Seminar Schedule

Our show features a comprehensive lineup of seminars & demos! Use the buttons below to find what interests you! You can also see our exhibitor list here.

Seminar Schedules, Speakers & Topics

The CT Flower & Garden Show offers a robust schedule of flower & garden related seminars, presented by our friends at AWS Advanced Shower & Bath! Below you will find a seminar schedule for each day of our show that includes times, speakers, topics & room location for each presentation. Below all the daily schedules you will find bios, photos and more information about our line up speakers listed in alphabetical order. Thanks for your interest in our seminar lineup and please enjoy the show!

Speakers Bios

Thursday’s Presentation Schedule

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11aDawn PettinelliHealthy Soils, Healthy Plants, Healthy YouRoom 11
11aDiane St. JohnCreate a Thriving Monarch Butterfly Habitat at HomeRoom 12
11aSylvia NicholsIf Flowers Could Speak – Flowers, Fragrance, FeelingsRoom 13
12:30pCharlotte AlbersGarden ColorRoom 11
12:30pJeffrey EleveldHow to Kill a HouseplantRoom 12
12:30pJana MilbockerSunny Perennial GardensRoom 13
2pLen GiddixThe Broken Tulip StoryRoom 11
2pJackson MadnickLawn Secrets & Tips to Better Existing GrassRoom 12
2pJen PlaskyPerfect Performing PlantersRoom 13
3:30pRob TownsendWater Garden BasicsRoom 11
3:30pFuture Farmers of AmericaThe Art of Giving FlowersRoom 12
3:30pJana MilbockerCreating Pots with PizzazRoom 13
4:30pCharlotte AlbersGardens of England: Sissinghurst & Gravetye ManorRoom 11
4:30pNancy DuBrule-ClementeChoosing Native PlantsRoom 12
4:30pLen GiddixThe Real Tulipmania StoryRoom 13

Friday’s Presentation Schedule

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11aMary Jo MaffeiGarden Design 101Room 11
11aJeffrey EleveldHow to Kill a HouseplantRoom 12
11aJen PlaskyPerfect Performing PlantersRoom 13
12:30pPamm CooperLawns: Home on DeRangeRoom 11
12:30pRob TownsendWater Gardening BasicsRoom 12
12:30pSylvia NicholsIf Flowers Could Speak – Flowers, Fragrance, FeelingsRoom 13
2pMary Jo MaffeiGarden Design 101Room 11
2pLen GiddixThe Real Tulipmania StoryRoom 12
2pTom ChristopherGrowing Greener:  Environmentally-Friendly Gardening Made EasyRoom 13
3:30pAdam WheelerI Like It, I Love It and the Deer Don’t Eat It!Room 11
3:30pDiane St. JohnCreate a Thriving Monarch Butterfly Habitat at HomeRoom 12
3:30pMike McGrathTomato TalkRoom 13
4:30pLen GiddixThe Broken Tulip StoryRoom 11
4:30pFuture Farmers of AmericaHouse Plants 101Room 12
4:30pJackson MadnickLawn Secrets & Tips to Better Existing GrassRoom 13

Saturday’s Presentation Schedule

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11aCharlie NardozziEcological Gardening & Companion PlantingRoom 11
11aMike McGrathTomato TalkRoom 12
11aGeorge TrecinaHardscape In Your LandscapeRoom 13
12:30pLen GiddixThe Broken Tulip StoryRoom 11
12:30pHeather ZidackHome Gardening Tips in a New HomeRoom 12
12:30pJen PlaskyPerfect Performing PlantersRoom 13
2pJeffrey EleveldHow to Kill a HouseplantRoom 11
2pMike McGrathRaised BedsRoom 12
2pSylvia NicholsIf Flowers Could Speak – Flowers, Fragrance, FeelingsRoom 13
3:30pCharlie NardozziEcological Gardening & Companion PlantingRoom 11
3:30pSteve WalowskiOrganics 101 An Organic Approach to Lawn CareRoom 12
3:30pGeorge TrecinaReassessing Your Foundation PlantingRoom 13
4:30pRob TownsendWater Gardening BasicsRoom 11
4:30pJason MadnickLawn Secrets & Tips To Better Existing GrassRoom 12
4:30pLen GiddixThe Real Tulipmania StoryRoom 13

