Featured Speakers

The Capital District Garden & Flower Show and Cornell Cooperative Extension have an outstanding line-up of speakers planned for 2016.  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.

Below are the 2016 speakers.  You can read a description of the lecture/demonstration/workshop by clicking on the title.

To download a printable version of the 2016 Event Schedule click here.

**2017 Event Schedule will be available at the end of January.

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Paul Split

“Plan It, Plant It” – Saturday, March 19 @ 4pm & Sunday, March 20 @ 11am
“Container Gardening & Organic Seed Starting” – Saturday, March 19 @ 2pm
“Organic Seed Starting” – Sunday, March 20 @ 1pm
Paul Split has been part of the Green Industry since 1971. He has been principal of Walden Gifts and Nursery.  Paul is the Director of Horticulture at the Comcast Center for the Performing Arts, a teacher, lecturer and nationally recognized horticultural consultant. Paul has served as judge at the New England Flower Show, Rhode Island Flower Show, and the Central Massachusetts Flower Show. He is an instructor for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Master Gardener’s Class and the Natick Community Organic Farm.  Paul Lectures at the Boston, Rhode Island, Philadelphia and Worchester Flower Shows. Paul proudly practices what he teaches – low maintenance,sustainable and affordable landscaping and gardening.

Peter Bowden

“Pet & Wildlife Friendly Products” – Friday, March 18 @ 1:30pm , Saturday, March 19 @ 10:30am & Sunday, March 20 @ 2:30pm
“Close-Up Flower Photography” – Friday, March 18 @ 3:30pm, Saturday, March 19 @ 12:30pm & Sunday, March 20 @ 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.

Fred Breglia

“Promoting Plant Health Through Proper Pruning” – Friday, March 18 @ 12:30pm & Saturday, March 19@ 1:30pm 
Fred Breglia, Landis Arboretum executive director, is a internationally certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).  With over 27 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 16 years at Landis Arboretum, Fred Breglia’s reputation and influence have 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,

Chef John Winnek

“Come Saute with Me” – Saturday, March 19 @ 1:30pm
Chef John brings 30 years of extensive cooking and teaching experience to The Cooking School at Market Bistro, along with his passion for food, creative cooking style, and the concept that cooking is a form of art. Born and raised in the Finger Lakes region, John knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef.  He was trained in the culinary arts program at SUNY Cobleskill and has worked all over New England, including the Berkshires, Stowe, Vermont, and most recently in Saratoga Springs.He spent 13 years as the Executive Chef at 43 Phila Bistro where his cuisine was instrumental in establishing the local trend of fine dining. John taught as a substitute and full time instructor for the culinary arts program with Saratoga and Hudson Falls BOCES as well as conducted cooking classes at Saratoga Restaurant Supply for several years.  Active with his community, John supports the BOCES culinary arts programs through his work as President of the Glens Falls American Culinary Federation.  Chef John says that after his many years in the industry he has found his true calling and dream job, and is eager to share his enthusiasm for cooking, creating, and teaching!

Jodie Fitz

“Kids in the Kitchen” – Saturday, March 19th @ 12pm & Sunday, March 20th @ 1pm 
“Real Food Fast” – Saturday, March 19th @ 11am & Sunday, March 20th @ 2pm 
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

Denise Ritz

“Easy Garden-To-Table Cooking” – Friday, March 18 @ 12pm & Saturday, March 19 @ 3pm
Denise Ritz is “Pasta Mama” – Denise writes “I came from a traditional Italian family with strong family values and one of them was cooking.  The kitchen is where we spent most of our time together, having fun and making memories that I cherish to this day.  With my family today, I carry on many of those heartfelt values.  We gather, create, and cook together in the kitchen as we make sitting down to eat dinner an important part of our day.  I cook from my heart and appreciate my family, good friends, good food and having fun with all the above.”

Marie Iannotti

“A Gardener’s Tour of the Hudson Valley” – Saturday, March 19 @ 3pm 
Marie Iannotti is a Master Gardener emeritus, as well as a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. She has been the gardening expert at About.com for a decade, while sharing her love of the Hudson Valley, at www.GardeningTheHudsonValley.com. At heart, she is a gardener who writes, photographs, and speaks about gardening. Slightly irreverent. Always enthusiastic. To date, Marie has written two books, including The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables: The 100 Easiest-to-Grow, Tastiest-to-Eat Vegetables for Your Garden and The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Northeast.

Rich Morris

“Landscape Design in the Modern Age” – Saturday, March 19 @ 1pm 
Richard Morris is the owner of Toadflax Nursery in South Glens Falls NY, one of the leading nursery and landscape construction companies in the Northeast with 11 greenhouses and acres of land to hold a vast assortment of products.  In addition to the nursery, Toadflax is an award winning landscape design and build firm with a professional design team and experienced construction, landscape and maintenance crews.  Visit them at the show or online at toadflaxnursery.com.

