Dr. Allan M. Armitage

  • Emeritus Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia (retired 2014)
  • Well known as a writer, speaker and researcher throughout the world.
  • Written over 70 academic papers, 500 industry papers.
  • Written 14 books that serve as classroom texts, reference books and gardeners’ companions. His newest book “It’s Not Just About the Hat” describes his journey from a boy in Canada to an internationally known horticulturist.
  • Teaches two online courses (“for the world”) on Perennials
  • Has written an App for smartphones and tablets “Armitage’s Greatest Perennials & Annuals” that serves as a bridge between industry and consumer.
  • Has written a monthly column for a national greenhouse publication, “Greenhouse Grower”, for over 30 years. No column has ever been repeated.
  • Consults with successful companies on selection and marketing of herbaceous plants and horticultural products.
  • Holds academic degrees from McGill University, Canada, University of Guelph, Canada and Michigan State University, USA.
  • His company, Garden Vistas, has organized tours of the Great Gardens of the World every year for over 25 years.
  • Introduced over 20 plants to the gardening community, including Verbena “Homestead Purple’ and ‘Margarita’ ornamental sweet potato.
  • He conducted research in New Crop Introduction and Evaluation, and Environmental Physiology.
  • Developed and maintained The Trial Gardens at UGA where new plants from breeders throughout the world were evaluated for heat and humidity performance.
  • Invited lecturer in Canada, the United States, Portugal, Colombia, New Zealand, Australia and Europe and is in constant demand. He has visited research and production centers throughout the world and studies annuals, perennials, cut flowers and greenhouse crops in various climates.
  • Many, many awards for teaching, writing and research

Dr. Ann Huber is the environmental microbiologist for The Soil Resource Group in Guelph, with over 30 years of national and international experience in environmental and agricultural research. She is lead researcher for the Group on horticultural BMPs, process water treatment technology evaluation and development, water-borne plant pathogen management, farm-based risk-management, food safety and soil health.

Barbara Crowhurst is one of North Americas’ leading retail business coaches, trainers and retails designers. She is also a writer and international speaker. Her company Retail Makeover is involved in retail website design, IT support and social media marketing.

Bob Reeves is President and Founder of Root Rescue Environmental Products. His passion is his conviction that: Soil Health = Plant Health. He began the Root Rescue project in 2005 with a discovery he made at his family’s nursery / garden centre, Reeves Florist & Nursery, in Woodbridge, ON. He’s worn many hats over the years: grower, nursery buyer, IT manager, and landscape designer and estimator for his own design-build company, Reevisions Designs. Bob was also the original developer of the widely-used landscape design and quotation software suite – DynaScape. At the centre of his career has been the pursuit of his twin loves: landscape plants and industry innovation. He advocates strongly for a holistic approach to growing and sustaining the landscapes we all work with. The secret to plant success (and our success) is hiding under our feet.

Don Crothers began his career in Business Development with Rothmans, Benson and Hedges in 1985 before joining Gillette in 1998. Don’s leadership talents blossomed in the Telecommunications Industry where he rose to Senior Sales Leadership roles at TELUS, Motorola and most recently, Rogers Communications.

Born and raised in Alberta, Don graduated from Mount Royal University with a business degree and a certificate in telecommunications. With a passion for health and fitness, Don participates in obstacle course competitions like The Spartan Race. Don and his wife, Cate, enjoy an active lifestyle and travelling with their children Bekah, Bennett and Beth, and believe that the best way to predict the future is to live your dreams.

Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza is a consultant for the greenhouse crop industry in Canada. He is also an education and extension consultant with the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association since 2008 after his retirement from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. He is a writer, educator and extension expert. In 2014 he was nominated and inducted into Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame. He is the editor of AGGA newsletter and writes a column in national magazine, Greenhouse Canada under the title of Growing Points. He loves to diagnose plant problems and provide quick solution besides teaching workshops to growers. He is involved with most recent developments in cannabis production and believes that it will be a good new crop for existing and new growers.

Fern Richardson, MBA CED, PHEc, is a corporate trainer and facilitator. Her company specializes in organizational behaviour. Fern describes her work as helping people enhance their skills, work effectively together and create mutual success. Fern works extensively with business, government, post-secondary institutions and community groups. Her focus is on workplace communication, leadership, teams, and innovation. An active community member, Fern has been honoured as a City of Leduc Citizen of Distinction for Culture.

Gord Koch is in his 17th year as an instructor at the Olds College School of Animal Sciences and Horticulture. Prior to joining Olds College, Gord spent 25 years managing the design and installation of large-scale public and commercial landscape projects. Gord holds a master’s degree in education, in addition to designations as a Landscape Architectural Technologist, Journeyman Landscape Gardener and Green Roof Professional.

Jacki Hart is President of Consulting By Hart, an innovative business coaching and consulting company. She has an impressive track record for shifting entrepreneurs into next level thinking, while guiding transformative strategies and critical business skills improvement with business owners and their core management teams. She is a polished facilitator, delivering hundreds of business improvement workshops to rave reviews across the country, and manages Peer Groups of business professionals. She continues to write a monthly column for Trade magazines with 120+ published articles to date.

James Komen is a consulting arborist in California specializing in tree appraisals. He employs principles of finance and accounting to help clients make informed management decisions for individual trees and for tree inventories. His work has been published in Arboriculture & Urban Forestry, Arboricultural Consultant, and Western Arborist. He teaches tree appraisal workshops around the United States.

John Friel has been part of the horticultural industry for over 35 years. He is Marketing Manager for Emerald Coast Growers, a major propagator of ornamental grasses and perennials. A Past President of the Perennial Plant Association, he also served the PPA as a regional Director and Chairman of the Nomenclature Committee.

