2020 Symposium Speakers 

Opening Keynote Speaker Chris Woods

Chris began training as a gardener at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. He continued his learning at several other gardens in the UK: Portmeirion in Wales, Bateman’s in Sussex and Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. After moving to the US in 1981, he was founding director and chief designer of Chanticleer, transforming it into one of America’s most exuberant, romantic and flamboyant gardens. Chris then became vice president for horticulture at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and in 2006, was appointed director of the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. In 2008, he was appointed executive director of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden and spent a short time as director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Meadowbrook Farm in 2012. 

He has been a member of the board of the Fairmount Park Conservancy in Philadelphia and the American Public Gardens Association. Chris also served on the advisory board of the Flora of North America Project. He has consulted for the Gardens Conservancy and Botanic Gardens Conservation International, as well as being a member of the horticulture advisory board of Ganna Walska Lotusland in Santa Barbara, CA.

Chris' first book was The Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide (Facts on File, 1992). He contributed to 1001 Gardens to See Before You Die (Barron’s, 2012) and The Gardener’s Garden (Phaidon, 2014). His book, Gardenlust A Botanical Tour of the World’s Best New Gardens, was published by Timber Press in September 2018.

Now working on another book about the wild world, Chris lives in the Pacific Northwest, and one or two other places in the world.

Gardenlust A Botanical Tour of the World's Best New Gardens

Chris takes you on botanical tour of the world's best new gardens.  Sharing photography from Gardenlust , he takes you to gardens on six continents, ranging from redefining Botanical Gardens, lavish private estates, and urban landscapes, to gem-like private yards (of less than one-half acre); all established since 2000. Chris shares his vast horticultural knowledge, wit and point of view during this journey.


Closing Keynote Speaker Jennifer Ceska 

Jennifer is Public Service and Outreach Faculty, and has been serving as Conservation Coordinator for the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, since 1995. Her specialty is creating project-driven professional networks and facilitating projects for endangered species recovery. While serving as project manager for the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, she is also coordinating the Georgia Native Plant Initiative for native plant materials development, the Georgia Milkweed Initiative for ethically and locally sourced Asclepias for Monarch recovery, habitat restoration, and gardening with purpose. Jennifer is passionate about connecting people and plants: She is an animated teacher and presenter, and sees outreach as her mission and teaching her calling. She and her colleagues partnered to develop educational programs for schools, home gardens, public landscapes and natural areas such as Connect to Protect, building gardens and habitats for biodiversity for Georgia native plants and the animals that rely upon them for survival.

Layering Native Plants into Home Gardens

Jennifer describes how native plants can be used harmoniously with decorative plants in a home landscape, and advises why that is a good thing.

Session Topic:

Removing Invasives and Thugs, and Resetting the Land Toward Diversity

Jennifer relates her experience at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia with removing invasive species and other undesirables, and resetting the land with attractive plants that provide ecological function and habitat.


 
Session Speakers
 
Betty Montgomery

Author of Hydrangeas: How to Grow, Cultivate, and Enjoy, Betty shares her knowledge of growing hydrangeas for more than 20 years. In this her second book, she gives the reader tips and information on the most successful methods she has found for growing hydrangeas. She takes it a step farther to show how to use them in the garden and in the home. 

Her first book A Four-Season Southern Garden offers her gardening experience from 40 years of love and labor in both of her zone 7 gardens in the Carolinas. A syndicated garden columnist and hands-on Master Gardener, Betty derives great satisfaction from nurturing plants, bushes and trees. She conveys tips and information on the most successful methods she has found for creating healthy and colorful gardens. 

Betty and her husband Walter have traveled extensively, visiting gardens in the U.S., Europe, New Zealand and Asia.

Session Topic:

Hydrangeas:  How to Grow, Cultivate, and Enjoy

Betty shares her decades-long knowledge of growing, caring for and using different kinds of hydrangeas in the home setting. 


Paul Thompson                                                                

Paul is a Distinguished Agent in Urban Horticulture with Clemson Extension Service. Along with a Master's Degree in Plant Health from Clemson University, he is a Certified Nursery Professional with the South Carolina Green Industry Association.

Paul coordinates and instructs the Master Gardener Program for York, Chester and Lancaster counties. He writes a monthly column for YC Magazine, a quarterly column for South Carolina Farmer magazine, and is a regular guest on SCETVs Making It Grow. Paul also presents 'First Friday in the Garden', a monthly lecture series for home gardeners on horticulture topics of seasonal interest at the Glencairn Garden Learning Center.

Session Topic:

Organic Pest Management in the Vegetable Garden

Paul covers how to manage vegetable garden pests by attracting beneficial insects, and what organic products work best for particular pest issues.


LayLa Burgess

LayLa is a native to Upstate SC and holds a B.S. in Biology (Plant Sciences), M.S. in Botany, and an MFR in Forest Resources. Prior to joining Clemson Cooperative Extension in 2015, she supervised Clemson University’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid/Predatory Beetle Rearing Laboratory, which was funded through the Initiative on Biological Control against Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Forest Health Protection-USDA Forest Service). 

She enjoys bringing an added Forest Entomology/Invasive Species component to Extension. As a member of the Horticulture Program Team, LayLa serves statewide through the Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC) and works closely with individuals across the state regarding questions on plant disease, insect pests, etc., in the garden and landscape. She regularly submits accessible content to the HGIC website on related topics. She is also the Master Gardener (MG) coordinator for Pickens, Oconee, and Anderson counties, and works with MG Associations in the area.

Session Topic:

Straw Bale Gardening ─Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers

LayLa will teach you how to turn a straw bale into a rich compostable planter for veggies, flowers and fruits while elevating the garden and making the most of small spaces. 


Andrew Lazenby

Growing up in York County, South Carolina, Andrew could often be found in the woods turning over rocks or digging in the mud just to see what was there. Following high school, he served four years in the Air Force where he had a chance to explore some of the ecology of West Texas. After returning home, he became an avid paddler and fell in love with Landsford Canal State Park and the Catawba River.

Andrew completed his undergraduate and graduate work in biology at Winthrop University, focusing on the preservation of Piedmont Prairies and regional Botany with a thesis on the Flora of Landsford Canal State Park. Currently, Andrew is a full-time artist along with his wife and they have an 11 year old son. In recent years Andrew has also enjoyed teaching for the Catawba and Midland Master Naturalist Program each spring.

Session Topic:

Native Plant Neighbors ─ Spyder Lilies of Landsford Canal & Schweinitz's Sunflowers of Rock Hill Blackjacks Heritage Preserve

Andrew will introduce us to rare native plant neighbors ─ Spyder Lilies of Landsford Canal and Schweinitz's Sunflowers of Rock Hill Blackjacks Heritage Preserve.


Andrea Sprott

Andrea has been the Garden Curator of the Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden of Wing Haven since November 2010. She is responsible for maintaining the entire property, including 1,700 taxa in its living collections, tens of thousands of research documents in the archive collections, as well as interpreting Lawrence’s legacy for the public.

Primarily self-taught and an admitted 'plantaholic', Andrea became a Master Gardener in 2003 and began volunteering at Wing Haven Nursery in 2005. She lectures regularly on plants, gardening and, of course, all things Elizabeth Lawrence. She is a member of the Azalea Society of America, American Camellia Society, American Daffodil Society, and North American Rock Garden Society. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Southern Garden History Society.

Session Topic:

Wing Haven – Plants That Make a Year-Round Bird Sanctuary in an Urban Setting

Andrea highlights the plants that make a bird sanctuary in a Charlotte neighborhood; they can do the same in your garden.