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 a printable version of the 2020 Schedule.

Suzanne Balet-Haight
Fred Breglia
Kate Brittenham
David Chinery
Debi Chowdhury
Alan Decker
Tonya DeFriest
Judith Fetterley
Jodie Fitz
Donnie Graham
Chris Grigas
Carole Henry
Amy Howanksy
Khwan Hyden
Ron Ketelsen
Andrea Luchini

Andrew Lynn
John Martin
Denise Maurer
Barbara Malera
Lauren Mercier
Jana Milbocker
Rich Morris
Melissa Petalas
Michele Peters
Liz Pizzo
Doug Pratt
Karen Roberts Mort
Joanne Strevy
Janet Vinyard
Amanda Vrsalovic
Donna Wardlaw
Matt Zacharewicz

Suzanne Balet-Haight

“Succulents – Planting in Unique & Different Way” – Friday, March 27 @ 12:30pm; Saturday, March 28 @ 12:30pm
(click title for description)

Suzanne developed a love of flowers & plants at an early age. First vending at the Saratoga Farmers Market with her family then attending SUNY Cobleskill & Cornell University graduating with a AAS & BS Horticulture Degree. She & her team offer annuals.

Fred Breglia

“Promoting Plant Health Through Proper Pruning” – Friday, March 27 @ 1pm, Saturday, March 28 @11am, Sunday, March 29 @ 2pm 
“Improving Soils for Better Results In All Locations” – Friday, March 27 @ 11am, Sunday, March 29 @ 12pm
“Trees of NY; an Ecological Perspective” – Saturday, March 28 @ 1pm
(click title for description)

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.

Rich Morris

“Explore the World of Hemp” – Saturday, March 28th @ 11:30pm
“2020 New Flower Introductions” – Saturday, March 28th @ 2pm
(click title for description)

Rich Morris founded Toadflax Nursery, LLC in 1990.  Under the creative vision and direction of Rich, Toadflax has evolved into one of the most highly respected nursery and landscape design companies in the northeast.

Amy Howansky

“Redesign Your Front Landscape” – Friday, March 27th @ 12pm, Sunday, March 29th @ 1pm
“Powerful Perennials with Purpose” – Friday, March 27th @ 4pm, Saturday, March 28th @ 12pm, Sunday, March 29th @ 3pm
(Click title for description)

Amy Howansky is a horticulturalist, award-winning landscape designer, educator, and Certified Nursery and Landscape Professional. As a former educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension, she coordinated the Master Gardener Program and the Community Gardening Program. During her 36 years in the trade, she has taught extensively about landscape design, tree care, pest diagnosis, and all things horticultural. As owner of Backyard Solutions, she creates landscape designs, and educates employees for other area landscape businesses.

Alan Decker

“Water Feature Ideas, Big & Small” – Saturday, March 28th @ 2:30pm and Sunday, March 29th @ 11:30am
(click title for description) 

Alan Decker, president of Decker’s Pondscapes, has been servicing the Capital Region for over 30 years. Decker’s specializes in outdoor living space design and installation such as custom koi ponds and waterfalls, pondless waterfalls, fountainscapes, pond renovations and pond maintenance. Decker is an national award winning water feature builder named Water Feature Artist of the Year.”

Liz Pizzo

“Garden Therapy” – Friday, March 27th @ 1:30pm
(click title for description)

Professional, Medicare Community Health Promotion at MVP Health Care

David Chinery

“Growing A Great Lawn” – Sunday, March 29th @ 11am
(click title for description)

David Chinery is a Cooperative Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County, where he 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. In addition to leading the Master Gardener program, 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

“Stunning Succulents” – Saturday, March 28th @ 3:30pm
(click title for description)

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 33 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” – Friday, March 27th @ 3pm
“Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants” – Friday, March 27th @ 5pm
“The Bulbs of Summer” – Saturday, March 28th @ 3pm
“The Art of Saving Seeds” – Saturday, March 28th @ 5pm
“Container Gardening” – Sunday, March 29th @ 12:30pm
(click title for description)

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.

