Seminars & Demos 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.


Educational Seminars





Demonstrations, Seminar Speakers & Topics


Check out some great on-site demonstrations from our great exhibitors, including…

  • Bonsai Society of Greater Hartford throughout the weekend in their exhibit
  • Bob Buettner floral arranging demos from within his exhibit several times a day.  Stop by to be a lucky recipient of the arrangements he creates.  Check back for exact demonstration times closer to showtime!
    • Daily at 11a & 2p
    • Plus Saturday at 5p

Saturday – 11a

Carol Quish is a horticulturist at the UConn Home and Garden Education Center. She provides plant disease diagnosis and insect identification, and answers plant and pest questions via a toll free phone line, email, and in person. Carol has a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Turfgrass Management from UConn. She holds certifications in Advanced Master Gardener, Master Composter, and a CT Nursery and Landscape Association Professional.

Saturday – 11a & 3:30p

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.

Optimizing Color in the New England Garden
Thursday – 4:30p

The Devil is in the Details: Common Mistakes in Garden Design & How to Correct Them
Sunday – 2p

Christopher Tuccio is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Horticulture & Landscape Design degrees at the Naugatuck Valley Community College. He is a graduate of Harvard University with a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture in Urban Design, specializing in the cultural landscapes of China & Japan. He also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University. Professor Tuccio has worked as a landscape designer for Sasaki Associates in Watertown, MA and Balmori Associates in New York City. He has previously served on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Connecticut Chapter and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the CT Horticulture Society. In 2016, he was awarded the CT Board of Regents System-Wide Award for Scholarly Excellence.  He currently practices as a professional landscape designer and is manager of, an educational resource for landscape design professionals.

Thursday – 12:30p

Christine Darnell owns Christine Darnell Gardens, a landscape and garden design business based in Lyme. Her firm’s specialty is planting combinations that are rich in form and texture. The gardens she creates celebrate the beauty of nature, and a spirit of place. Her goal is to enhance the immediate landscape and the larger ecosystem. She is a frequent contributor for Connecticut Gardener Magazine.

Epic Tomatoes from Your Garden
Thursday – 12:3op
Friday – 2p

What we grew & grow 1850 to today – Snapshots of Gardening in the US
Thursday – 4:30p
Friday – 11a

Through the years, I’ve been known as NC Tomatoman. Some know me as the fellow who named Cherokee Purple in 1990. To others, I am the author of the books Epic Tomatoes or Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales, the co-host of Tomatopalooza, a co-leader of the Dwarf Tomato Breeding Project, or just the odd person with a garden where the driveway used to be. I am the tomato nut with a website, a blog, a newsletter (on occasion), and a huge tomato and pepper and eggplant collection. Really, all I am is Craig LeHoullier – someone that heirloom tomatoes chose to help participate in their continued relevance. Welcome to my web home – look around, stay awhile and come back often.

Building Better Garden Beds
Thursday – 11a

A Pruning Primer
Sunday – 12:30p

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.

Saturday – 3:30p

Join Diane St John as she explains the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Learn how you can attract and raise them right in your own yard by using organic gardening techniques and planting the specific plants they (and so many other pollinators) love.


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.

Composting & Soil Health
Sunday – 11a

Herbs & Kitchen Gardens
Sunday – 2p

As a Master Gardener and Garden Lecturer, I speak to groups large and small about Composting, Rain Gardening, and various other subjects centered around Organic and Sustainable Gardening and Native Plants.

My Garden Coaching focuses on helping home gardeners bring their landscape to life in their vision of Beautiful. Through all my Gardening work I teach people how to bring their lives more in line with the natural rhythms of the Earth.

Thursday – 11a

Landscaping with Natives
Thursday – 3:30p

Gail Reynolds is a Middlesex County UConn Master Gardener coordinator, retired from a long career in Information Technology. She holds bachelors and masters degrees in Biology and Forest Science from Yale University and five Information Security professional certifications.  Her interests include native plant gardening, land conservation, and technology.

Container Gardening Unlimited
Saturday – 11a

Unraveling the Mysteries of Pruning
Saturday – 2p

George Trecina’s horticultural experience came from Racker Florists, Meriden, Evergreen Nursery, Southington, Bell Nurseries, North Haven, Gledhill Nursery, West Hartford, Sunny Border Nurseries, Kensington and Vinny’s Home and Garden Showplace, Wallingford. His landscape design experience has been with The Landscape Planning Office, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Peter Cascio Nursery, West Hartford, Edward Cape, West Hartford, TMR Associates, East Hartford, Kasper Associates, Bridgeport, State of Connecticut Bureau of State Parks and Forests, Hartford and Comstock Ferre & Co., Wethersfield.

