Speakers

Opening Keynote and Session Speaker Mark Weathington


As Director of the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA) at NC State University, Mark is passionate in his work to connect people with plants. His career in public horticulture has also included the Norfolk Botanical Garden where he served as Director of Horticulture and the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Mark travels extensively searching for new plants to diversify the American landscape and lectures on a variety of topics in horticulture to further the JC Raulston Arboretum’s vision of 'Planning and Planting a Better World'. His explorations and speaking engagements have taken him to China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Ecuador, Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, and throughout the US.

Mark has recently completed Gardening in the South: The Complete Homeowner’s Guide* for Timber Press. He has revised and updated the Propagation Guide for Woody Plants at the JCRA and has been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Carolina Gardener, American Nurseryman, VA Gardener, and HortScience magazines as well as The Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Book of Lists.

Mark lives and gardens in Raleigh, NC, the city of oaks, with his wife and two boxers.

Opening Keynote

A Piedmont Plant Palette

"A gardener's plant choice and garden style are inextricably linked to the place they call home," from his book Gardening in the South: The Complete Homeowner’s Guide. Mark offers plant profiles highlighting the annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and bulbs best suited to the Carolina Piedmont.

Session Topic

Slave to the Goddess Flora—Secrets from a Lazy Gardener

Gardening is easy; don't let the experts tell you otherwise! Mark passes on shortcuts and techniques to take some of the work out of gardening and make it a more enjoyable pastime.


*Mark's book will be available for sale at the event.

Closing Keynote and Session Speaker Ryan McEnaney


Ryan is a nationally recognized garden speaker, writer, and plant expert with a focus on woody shrubs and trees. A fifth-generation owner of Bailey Nurseries (Bailey), one of the country’s largest wholesale nurseries, Ryan cut his horticultural teeth, quite literally, by working from the ground up. Starting his career in the green industry in his teens by weeding, spacing plants, and unloading semi-trucks, Ryan has gone on to focus his work in the marketing arena of horticulture after taking a brief hiatus to work in Hollywood.

Upon returning to his family’s business, Ryan oversees public and media relations for Bailey and its consumer brands: Easy Elegance® Roses; First Editions® Shrubs and Trees; and the world’s best-selling collection of hydrangeas, Endless Summer® Hydrangeas. His work has led to partnerships with Netflix’s Queer Eye and securing the first-ever Official Flower of the Super Bowl.


Ryan also serves as the Bailey brands’ global spokesperson and host of Garden Gab, their digital video platform offering 'how to' and inspirational tips and tricks for home gardeners. As brand spokesperson, Ryan has appeared in Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, HGTV, Better Homes & Gardens, regional television, and more. His approachable demeanor has also led him to speak to trade and consumer audiences across the United States. Ryan serves on the Board of Directors for the National Garden Bureau, and works on multiple committees for GardenComm, formerly the Garden Writers Association, and the Minnesota Nursery & Landscape Association. His book Field Guide to Outside Style: Design and Plant Your Perfect Outdoor Space (Cool Springs/Quatro) will be published in Spring 2022.

Closing Keynote

Nativars: The New Native

This session explores the introduction of cultivated native plants or 'nativars' into the home garden and includes their benefits for the surrounding habitat. Ryan also looks at a selection of regionally appropriate varieties to try at home.

Session Topic

New Plants and From Where They Come

If you've ever wondered how a new variety makes its way to a garden center, this talk will give you a sneak peek behind the curtain. Ryan reveals how new plants are selected—from natural discovery or intentional breeding—how they are trialed and ultimately chosen for introduction. He also shares some of his favorite new introductions and gives background on how they came to market.

Session Speaker Paul Thompson


Paul (B.S. and M.Ag., Clemson University, 1994) is a Distinguished Urban Horticulture Agent in York, Chester, and Lancaster Counties with the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service. He is also a Certified Nursery Professional with the SC Nursery and Landscape Association (now known as the SC Green Industry Association).

Paul coordinates the tri-county Master Gardener Program and conducts educational programs for consumers and horticulture professionals. He writes a quarterly column for SC Farmer magazine and is a regular guest on SCETV’s Making it Grow. He has received many awards for his programming and communication efforts through national and state peer associations, including the SC Association of County Agricultural Agents 2015 Distinguished Service Award, and the 2016 Louis B. Parson’s award for Outstanding Contribution to the Landscape and Nursery Industry presented by the former South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association.

Session Topic

Vegetable Gardening Tips

Paul offers practical ideas for successful vegetable gardening.

Session Speakers Robert Myers and Jack Page


A Pennsylvania native Robert received his Associates Degree in Nursery Management from Williamsport Community College in 1986. He has spent most of his life in North Carolina where he and Jack Page opened The Perfect Rose, LLC in 2007. The company, which specializes in rose garden installation and maintenance, has grown to more than 300 contract customers in 12 short years!

