Tips & Techniques” – Saturday, March 23 @ 3:30pm 

Currently, Carole is the Master Gardener Coordinator at Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County.  Carole has over 40 years of experience working in the landscape, nursery & floral industry. Before moving to New York a few years ago, Carole had owned “Potted Designs LLC” specializing in Container Gardening and small garden design. Carole is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Plant Science- Horticulture & Landscape Design.

David Chinery

“Growing A Great Lawn” – Sunday, March 24 @ 11am

Dave Chinery is the horticulture educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County. David serves as the horticulturist and Master Gardener coordinator. He earned a B.S. degree in Plant Science from Cook College, Rutgers University, and a M.S. degree in Landscape Horticulture from The Ohio State University. He coordinates events such as the Rensselaer County Garden Tour and Spring Garden Day, as well as the Demonstration Garden at the Robert C. Parker School. His research projects include work on overseeding turfgrass to reduce pesticide use, techniques to hasten grass seed germination and the use of iron as an herbicide.

Denise Maurer

“Terrific Terrariums” – Saturday, March 23 @ 2pm

Denise Maurer is a Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension – Rensselaer County. As owner of Denise Maurer Interiors, she specialized in residential interior design for more than 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

“The Bulbs of Summer” – Friday, March 22 @ 11:30am 
“The Victorians, How They Changed Gardening Forever” – Friday, March 22 @ 2:30pm 
“Container Gardening” – Saturday, March 23 @ 11am 
“Plants That Do Best When Grown From Seed” – Saturday, March 23 @ 3pm 
 “It’s Mid-Summer and My Tomato Plants are Ailing” – Sunday, March 24 @ 11am 
“America’s Story of the Tomato” – Sunday, March 24 @ 2pm 

Barbara Melera is advisor to Harvesting History, an heirloom horticultural company founded to provide the finest quality horticultural and agricultural products available. Its products are largely heirloom horticultural varieties that can be reliably offered to customers year after year or designs that have proven invaluable to gardeners for many, many generations. For 13 years, Ms. Melera was president and CEO of The D. Landreth Seed Company, the oldest seedhouse in America, established in 1784, and the fourth oldest US corporation. She has 63 years of active gardening experience.

Amy Howansky

“Attracting Birds and Pollinators to the Landscape” – Friday, March 22 @ 2pm, Saturday, March 23 @ 4pm, Sunday, March 24 @ 3pm
Small Trees & Shrubs for Small Spaces” – Friday, March 22 @ 4pm, Saturday, March 23 @ 2pm, Sunday, March 24 @ 12pm

Amy Howansky, owner of Backyard Solutions, is a horticulturalist, educator, award-winning landscape designer, and Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional. As a former educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, she coordinated the Master Gardener, Community Garden, and Citizen Pruners programs. Ms. Howansky currently serves on the Niskayuna Tree Council and the Landis Arboretum’s Board of Directors. During her 36 years in the trade, she has taught extensively about landscape design, tree care, vegetable gardening, and all things horticultural.

Chris Grigas

“Styling Cut Flowers For Your Home” – Saturday, March 23 @ 4:30pm
“Design in 7 Minutes Time, Designer’s Challenge” – Sunday, March 24 @ 12pm
“Schuylerville Floriculture Student Challenge” – Friday, March 22 @ 12pm

Chris Grigas is host of the Designer’s Challenge, a Floral Design committee member and a floral designer at Fleurtacious Designs, Latham, NY.

Marie Iannotti

“The Potted Potager – Low Maintenance Veg Gardening” – Saturday, March 23 @ 12:30pm

Marie is a Master Gardener emeritus, as well as a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. She was the gardening expert at The Spruce (About.com) for over a decade and now writes about how gardening teaches mindfulness, at MarieI.com. After growing weary of weeding, Marie set out to find a way to rekindle her love of gardens. That’s when she made peace with nature and wildlife… and raised her garden out of their reach. In the process, she gleaned a wealth of tips to pass along to like-minded recovering weeders. She also has a new book out this spring. “Grow Great Vegetables in New York”, from Timber Press. At heart, she is a gardener who writes, photographs, and speaks about gardening. Slightly irreverent. Always enthusiastic.

Jana Milbocker

“”The Garden Tourist – Friday, March 22 @ 12:30pm, Saturday, March 23 @ 10:30am

Jana Milbocker is author of The Garden Tourist: 120 Destination Gardens and Nurseries in the Northeast, as well as a garden designer, lecturer and plant collector. She owns Enchanted Gardens, a boutique landscape design firm in Metrowest Boston.

Michele Peters, AIFD

“”It’s About Bloomin’ Time – Friday, March 22 @ 3pm, Saturday, March 23 @ 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

“Winning the War on Weeds” Friday, March 22 @ 2pm; Saturday, March 23 @ 12pm . 
“Anyone Can Grow English Roses!” – Friday, March 22 @ 12pm, Saturday, March 23 @ 10am, Sunday, March 24 @ 1pm 

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

“Native Seed Starting” – Friday, March 22 @ 11am

Angela Tompkins serves at a horticulture educator and Master Gardener coordinator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County.[/fusion_text]

She has a degree in Wildlife Biology and is a licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator.