Donnie Graham

“Pappardelle with Spring Vegetables” – Sunday, March 29th @ 1:30pm
(click title for description)

“Chef Donnie” brings more than 30 years of restaurant experience to the cooking school classroom. As head Chef at Albany’s legendary retro restaurant, Quintessence, Donnie was the inspiration behind their eclectic nightly feature. He earned a culinary degree through Schenectady County Community College. He now shares his passion with the students at The Cooking School@ Market Bistro.

Chris Grigas

“Styling Cut Flowers For Your Home” – Saturday, March 28th @ 3:30pm
“Design in 7 Minutes Time, Designer’s Challenge” – Sunday, March 29th @ 12pm
“Granville HS Floriculture Student Challenge” – Friday, March 27th @ 11am
(click title for description)

Chris Grigas is host of the Designer’s Challenge, a Floral Design committee member, a horticulturist, floral designer, and a sales consultant with Seagroatt Riccardi Latham, NY.

Jodie Fitz

“Cooking with Jodie Fitz” – Saturday, March 28th @ 11am
“Fidget Grows a Pizza Garden” –  Saturday, March 28th from 12:30-2pm
(click title for description)

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.

Jana Milbocker

“Spring Ephemerals: Our Native Woodland Wildflowers” – Friday, March 27 @ 4:30pm
“The Garden Tourist” –  Saturday, March 28 @ 10am
(click title for description)

Jana is an avid gardener, plant collector, garden designer, speaker, and author. She combines horticulture, design, and travel tips to educate, inspire and delight both new and seasoned gardeners. She is the owner of Enchanted Gardens, a landscape design firm in the Boston area.
Jana published two books: “The Garden Tourist: 120 Destination Gardens and Nurseries in the Northeast” and “The Garden Tourist’s New England.” She has lectured at flower shows in Mass., Conn., Maine, New York and New Jersey, and at many horticultural societies, garden clubs, and libraries in the Northeast.

Michele Peters, AIFD

“The Magic of Flowers – Friday, March 27th @ 2pm, Saturday, March 28th @ 2pm
(click title for description)

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

“Successfully Getting Roses Through the Seasons” Friday, March 27th @ 2pm; Saturday, March 28th @ 4pm; Sunday, March 29th @ 1:30pm
“Taking Your Garden From Ordinary to Extrodinary” – Friday, March 27th @ 5pm; Sunday, March 29th @ 3:30pm
(click title for description)

Joanne is a garden consultant, designer, speaker, writer, and owner of Rosewood Gardens in Saratoga County, NY. She is well known for her expertise on David Austin English Roses, and for the English gardens that she designs, mixing fragrant roses with cottage perennials. She is passionate about teaching gardeners how easy it is to grow roses, and helps them by creating beautiful, manageable gardens that they can enjoy for years!

Andrea Luchini

“Beyond the Beauty:  Gardens & Mission at Hildene” – Friday, March 27th @ 3pm
(click title for description)

Hildene Horticulturist, Andrea Luchini, returned home to Vermont in 2012 after 6 years as Gardener and Crew Leader at The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. She has a M.S. in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Vermont and is committed to conservation, stewardship, and sustainability, values at the core of Hildene’s mission, Values into Action. Andrea has developed and implemented programs for Integrated Pest Management and composting on the 412-acre estate. She has also helped shift the land management priorities to include habitat for birds, bees, and butterflies. [/fusion_text]

Donna Wardlaw

“Orchids 101: Basic Orchid Culture” – Sunday, March 29th @ 2pm
(click title for description)

Donna has been growing orchids for over 20 years on windowsills, in cool rooms, and in a greenhouse as well as outside in the summers. She is currently the president of the North Eastern New York Orchid Society .[/fusion_text]

Matt Zacharewicz

“DIY:  Herbal Tea from Your Garden” – Sunday, March 29th @ 12pm
(click title for description)

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 on Western Avenue, Guilderland, NY and at his newest location in Crossgates Mall.