Sunday’s Presentation Schedule

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11aJen PlaskyPerfect Performing PlantersRoom 11
11aDr. Nick GoltzThe Plant Doctor Is In: Flower Disease 101Room 12
11aGeorge TrecinaHardscape in Your LandscapeRoom 13
12:30pLen GiddixThe Real Tulipmania StoryRoom 11
12:30pJeffrey EleveldHow to Kill a HouseplantRoom 12
12:30pSylvia NicholsIf Flowers Could Speak – Flowers, Fragrance, FeelingsRoom 13
2pSteve WalowskiOrganics 101 - An Organic Approach to Lawn CareRoom 11
2pDiane St. JohnCreate a Thriving Monarch Butterfly Habitat at HomeRoom 12
2pGeorge TrecinaReassessing Your Foundation PlantingRoom 13

Seminar Speakers & Topics

Click the name of each presenter for bios, pictures and presentation details!

Adam Wheeler Bio

Adam started work at Broken Arrow in 2004 after completing his BS degree in Urban Forestry and Landscape Horticulture at the University of Vermont. Adam manages plant propagation, container and field production and the acquisition and development of new plants. He is a past recipient of the Young Nursery Professional Award from the New England Nursery Association. He loves to share his passion for plants through photography and educational outreach. As a result, he lectures widely on a variety of subjects and is also an adjunct lecturer at Naugatuck Valley Community College and the Berkshire Botanical Garden. With his spare time he enjoys cultivating his eclectic collection of rare and unusual plants, rock climbing and competitive giant pumpkin growing.

Charlie Nardozzi Bio

Charlie Nardozzi is an award winning, nationally recognized garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert gardening information to home gardeners through radio, television, talks, tours, on-line, and the printed page. Charlie delights in making gardening information simple, easy, fun and accessible to everyone.

Charlotte Albers Bio

Charlotte owns Paintbox Garden Design ( and is a garden designer based in Shelburne, Vermont. She studied botany and plant taxonomy at the U.S. National Arboretum, holds certificates in Horticulture and Landscape Design from the USDA Graduate School in Washington, D.C., and completed the Master Gardner program through Virginia Cooperative Extension. She has worked for the American Horticultural Society and written for The American Gardener magazine and is a contributing garden writer for Through workshops and classes she explores the art of the garden and promotes sustainable landscape design through her talks and projects.

Presentation descriptions

In this plant-focused talk we’ll look at how color can transform a landscape throughout the year looking at trees, shrubs, groundcovers, bulbs, and perennials that are suitable for the Northeast. Vermont based landscape designer Charlotte Albers will guide you through a broad spectrum of noteworthy selections and personal favorites, focusing on structural hues, good combinations, and best picks for wildlife, mixed borders, wet or dry conditions, and more. Handout included.

Sissinghurst Castle in Kent and Gravetye Manor in Sussex are two of the most celebrated estates in England. Come see what makes them so extraordinary – pergolas and old walls with climbing vines, towers and moats, and layers of plantings as stewarded by head gardeners Troy Scott Smith (Sissinghurst) and Tom Coward (Gravetye Manor). Find inspiration for your home garden and learn how both estates are preserving their unique heritage at the same time they embrace change.

Dawn Pettinelli Bio

Dawn Pettinelli is an Assistant Extension Educator at the University of Connecticut. She manages the UConn Home & Garden Education Center and the UConn Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory. Both facilities provide information, testing and advice to homeowners and commercial clientele. Dawn has been a Master Gardener since 1986 and was the Master Gardener Coordinator for Worcester County Cooperative Extension in Massachusetts. A lifelong gardener, Dawn was also a horticulturist at Old Sturbridge Village.