John’s been a columnist for Ball Publishing since 2001, when “The Perennial Cynic” debuted in Grower Talks. Currently, “The Friel World” appears in Green Profit magazine. His byline has also appeared in the PPA Quarterly, American Nurseryman, The American Garden, Baer’s Agricultural Almanac, Lancaster Newspapers, Lancaster Farming, Fly Magazine, Tomato Magazine, Fruit Growers News, Vegetable Growers News, and elsewhere. John is among the “Who’s Who in the Perennial Industry” selected by Greenhouse Grower Magazine. Dr. Allan Armitage calls him “The best writer in horticulture.”

John has spoken before the Perennial Plant Association, Garden Writers Association, the Swarthmore Perennial Conference, New England Grows, the erstwhile OFA Short Course, the OFA Perennial Conference, Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, the Far West Show, Master Gardeners, and others in the United States and Canada.

Katie Dodson is the Lead Research Scientist of Olds College Centre of Innovation’s Prairie Turfgrass Research Centre (PTRC). Her research program focuses on Sustainable Turfgrass Management for the Prairie Provinces, with an emphasis on the prevention of winter injury, water use efficiency, sod production, salinity issues, and the improvement of high trafficked turf systems. Katie is part of the fourth generation of her family who has worked in the turf industry. Her industry experience has primarily been on golf courses with 10 years of working as a crew member or assistant golf course superintendent. Academically, Katie has now been researching and teaching about turfgrass systems for nine years, where her research focus has ranged from Kentucky bluegrass breeding through improving home lawn and athletic field conditions through sustainable golf course management. Katie has taught a variety of Turf Management courses at the University of Guelph and Humber College, World Agricultural systems and Forages at Washington State University, and Agroecology at the University of Guelph.

Dr. Ken Fry is an Instructor at Olds College in the Horticulture Programme and has been involved in insect pest management research, teaching, and extension for over 25 years, including nine years as a research scientist at the Alberta Research Council. His research is focused on biological control of insect pests and integrated pest management. Current research activities include introduction of a parasitoid to manage the lily beetle and province-wide surveillance of wood boring beetles for the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Kim Wickwire grew up at her Mom and Dad’s side in the family vegetable and flower gardens where she learned at a very young age that the production of good food is the foundation for good health. She gained an appreciation for the hard work that is involved in growing that good food working alongside them. Kim attended the Olds College Horticulture Program, and now teaches horticulture courses at the college.

Monroe Porter is a columnist, speaker and consultant. Renowned for his innovative, practical solutions to the problems that businesses face, Monroe Porter has been conducting seminars and consulting business owners and employers about the value of their organization for over 30 years. His entertaining and insightful convention presentations have earned him an international reputation as a top convention speaker, while his problem-solving skills have made him an in-demand speaker having taught over 2000 presentations in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. More than a talking head, Monroe has over 70 landscape companies on retainer whom he actively works with. A few of the association’s he has spoken with include Green Industry Expo, ICPI, BC Landscape Association, and American Subcontractors Association and International Roofing Expo.

Sean James has been gardening as a hobby and profession for over 30 years. A graduate of Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, a Master Gardener, a public speaker, writer, and teacher; Sean focuses on eco-gardening techniques, which makes sense since he grew up surrounded by nature near Crawford Lake. He sits on several environmental committees and has appeared on several television and radio shows. Sean ran Fern Ridge Landscaping & Eco-consulting for over 20 years, recently handing it over to his leadership team. He now owns Sean James Consulting & Design, focusing on teaching, speaking, writing, designing and consulting.

Krista Ryall has spent 13 years as Research Scientist with CFS, starting in Corner Brook, NL before transferring to GLFC in 2007. Most of her research is on sampling and ecology of bark and wood boring beetles. She has a post-doctorate in landscape ecology from Carleton University and a PhD in Forestry from the University of Toronto, studying the effects of ice storms on predator-prey dynamics in Red Pine plantations across eastern Ontario.

With CFS, most of her current research is on pheromone ecology of EAB. Most recently, Krista took the lead on an EAB biocontrol project, overseeing introduction, release and evaluation of parasitoids against the devastating Emerald Ash Borer.

Shane Belvin joined Nobel Weather Associates in 2010 at its inception under the name Snowcast Solutions. During that time, he focused on developing the analytics, product capabilities, and patent expansion. Prior to joining the firm, Shane spent 15 years in a variety of leadership positions, ranging from managing a business line for a public company to financial analysis in the investment banking sector.

Mr. Belvin began his professional career as a Field Artillery Officer in the United States Army, where he finished as a Captain and served during the initial campaigns of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In his free time, Shane volunteers as a Board Member at empowerHER, a Boston area nonprofit benefiting young women who have lost their mothers. www.empoweringher.org

Andrea Eastham is a Professional Agrologist recently re-located to Calgary, AB, where she continues to work on plant science projects including initiatives for the Canadian Council on Invasive Species. She has degrees in Environmental Horticulture and Plant Physiology from the University of Guelph and has worked on forest nursery/silviculture and vegetation management research for over 30 years. Andrea’s foray into invasive plant management in 2007 has led to many interesting and fun projects, and she hopes that it will give her good karma for all the now-known invasive ornamentals she propagated and grew earlier in her career!

Joe Salemi is responsible for DynaSCAPE’s branding, market position, sales and product management and developing/maintaining strategic relations with associations and key industry influencers. Joe brought 10 years of experience in the Canadian nursery, grower, retailer and landscape industry to DynaSCAPE, and since joining the company has studied landscape designers and design/build contractors all over North America, learning about their needs, frustrations and gaps in sales and productivity. Joe is a Certified Association Executive through the Canadian Society of Association Executives and is currently working on his Landscape Industry Certified Manager designation.

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