Amy Howansky

“Unusual Trees & Shrubs for the Landscape” – Friday, March 18 @ 4:30pm & Sunday, March 20 @ 12pm
“Beautiful Flowering Trees” – Saturday, March 19 @ 12pm
Amy Howansky is a horticulturist, landscape designer, 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, including Frese’s Landscaping.

Laurel Gailor

“What’s All the Hype Regardng Invasive Species?” – Friday, March 18 @ 2:30pm & Sunday, March 20 @ 12:30pm
Currently coordinator for the Capital/Mohawk PRISM which is hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Prior to this position, worked for 26 years as a Natural Resource educator for Cooperative Extension, and has been working in the field of Natural Resources and Forestry for over 36 years.

Pam Taft

“Gardening Basics 101″ – Friday, March 18 @ 12pm
Pam Taft has been a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension since  2004

David Chinery

“Growing A Great Lawn” – Saturday, March 19 @ 11:30am
David is the horticulture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County.  He has degrees in plant scince from Rutgers University and The Ohio State University.

Ned Chapman

“Crazy for Containers” – Friday, March 18 @ 1pm & Sunday, March 20 @ 3pm
Ned Chapman from Sunnyside Gardens represents NewYork Flower Power, a not-for-profit organization created to promote and market New York’s own horticulture industry and to encourage consumers to support their local, independent horticulture businesses.  New York Flower Power is trying to reverse the trends by steering consumers back to local, independent businesses that feature New York-grown horticulture products.

Emily DeBolt

“Save the Monarchs: Native Plants for Pollinators” – Friday, March 18 @ 3pm
Emily DeBolt owns Fiddlehead Creek Native Plant Nursery, which specializes in native plants for sustainable landscapes.  Emily has her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and master’s degree from SUNY-ESF.  She is past Director of Education at the Lake George Association, a non-profit environmental organization and  the past Regional Program Manager for the Saratoga Region of NYS Parks.   Emily is a Certified Nursery Landscape Professional through the NYS Nursery and Landscape Association and a NYSNLA director for Region 3. Emily was selected as the 2012 recipient of the New York Native Plant Conservationist of the Year by the New York Flora Association and is a member of the New York Flora Association as well the Adirondack Botanical Society. She and her husband Chris started Fiddlehead Creek in 2008 because of her love for native plants and her desire to make them more available in everyday landscapes.

Michele Peters, CFD

“Fun & Festive Designs” – Saturday, March 19 @ 4:30pm
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.

Melanie Mason

“Scoop on Poop” – Friday, March 18 @ 2pm
Melanie holds degrees in art and ornamental horticulture.  She had a landscaping business on Long Island for many years, and through a chance meeting with Pat and Grace Stamile, discovered the wonders of daylilies. With Pat and Grace’s encouragement, she began hybridizing.  That was 25 years ago, and in the period since, she has registered over 120 daylilies, won 11 Honorable Mentions and one Award of Merit for ‘Mabou’.  Melanie served in Region 4 as RVP for four years, on the AHS Board of Directors for six, and is on the AHS Registration committee.  She continues to hybridize at the farm that she and husband Bob have in Upstate NY.  There they raise Black Angus cattle as well as the daylilies.  With 450 acres, over 120 cows, three Labrador retrievers, and nearly 1000 daylilies, they stay pretty busy!

Joanne Strevy

“Anyone Can Grow English Roses” – Friday, March 18 @ 4pm & Sunday, March 20 @ 11:30am
“Designing a Glorious Garden” – Friday, March 18 @ 5pm & Saturday, March 19 @ 4:30pm
Joanne is a Master Gardener, speaker, writer, garden designer, and the owner of Rosewood Gardens located in Saratoga County, NY.  Joanne specializes in David Austin English Roses!  She loves to design English gardens, 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!

Bettina Mueller

“A Tea Garden in Tivoli” – Sunday, March 20 @ 12:30pm
Author and gardener Bettina Mueller created a Japanese-inspired tea garden that won Gardenista’s 2015 Best Garden Design Award. It is on the 2016 Garden Conservancy Open Garden tour this summer.

Chris Grigas

“Design in 7 Minutes Time, Designer’s Challenge” – Sunday, March 20 @ 12pm
Chris Grigas is host of the Designer’s Challenge, a Floral Design committee member and a floral designer at Kamillas Floral Boutique, Millerton, NY.

Denise Maurer

“The Greening of the Home” – Saturday, March 19 @ 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 30 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.