Donna Wardlaw

“All About Orchids” – Sunday, March 24 @ 1:30pm

Donna has long been an avid gardener. She began with houseplants, and next tried vegetables and perennials.[/fusion_text]

When Donna and her husband renovated a Victorian home in the 1980’s, they incorporated a conservatory and greenhouse to house her extensive plant collection. Orchids quickly became Donna’s passion after she received her first orchid as a gift in the 1990’s. She now has over 200 orchids and serves as the president of the North Eastern New York Orchid Society. She is the founder of Wardlaw Associates P.C., a law firm in Saratoga Springs.

Matt Zacharewicz

“DIY:  Herbal Tea from Your Garden” – Sunday, March 24 @ 11:30am

Matthew Zacharewicz, the co-owner of Short and Stout Tea Company, has been involved in the whole leaf tea culture for over 10 years. Matt has been traveling to visit over a dozen of tea farms throughout Asia in the past few years to bring back some of the freshest tea from small farms to his customers. He has been offering tea classes in different venues including at his specialty tea shop located Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY and at his 2nd retail location in Crossgates Mall.

Kristopher Williams

“Invasive Species in Our Backyards” – Friday, March 22 @ 4:30pm; Saturday, March 23 @ 4pm; Sunday, March 24 @ 12:30pm

Kristopher is the Coordinator of the Capital-Mohawk PRISM. The Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management is hosted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County. Kristopher is committed to working with county, regional, state, and federal agencies in his work. He seeks to provide service to the community through environmental education and programming to non-profit agencies, corporations, school groups, and citizens. The work completed in the PRISM covers 11 surrounding counties in the Capital Region. The educational and coordinating duties performed by Kristopher encompass terrestrial and aquatic ecology along with sustainability and restoration of the environment.

Diane Whitten

“Fermentation for Fun and Health” – Saturday, March 23 @ 11:30am

Diane Whitten is a food and nutrition educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Saratoga County who have been teaching food preservation for over fifteen years, and is one of the CCE statewide home food preservation experts. She has a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences from Cornell University and a master’s degree from the College of St. Rose in education.

Kathryn Mohr

“Growing Water-loving Irises” – Saturday, March 23 @ 2:30pm

Kathryn has been growing irises for over 45 years. A founding member of Capital-Hudson Iris Society, she especially enjoys introducing gardeners to new types of irises.[/fusion_text]

Doug Pratt

“Lets Talk Tomatoes” – Sunday, March 24 @ 2:30pm
Doug Pratt and his wife Mary live in Grafton, New York. Doug is retired from manufacturing and is a certified APICS production planner.
He and his wife own “Tomatoes Plus”, a wholesale greenhouse. Doug loves to teach classes on all aspects of gardening and greenhouse growing, and is a Master Gardener with over 40 years of service. As the business name implies, his passion is tomatoes, both growing and grafting. Recently Doug’s focus has been on building his IMP Seeder line of plug tray seeders for the small greenhouse, farming, and gardening community.

Rhonda Rumsey van Heuveln

“Wildflowers for Your Home Garden” – Saturday, March 23 @ 1:30pm
Rensselaer County Master Gardener and Owner of Capital Native Plants

Kristine Lindahl

“Getting Ready for Gardening” – Friday, March 22 @ 1:30pm
Kristine Lindahl,  MVP Leader, Medicare Community Health Promotion

Mary Carol White

“Debunking Gardening Myths” – Friday, March 22 @ 3:30pm
Mary Carol White been interested in gardening since she was a little girl.
Mary’s paternal grandmother was an artist an avid gardener. Graduated with a BA degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. Have lived and cultivated soil in four different temperature zones. Mary has kept a gardening journal for over 40 years. Became a Master Gardener in 2008. Prior to that she competed in the flower arranging piece of this event.

Pam Taft

“Healthy Habits for Gardening” – Friday, March 22 @ 12pm
Pam is a retired physical therapist and teacher of physical therapy at Maria College.
In 2004 she became a master gardener with CCE Albany County and in 2005 she joined the Speaker’s Bureau. Besides giving talks on various gardening topics, Pam volunteers on a regular basis at the Ten Broeck Mansion garden in Albany. She is a lover of flowers and nature and enjoys walking out of doors. Pam’s master’s degree is in health education so the presentation on Healthy Habits for Gardening combines her interest in health and gardening. Pam has presented twice before at the Capital District Garden & Flower Show and is looking forward to sharing her presentation with those who are interested.

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On Sale November 25, 2019

March 27-29, 2020
Fri 10-8 │Sat 9-7 │Sun 10-5

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