Diane St. John Bio

Diane St. John is the manager of Natureworks Garden Center and has a BFA in Photography from Columbia College in Chicago and a Landscape Design Certificate from Naugatuck Valley Community College. After obtaining the Landscape Design Certificate from NVCC, the UConn Master Gardener certification, and an Accredited Organic Land Care Professional Certification through CT NOFA, she became increasingly aware of the overuse of synthetic chemicals on lawns and gardens. She became a passionate educator of organic land care practices and saw the decline of the monarch butterfly as a symbol of educating the public on why organic methods are so important. She hopes to inspire others to stop the use of chemicals at home and create a safe, beautiful, healthy environment for all.

Presentation Description

Create a Thriving Monarch Butterfly Habitat at Home

This talk will explain the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and why it has been in decline for many years. Learn what you can do right in your own yard to help the monarch butterfly and in turn, all of our native pollinators. Learn about the many types of plants to include in your gardens for the best success.

George Trecina Bio

George has been planning and planting gardens since the 1970s with his own property serving as his  “experimental laboratory”. A graduate of The University of Connecticut and Cornell University, his main focus is on the improvement of residential properties He established Land Design & Horticultural Sales LLC in 1992, a landscape design, installation and maintenance business. He has entertained clients, garden clubs and members of The Garden Conservancy and Mad Gardeners at his home in Meriden. Other activities include lecturing and writing on landscape design and horticultural subjects.


Hardscape in Your Landscape

Hardscape is the backbone of the landscape. Stone, wood and metal features enhance the plants and help organize and define garden spaces. Sidewalks, walls, stairways and fences should arise not merely out of function but with an eye to aesthetics. Using focal points with fountains, benches, urns, and statuary complete the picture.

Reassessing Your Foundation Planting

Every time you drive up to your garage or go out for the mail, do you have second thoughts about what you see planted around your foundation? Whether you inherited these plants from the previous owner or created your own design, do you imagine having a more inviting landscape; one that you see virtually every day? Let’s explore the possibilities!

Heather Zidack on Nov. 14, 2023. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Heather Zidack Bio

Heather is the newest addition to the Home & Garden Education Center team at UConn, Storrs. She is a UConn Alumni with a B.S. in Plant Science and her M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction. Heather has had the opportunity to work in the horticulture industry as well as in agriscience education in Connecticut. Her industry experience, combined with her education background, and a lifelong passion for plants has driven her educate others that horticulture and gardening are both accessible and enjoyable hobbies for anyone who seeks success!

Presentation description

Home Gardening tips in A New Home – Advice on what to do when you first move to a property. Learn how to assess for sunlight, watch the seasons, and make planting selections based on what you observe in your first year. This talk will provide tips for homeowners as well as renters.

Jana Milbocker Bio

Jana Milbocker is a garden designer, speaker, and author. She combines horticulture, design, and travel tips to educate, inspire and delight both new and seasoned gardeners. Jana loves to visit gardens and historic sites in the U.S. and abroad, and share her trips through her books, photos and blog. She is the author of three garden travel guides, the latest being The Garden Tourist’s Florida, and has lectured at flower shows, horticultural societies, garden clubs, and libraries throughout the Northeast. She is owner of Enchanted Gardens, a landscape design firm in the Boston area.

Jackson Madnick Bio

Jackson Madnick has given his presentation at major conferences across North America. His work has been commended by over 300 experts and organizations including two different White Houses (first Bush & Clinton), the United Nations, National League of Cities, Senator and Astronaut John Glenn Jr., by top NASA scientist, Dr. Christina Milesi & Bob Vila (this old house), etc. All ages of women and men find this short talk extremely interesting, useful and fun.

Presentation description

The Future of All-Natural Grass Technology (To Save Time, Money & Water)

A 30 to 45 minute power point presentation including lawn secrets and tips to better existing grass from latest university research. Covers all major grass issues to mow less and use less water and have organic grass to lessen weeds without resorting to chemicals. Have better looking grass during a drought, grow under trees, lessen mold, moss, deer, borough animals & have ever-green grass during extreme hot / cold weather to save time, money & water. Also tips to attract songbirds and butterflies to make the property be a more enjoyable destination.

