Opening Keynote Speaker Allan M. Armitage

Allan’s career has taken him all over the world. He has written 16 books, including, most recently, “Of Naked Ladies and Forget-Me-Nots: Stories behind Common Names of Some of our Favorite Plants.” He is perhaps best known for his long career as Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, where was in charge of the UGA Horticulture Gardens, conducting research and producing guidelines for annuals and perennials suitable for the extreme heat and humidity of the South. He has written a monthly column for the national greenhouse publication, “Greenhouse Grower.” His entertaining and informative videos may be seen on YouTube. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, a Master of Science degree from the University of Guelph and a doctorate from Michigan State University. 

Keynote TopicNaked Ladies and Forget-Me-Nots: Stories from the Garden 

Every gardener has a tale or two to tell about favorite plants. Allan, a renowned storyteller, will regale us with stories on how such plants as Hooker’s Lips and the Gas Plant got their names. 

Session TopicGreat Perennials for the Piedmont

Drawing on the many years he oversaw field trials on perennials and other plants at the UGA Horticulture Gardens in Athens, Ga., Allan will share some of his favorites that will thrive in this region of the Carolinas.

Closing Keynote Speaker Patrick Larkin
Patrick is Executive Director for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. He most recently served as Senior Vice President of Gardens for Cheekwood in Nashville, Tenn. Previous posts include Director of Horticulture and Operations at the American Horticultural Society’s headquarters, George Washington’s River Farm; Executive Director of Green Bay Botanical Garden in Green Bay, Wisc.; CEO at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada, Calif., and Executive Director of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, Calif. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science degree in Public Horticulture Administration from the Longwood Graduate Program of the University of Delaware.l.

Keynote Topic: The Role of Public Gardens in a Changing World

Botanical gardens, arboreta and the like have been around for centuries and have served their communities in myriad ways. More than just a “pretty face,” public gardens can serve as centers of civic engagement, change agents, insurance policies for environmental disasters or stress relievers in an increasingly stressful world. Drawing from his experience and travels, Patrick will showcase the many ways gardens serve.

Session Speakers

Todd Beasley

Todd recently was named Director of Horticulture and Facilities for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, where he is responsible for formal displays, including more than 12 acres of perennial gardens, season displays and the Orchid Conservatory. Most recently, he was Interim Director of Programs and Vice President for the San Antonio (Texas.) Botanical Garden. Previously, he served as Nursery and Greenhouse Production Manager at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, S.C. He has a doctorate of education from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s Degree in Earth and Environmental Resource management.

Topic:  Cultural, Environmental and Biological Challenges in Gardens Today

Gardens today face a number of challenges, from a changing climate, to invasive pests and plants, to fewer people being interested in gardening. But there is hope. Join Todd as he talks about the challenges and numerous solutions to help gardens continue to thrive

Bill Rogers

A native of Denver, Colo., Bill’s fascination with biology began as a boy in San Francisco, where he haunted local museums. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and later received a Master's Degree from UC California and his doctorate in Zoology from UC Berkeley. Since 1989, he has been at Winthrop University, teaching Ornithology, General Zoology, Animal Behavior, Vertebrate Natural History and Evolution, etc. He was named Distinguished Professor in 2002.

Topic:  Birds in Your Beds: Gardening to Attract, Keep and Help Birds

Bill will cover all aspects of enticing birds the year round to your yard and gardens. He will discuss what landscape elements best attract various species, how to keep birds safe once they are on your property, and the basics of bird biology and identification.

Andy Rollins

Andy, a Clemson Extension agent for 20 years, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences and a Master of Science degree in Plant Pathology from Clemson. His love of gardening came from his mother. His specialty is commercial fruit and vegetable production, and his area of responsibility includes five counties in the S.C. Piedmont.

Topic:  Secrets of Fruit Growing

Andy says he “will be sharing all of my most tightly held secrets to growing the best most delicious fruits on the planet!” He’ll help you narrow down which fruits are best suited for backyard growing and how to make it all happen.

Paul Thompson

Paul earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Horticulture from Clemson University. He currently is Clemson Extension Services Senior Associate Agent/ Horticulture, serving York, Chester and Lancaster counties. He is a Certified Nursery Professional with the South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association. Paul teaches the Master Gardener Program and conducts educational programs for consumers and horticulture professionals. He is co-host of “The Gardeners Bench” on WRHI Newstalk 94.3 FM. He writes a monthly gardening column for YC Magazine and a quarterly column for South Carolina Farmers Magazine. He is a frequent guest expert on SCETV’s “Making It Grow” and has received many awards for his programming and communication efforts.
TopicNative Plants That Thrive in the Shade
Learn about groundcovers, shrubs, and even some small native trees for those shady areas in your landscape.

TopicInsect Friends and Foes in the Vegetable Garden

Learn how to attract and identify the good guys and how they can help us reduce the bad guys, as well as a discussion on other practical pest management ideas.