Robert is the Past President of the Rowan Rose Society and Charlotte Rose Society, and is currently Vice President of both. He received the Bronze Medal from the Rowan Rose Society in 2007, and the ARS Carolina District Silver Medal in 2016. A Master

Consulting Rosarian and accredited Horticulture Judge, he has received both Outstanding Consulting Rosarian and Outstanding Horticulture Judge awards from the Carolina District. He is a member of the permanent jury for the International Rose Trials at the

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. An accredited rose judge with the World Federation of Roses, he has judged roses in New Zealand, France, Uruguay, and Denmark.

Robert is an avid exhibitor and has won numerous awards from rose shows at the local, district, and national level. In addition to the Rowan Rose Society, he is also a member of the Winston Salem Rose Society, Charlotte Rose Society and SC Rose Society.



Jack is a North Carolina native who received his Bachelor of Architecture from NC State University in 1989. Growing up among the tobacco fields of the Piedmont, he learned much about gardening on the farm from his parents.

While continuing his architectural career, Jack along with Robert Myers, opened The Perfect Rose, LLC in 2007, which specializes in rose garden installation and maintenance. The company has grown so rapidly that Jack retired from his architecture profession in August 2011 to join The Perfect Rose full time. He is responsible for marketing, business development, and accounting, and assists with client rose garden maintenance as well.

Jack is a Past President of the Rowan Rose Society and became a Consulting Rosarian in 2011. He was awarded the Bronze Medal from the Rowan Rose Society in 2013, the Carolina District Outstanding Consulting Rosarian Award in 2016 and the District Silver

Medal in 2017. He currently serves as the Rowan Rose Society Newsletter Editor and is a member of the American Rose Society Newsletter Exchange. He has written articles on Rose Rosette Disease and Spring Pruning, as well as a World Federation Meeting Summary which appeared in the American Rose Society Newsletter.

Jack is currently serving as Treasurer for the Carolina District of the American Rose Society. In October 2018, Jack was unanimously voted by the American Rose Society Board of Directors to the office of Treasurer. This position includes a seat at the five-member Executive Committee and is Chairman of the Finance Committee. He is a member of the Rowan Rose Society, Winston Salem Rose Society, Charlotte Rose Society, and SC Rose Society.

Session Topic

Twelve Months of Rose Care

The owners of The Perfect Rose share the finer points of caring for your roses with specific tasks for each month of the year to produce beautiful plants.

Session Speaker Patricia E. “Trish” DeHond


Since March 2021, Trish has served as Open Space Planner in the York County Planning & Development Services Department. As the staff liaison for York County Forever, she works with landowners to preserve and protect our natural and cultural resources in an area of rapid urbanization. Trish previously worked as a Horticulture and Agronomic Row Crops County Agent for the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. She is the former Tourism Director for Darlington County, and also worked as Horticulturist for Kalmia Gardens of Coker University in Hartsville. You might recognize Trish from her frequent appearances as a panelist on Making It Grow, SCETV’s Emmy Award-winning gardening program.

Trish is a Certified Master Gardener and is a SC Licensed Non-Commercial Pesticide Applicator. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the State University of New York at Potsdam and a Masters in Botany from the University of Maine. A native of Rochester, NY, she has lived in South Carolina since 1996.

Session Topic

Old Timey Pass Along Plants

A Southern gardening tradition, 'pass along' plants are easily propagated, often unavailable at a retail nursery, and passed along to gardening friends. Each plant holds a story of its origin and the loving hands that grew it.

Session Speaker Barbara Allbritton-Grant, Ed. D.


Barbara fell in love with nature about 50 years ago, and has been planting flowers and pulling weeds ever since. Since 1989 when she and her husband moved to Rock Hill, SC, Barbara has been an active member of the Master Gardeners of York County. After retiring as a secondary school culinary arts teacher, she volunteered at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC; later joining their educational staff.

Living on a two-acre home site, Barbara designed her gardens to include many different types of plants and plantings. Thousands of bulbs and more than 100 native plants thrive there in either sun or deep shape depending on their light requirements. Native plants grow alongside modern cultivars and unique varieties. Although most plants are in the ground, others reside on terraces and in containers. No matter the day of the year, there is always something blooming in Barbara's gardens.

Barbara is ever mindful of wildlife in making plant selections as well as considering different varieties of butterflies and the host plants that attract them. She ensures that flower stalks and seed heads stand through the winter along with a brush pile to provide refuge for our many friends in nature.

Session Topic

Gardening for the Young at Heart: Wiser, Safer and Older

Today, Barbara will share some gardening habits and tools that she and her husband have adopted, and for the mature gardener to consider. Highlights include:

Safety Tips to Practice as You Garden

Reasons for Gardening—Exercise, Mental Health, Enjoyment

Limitations as We Age

The Same but Different

Appreciate More, Work Less