Diane Whitten

“Fermentation:  Reviving an Ancient Method of Food Preservation” – Friday, March 18 @ 11:30am
Diane has worked for Cornell Cooperative Extension as a nutrition educator for 16 years.  Diane teaches food presservation eahc summer including all recommended safe methods.

David L. Jennings

“All About Hostas” – Saturday, March 19 @ 11am
David L. Jennings is the Co-Founder and 1st President & Communications Chair for the Upstate NY Hosta Society and owner of Glenville Gardens.  David recently retired from the NYSDEC as a pesticide specialist.  He worked for almost a decade as a Horticulture Program Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension.  BS and MS from Cornell University in Horticulture, Education, Communications and Environmental Science.  AAS from SUNY Cobleskill in Nursery Management and Floriculture.  David is a HOSTAholic completely addicted to hostas with over 400 distinct varieties in our backyard collection with over 100 varieties for sale each year at our regularly scheduled Open Houses.

Matt Zacharewicz

“DIY:  Herbal Teas from Your Garden” – Sunday, March 20 @ 1:30pm
Matthew Zacharewicz, the co-owner of Short and Stout Tea Company, 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 at 1736a Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY. Short and Stout carries over 120 kinds of premium whole leaf tea as well as herbal and fruit tisane. Many blends are hand crafted on site in small quantity to ensure freshness.

Alexandra Shepard & Stanley A. Lee

“Growing Orchids In Your Home” – Saturday, March 19 @ 1:30pm 
Alex and Stan are active members with the North Eastern NY Orchid Society and  have been growing orchids of all kinds at home for over a decade.

Cathy Miller

“Yes, They Really Are Dried Flowers” – Friday, March 18 @ 2:00pm
Cathy Miller’s work with dried flowers first gained recognition after one of her fried flower creations won a creativity ribbon at the NJ State Flower Show.  She has completed dozens of assignments for Family Circle, Women’s Day, Better Homes & Gardens, House & Garden, Country Living, Victorian Home, Victorian Decorating, Brides and many other national magazines. Her crowning achievement came when she made her first trip to the White House in Washington, D.C. to create dried garden flower arrangements.  To date, Cathy has completed 62 dried flower creations for the White House – from Carter through G.W. Bush.  It is from a 33 acre farm that Cathy grows all the flowers that she uses for drying purposes.

Susan Pezzolla

“Garden Kitchen Basics” – Friday, March 18 @ 3:30pm
Susan Pezzolla is a horticulture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension and master gardener coordinator.

Lynne Arnold

“Growing Wild” – Sunday, March 20 @ 2:30pm
Lynne Arnold is District lll Federated Garden Clubs of NYS Wildflower Chair, President of the Marlboro on Hudson Garden Club, Parliamentarian for FGCNYS and past Wildflower  Consultant for Putnam County Historic Preservation Commission.

Eileen Eagan Mack

“Stories of Spring Nature & Flowers” – Saturday, March 19 @ 11am & 12:30pm
Eileen Egan Mack grew up in Ballston Lake, NY where her mother, the school librarian, shared her love of books and passed on her love for telling stories aloud to her four daughters. During Eileen’s career as an educator, her storytelling helped charm the children while enriching their lives and language learning.  Since moving to the Capital District, the Story Circle was a fortuitous find for the recently retired speech therapist as she was looking for ways to grow as a storyteller.

Melissa Petalas

“Curb Appeal:  Benefits of Staging Your Home’s Exterior to Help Sell It” – Saturday, March 19 @ 2:30pm
Melissa is a Licensed Real Estate Associate Broker and the Community Liaison at Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc.  Melissa has over 11 years experience in the real estate field and has worked extensively with both sellers and buyers throughout the Capital Region.  Melissa is a Listing Specialist, Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) and Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).

Kate Copsey

“The Right Sized Vegetable Garden” – Sunday, March 20 @ 2:00pm
Kate certified as a Master Gardener in Virginia State in 1998 and has kept the certification active through several states since that time. Kate is currently active in Ocean County, New Jersey where she is creating both vegetable and perennials gardens. She also lived in both Buffalo and Albany, New York State. Kate is a popular speaker in the tristate area of New York/New Jersey/ Pennsylvania.Kate writes for magazines and websites including the Atlee Burpee Company where she writes garden content and is editor of the regional writers

Felicia Ramos-Peters

“Easter Made Simple” – Saturday, March 19 @ 10am
Felicia Ramos-Peters is a holiday expert on a mission to make every holiday a happy one. She recently launched her blog GetHolidayHappy.com your go-to guide for the holidays.  She shares holiday themed  recipes, fun DIY projects, celeb interviews and much more. In case you recognize her, she is no stranger to television. Felicia has appeared on The Rachael Ray Show, The Dr. Oz Show, The Chew, The TODAY show and more.