Jeffrey Eleveld Bio

Jeff is a horticulture therapist currently working with over 70 communities and garden clubs across the tri-state area, while co-owning The Li’l Plant Shop in Plainville, CT with his wife Pat.

A graduate of The Suffield Vocational Agriculture high school, Jeff has continued passionately in his career of horticulture. He brings a vast knowledge of plants and interior plant design & pairing. A true plant person with a lifetime of plant knowledge to guide you on your plant journey; the size of his personal plant collection exceeds accurate count.

A practitioner of the ancient art of bonsai for over 40 years with a collection of over 100 personally cultivated bonsai arrangements. Jeff is a perfect teacher for those who wish to learn this long loved meditative art.

Jeff is a recently published author; with his first book. “How to Kill A Houseplant”

Jen Plasky Bio

Jen Plasky is the Container Garden & Seasonal Decor Program Manager at Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses LLC, serving clients in the greater NYC area. She is a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) and a graduate of the University of Connecticut, with a BS in Horticulture and MA in Education. Her 25 years of experience working in florists, greenhouses, garden centers, and landscape companies has instilled a passion for creating stunning horticultural accents.

Presentation Schedule

Perfect Performing Planters

From selecting the strongest performing species to tips on how to arrange plants for the best visual impact, join Jen Plasky as she shares how container gardens can be utilized to highlight the best each season has to offer.

Len Giddix Bio

With a 20 plus year career in commercial horticulture and host of Garden Talk on WTIC-AM for almost as long.

Mary Jo Maffei bio

Mary Jo is a Garden and Landscape Design Consultant and gives talk on garden design including, pollinator and bird friendly gardens. She has presented at Highfield Hall and Garden on Cape Cod along with numerous libraries and garden clubs. Mary Jo has been gardening since she was a teenager, but started gardening seriously and studying garden design 30+ years ago. She is passionate about beautiful and functional garden design and loves helping others create their own beautiful outdoor space!

Presentation description

Garden Design 101
This presentation takes concepts from architecture, interior design, and garden design, and shows you how to incorporate these principles into your green-space.

Topics include: assessment and function, enclosure and third dimension, texture and shade. It will focus on some of the major elements of garden design and help people understand how to view their green-space, landscape, rhythm and repeat planting, timing and massing, color, and maintenance. During the presentation, you will learn how to incorporate plants to attract pollinators, birds and wildlife. This presentation shows you how adding an element to your garden, such as a fence, can vastly enhance the garden’s beauty and focuses on gardening as a process rather than as a product.

Mike McGrath Bio

Mike is the host of You Bet Your Garden, a long-running fiercely organic Public Radio show and podcast filled with horticultural hijinks and the occasional bit of useful advice. He was Editor-in-Chief of ORGANIC GARDENING magazine from 1990 through 1997, during which time he won four consecutive ‘Best in Show’ awards for major displays at the Philadelphia Flower Show; and was the regular gardening guest on the Saturday morning edition of the Today Show on NBC. He has been gardening and composting since 1980.

Nancy DuBrule Clemente Bio

Nancy DuBrule-Clemente is FOUNDER of Natureworks. She started the business in 1983 with a goal of providing organic gardening services to the community and sold her business to a group of her employees in 2021. She continues to work with Natureworks writing the weekly email, working occasionally at the garden center, and doing a limited amount of garden design and supervising garden installations for existing clients. The retail store on RT 22 in Northford is a destination for gardeners in the state of CT with a focus on supporting pollinators, creating healthy habitats, encouraging native plants, and supplying unusual plants to serious gardeners. Nancy graduated from the Rackliffe Hicks School of Agriculture in the 70’s. She has written two books and give talks throughout the state on a wide range of subjects. Nancy is a total garden geek and a passionate organic gardener.

Choosing Native Plants with Nancy

What exactly defines a native plant? Are varieties okay? Does everything have to be grown from seed? Do natives have to be only native to your state? If you are planting for The Homegrown National Park and Pollinator Pathway movement, you may be a bit confused about what you should plant. Nancy will break it down for you and share with you, in order of bloom, her favorite natives and their ecological functions in the landscape.