George Trecina has written articles on design topics for The Connecticut Gardener and The Meriden Record Journal. He has served as a landscape judge at The Hartford Flower and Garden Show, instructor of landscape design at Middlesex Community Technical College and has presented numerous talks to garden clubs and other organizations. For many years, George has hosted garden tours at the Land Design Gardens at his home in Meriden.

Continuous Color in Containers
Friday – 11a

Plant Parenthood
Saturday – 3:30p

Jen Plasky is a Container Specialist at Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, LLC, Floriculture Instructor at Orange County Community College – SUNY Orange and Studied 2003 BS Horticulture at UConn

Five spring floral designs with emphasis on mechanics, textures & color
Friday – 2p

Larry is a member of the Garden Club of Orange, CT Judges Council, and Creative Arrangers of CT. He is the recipient of numerous top awards for his creative designs and proud recipient of The Federated Garden Clubs of CT Tribute Award for design. He has exhibited at the Florence Griswold Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum and New Britain Museum of Modern Art. Larry also instructs at Beyond Beginnings Workshop and has embarked on lecture/demonstrations where he enjoys showcasing floral work and speaking.

All through his childhood, Larry loved nature. He deeply enjoyed flowers and flower gardening. As a child he would look at flowers, grasses, leaves, and mosses, and think of ways to create something from them. He always loved to emulate the local florists, making floral designs or just fun things that seemed attractive. Even though his professional background is in the food service industry, preparing confectionary masterpieces, designing ice, butter, and tallow carvings or orchestrating social events for clients, creativity was always the drawing factor. Larry’s innate talent for crafting things also led to floral design freelancing of weddings and other social events and even to funeral pieces.

Larry’s hobbies include creative floral design, watercolor painting, crafting, and sewing. His husband, Mark Shiley and fur baby, Trevor, provide support.  Mark offers critical comments and advice.

Sunday – 11a

Connecticut is home to many beautiful and unique gardens. Fifteen historic sites dotted throughout the state have joined to form Connecticut’s Historic Gardens. These delightful places offer visitors an opportunity to explore a variety of garden styles and time periods. Laurie Masciandaro, of founding member Roseland Cottage, introduces you to the history and beauty of these fifteen distinctive historic sites and gardens that have charmed and inspired visitors for a century or more.

Thursday – 4:30p
Friday – 12:30p
Sunday – 2p

With a 20 plus year career in commercial horticulture and host of Garden Talk on WTIC-AM for almost as long, Len will give you a sneak peak into what new and exciting introductions await you in your local garden center this Spring.

Vegetables Contained
Friday – 11a

Success with Hydrangeas
Friday – 3:30p

As a professional horticulturist, Lorraine lectures, creates social media content, and has her writing and photographs published regularly in Connecticut Gardener, Edible Nutmeg, and other horticultural publications. She is an instructor at the New York Botanical Garden and in the Connecticut Master Gardener Program as well as for the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut.

Lorraine has spoken on numerous gardening radio programs and podcasts from Alaska to Connecticut. She speaks at regional symposiums, flower shows, to civic groups and garden clubs, creating talks that are both instructive and highly entertaining on a broad range of subjects which are tailored to each audience.

In her role as an Advanced Master Gardener, Lorraine works with a sizable team of gardeners of all levels in a 3000 square foot organic fruit and vegetable garden in Fairfield County, CT. From April through October each year, they grow and annually donate over 800 pounds of produce to homeless shelters and food banks, train master gardener interns and assist the gardening public on a weekly basis.

Besides tending the Connecticut garden which Lorraine and her husband have created (including many plants under trial conditions), Lorraine’s organic home garden includes seasonal vegetables, her beloved hydrangeas and all manner of ornamentals, which have informed her writing, lectures, and radio guest spots. Their garden is not only a laboratory but has been the subject of magazine articles and has been on several garden tours.

Lorraine’s latest book is the best selling Success with Hydrangeas: A Gardener’s Guide. Her previous book is Successful Self Watering Containers: Converting Your Favorite Container to a Self-Waterer. You can learn more about Lorraine on her website, where you can also sign up for her hydrangea blog.

Old Friends, New Loves
Friday – 4:30p

For nearly 40 years, Nancy has been designing, installing, and maintaining gardens in CT. Learn about the “oldie but goodie” plant variety that she continues to use year after year and why they are still good. Then, explore some of the newest cultivars that she has tested in her own gardens that have proven reliable, useful, and excellent additions to her backyard.

The Bookends of the Season
Saturday – 12:30p

Gardeners crave all the color they can get in late February, March, and April. Our native pollinators also appreciate every flower they can find at that time of year. Fast forward to the last few months of fall and the same holds true. As our gardens start to die down, gardeners crave late season color as well as flowers for picking. And the late season pollinators appreciate this too. That is what Nancy calls “the bookends of the season”. Expand your gardening pleasure by planning for these two important times of the year.