Lauren Mercier

“Disposal Methods for Invasive Plants” – Friday, March 27th @ 2pm
(click title for description)

Lauren is the Education and Outreach Coordinator of the Capital-Mohawk PRISM. Lauren has been involved with a variety of survey, removal, and education programs with the Capital-Mohawk PRISM and continues to share her passion and knowledge on invasive species with the public. Lauren is currently working towards her Master of Science in Biodiversity, Conservation & Policy from the State University of New York, University at Albany.

Ron Ketelsen

“Turning Trouble Spots into Garden Masterpieces” – Friday, March 27th @ 3:30pm
(click title for description)

Ron Ketelsen is a Master Gardener whose gardening and landscape projects have been featured on garden tours in California and Iowa. Originally from Iowa, Ketelsen moved to Silicon Valley in CA and then to Upstate New York in 2014. Ron specializes in taking trouble spots and turning them into colorful garden masterpieces. Ketelsen owns the Roseboro Hotel in Sharon Springs, NY and coordinates the Sharon Springs Garden and Flower Festival.

Judith Fetterley

“Designing Your Garden:  Tools and Tips” – Saturday, March 28th @ 12pm
(click title for description)

Judith Fetterley is a Master Gardener with the Albany County CCE Master Gardener Program. Judith has a Certificate in Garden Design from the Institute for Ecosystems Study, and for several years owned and operated Perennial Wisdom, a small garden design business.

Doug Pratt

“Starting Seeds” – Saturday, March 28th @ 11am
(click title for description)
Doug Pratt brings over 40 years experience as a certified production planner, wholesale greenhouse grower and Master Gardener volunteer. Now retired, Doug designs and builds seeders for the market farmer and small grower.

Andrew Lynn

“Risk and Reward:  Trees in the Built Environment” – Sunday, March 29th @ 2:30pm
(click title for description)

Andrew is a certified arborist and a member of More Trees Arborist Collective. 

Carole Henry

“Container Gardening Tips & Techniques” – Saturday, March 28th @ 4:30pm
(click title for description)

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.

Tonya DeFriest

“Prevention is the Best Medicine” – Friday, March 27th @ 4pm; Sunday, March 29th @ 11am
(click title for description)

Tonya is a licensed Esthetician that formerly worked at Canyon Ranch for 10 years in skin care. Out of personal need, Tonya developed all-natural tick and mosquito repellents. Both Tonya’s husband and daughter are very sick with misdiagnosed and undiagnosed tick borne illnesses. Tonya now brings awareness to the subject by teaching prevention techniques surrounding ticks and mosquitoes.

Khwan Hyden

“Fruit Carving Flowers” – Saturday, March 28 @ 3pm; Sunday, March 29th from 10am – 2pm
(click title for description)

Khwan Carving Art

[/imageframe]

Carole Henry

“Container Gardening Tips & Techniques” – Saturday, March 28th @ 4:30pm
(click title for description)

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.

Amanda Vrsalovic

“Drink To Your Health” – Saturday, March 28th @ 12:30pm
(click title for description)

Amanda’s passion for wellness weaves throughout her life. Amanda has a B.S. in Public Health and is currently working on a MPH with a concentration in social behavior and community health. Through public health, she hopes to change the way we access and deliver care in the United States. In the field, Amanda works at Capital Roots as an educator. her focus is on classes in gardening, food prep and wellness. In her free time, she teaches an empowering, fast paced yoga class. Amanda believes in the importance of taking care of one’s body as a whole. Everyone has the right to feel strong, safe and healthy.

Kate Brittenham

“Native Substitutes for Popular Invasive Plants” – Friday, March 27 @ 1pm; Sunday, March 29th @ 1pm
(click title for description)

Kate Brittenham is an ecologically focused landscape designer and is the owner and founder of Front Stoop Pocket Gardens. Based in Albany, Kate specializes in native plant species and sustainable design.

Sponsored By

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