Dr. Nick Goltz Bio

Nick Goltz was recently hired to direct the UConn Plant Diagnostic Lab. Dr. Goltz moved to Connecticut shortly after graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Plant Medicine ( In addition to the plant health experience gained through his degree, Dr. Goltz prepared for this position by working at the UF Plant Diagnostic Center since 2019, and by working at state and federal regulatory laboratories since 2016, performing research to develop biological control options for the management of Megacopta cribrariaAchatina fulica, and Solenopsis invicta. Dr. Goltz has a passion for plant health and integrated pest management and is deeply excited to work with growers and homeowners to find holistic and comprehensive solutions for any plant problem they may be dealing with. He welcomes samples to the lab and notes that additional information and sample submission instructions may be found at

Pamm Cooper Bio

Pamm Cooper works at the University of Connecticut Home and Garden Education Center office as a public service gardening specialist and horticultural consultant answering questions on gardening, lawns, native and non-native plants and insects and wildlife issues. She also teaches entomology and turf for the University of Connecticut Master Gardener Program. She has teamed with Jane Seymour from the Ct. DEEP doing programs on using native and non-native plants in the residential landscape to support native pollinators, butterflies and wildlife. She is also an avid nature photographer. She has also worked for Dr. David Wagner collecting and rearing caterpillars for property bio-surveys on DEEP properties.

Robert Townsend Bio

Robert Townsend began his career began 25 years ago with his own landscaping business. Always on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities, in 1991 Rob built his first pond. So satisfying was the planning and execution of this project, his mind was made up to enter a new phase of landscaping design. He began his search for information on Pond Ecosystems.

Steven Walowski Bio

Steve Walowski is co-owner of Hillside Landscaping and HLC Organic. He founded the company in 1984 upon graduating from Delaware Valley University, with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture. For over three decades Steve and co-owner John Wilcox have been creating award winning, custom landscapes for the people of Connecticut. After years of experimentation with methods and products of organic lawn care on their own lawns, Steve launched HLC Organic, a company dedicated to creating and maintaining beautiful lawns in Connecticut using safe, science based, and chemical free strategies.

Sylvia Nichols Bio

Sylvia Nichols is a true flower lover, professionally accredited designer, national floral educator, sought after speaker, floral business owner for almost 30 years, and sometime gardener (with a lot of help), Sylvia confesses that she never sold a flower! Her clients will attest that she simply used beautiful flowers to speak for them in times of unbearable sadness, and overwhelming joy and celebration.

Presentation description

Have you ever wondered what flowers would say if they. could speak?

Sylvia Nichols and Angela Pontecorvo will take you on a journey of engaging  stories and humorous adventures as told by flowers, friends and photography in their new book Tulips talk … are you listening?

Whether you are a seasoned gardener, a floral designer or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, this program offers profound insights into love, resilience, joy and personal connection.

WARNING! – You may experience the following side effects:
– An immediate impact to your attitude
– A special memory of a person or event
– A happy heart and big smiles!

Tom Christopher Bio

If he’s not planting or pruning, Tom Christopher is probably in the WESU FM radio studio, working on his weekly program, “Growing Greener.”  Each week, Tom brings listeners an interview with one of the leading voices of gardening with nature – the goal is to make your landscape healthier, more beautiful, more sustainable, and more fun.

Tom is also the author of 15 books about gardening, and he publishes a syndicated weekly gardening column that appears in newspapers throughout central New England and upstate New York. His most recent book, the award winning Garden Revolution, shares tips for bringing the landscape into harmony with the local ecosystem, banishing weeds, and promoting natives while encouraging the garden to plant itself.

Outside the garden, Tom’s interests extend to stone wall building, hunting with his Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Bridie and making vintage hard cider every fall from heirloom apples with his wife Suzanne.  A long-time resident of Middletown, CT, he’s an enthusiastic follower of that city’s bustling restaurant scene.