About Nancy

Nancy DuBrule-Clemente is the owner of Natureworks Horticultural Services, an organic garden center, landscape design, consultation, installation and maintenance service in Northford, Ct. Started in 1983, the Natureworks crews and retail store have sold and used only organic fertilizers and pest control products since the business began. Education is the primary focus of Natureworks. Emails, handouts, website, social media posts and web videos, articles for local newspapers and magazines, talks to groups and radio interviews all combine to spread the word about organic and sustainable practices.

Nancy graduated from the Ratcliffe Hicks School of the University of Connecticut with a degree in Floriculture. She is the coauthor (with Marny Smith) of A Country Garden for your Backyard, published by Rodale Press in 1995. She is the author of Succession of Bloom in the Perennial Garden, self published in 2004. Nancy is also a former board member and past president of NOFA/CT and is currently on the board of the CT. Nurserymen’s Foundation.

Saturday – 12:30p & 4:30p

Owen McLaughlin is a landscape architect with a Masters Degree in such from Clemson University.  With 10 years of experience in meadow design and installation, Owen has also traveled to many of the world’s great wildflower sites to draw inspiration for designed mixes.  Frequently dismayed by the lack of well-designed and poorly comprised wildflower mixes (in many cases not even containing seeds but bits of cardboard), he began making his own mixes that mimicked some of the great wildflower sites of the world, and exaggerated the best features of such for residential and commercial clients. His mixes and installs are meant not only to bloom over an extended period for pollinators and perform exceptionally, but also by keeping architectural structure in specimen grasses and flowering herbaceous perennials. Most importantly, these mixes are all perennial and meant to return year after year. Located in Trumbull, Connecticut, Owen teaches full time the subjects of Landscape Design, Ecology, and Plant Science and frequently drags his wife Coleen in pursuit of the newest species, wildflower site, farmer’s market or installation job that he frequently performs in the greater New England area.  They have four sons, the oldest two who at the ages of 8 and 6 can already identify most perennial species!

*This talk will be a tell-all highlighting the need for meadows and grasslands in a state dominated by gentrified forests.  Topics to be covered are: The world’s great wildflower sites, their natural rythym and structure, wildflower meadow species, which ones do well, structure and order of species within the design, how install, common pitfalls, and maintenance.

Friday – 12:30p

Pamm Cooper works at the UConn Home and Garden Education Center office and was an assistant superintendent at a golf course for over 20 years. She also teaches the entomology and turf portions of the Connecticut Master Gardener Program. She worked for Dr. David Wagner (evolutionary biologist at UConn who specializes in Lepidoptera), collecting and raising caterpillars for a bio-survey of the Tankerhoosen DEEP property and the Belding Wildlife Management Area in Vernon, Ct.

She has also documented flora and fauna in various areas of Connecticut since 1995. Interests include native plants and insects in the natural and garden environments, birding, nature photography, woodworking and art, especially pen and ink drawing.

Thursday – 3:30p
Friday – 4:30p
Saturday – 2p
Sunday – 12:30p

Pat is a dynamic and engaging speaker who debunks the biggest myths about soil. Pat, who served 3 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, has a deep background working in environment, public health, and computer science. He brings soil to life with captivating stories, insights, useful tips, and interactive audience participation. Pat and his brother, Dan, specialize in teaching the world about and building markets for biochar through Kalanso, the company they co-founded.

Saturday – 4:30p

Peter Picone is an experienced Wildlife Biologist (Certified Wildlife Biologist ) with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration/technical assistance/ state and private lands habitat management. Skilled in Natural Resource Management, Invasive Species Management, Habitat Restoration/Enhancement, Environmental Education/Public Awareness, Wildlife Conservation/Management Issues, as a wildilfe professional with a Bachelor of Science – BS focused in Renewable natural resources (wildlife/natural resources management) from University of Connecticut.

Mr. Picone and his family are working (spare time) on projects implementing ecological restoration/habitat enhancement practices at Charter Oak Tree Farm in Connecticut.

10 Keys to Container Gardening in Short Seasons
Thursday – 2p

Milkweed, Monarchs & 5 Easy Ways to Attract Pollinators
Friday – 3:30p

Ginger, Peanuts, Rice & Sesame: Easy & Unusual Plants to Grow in CT
Saturday – 12:30p

A life-long seed saver and native of the western New York Finger Lakes, Petra Page-Mann has traveled the world studying sustainable agriculture. She has saved countless seeds of organic, regionally adapted vegetables, herbs and flowers to make organic gardening easier and more successful in the Northeast. If she’s not in her garden she’s likely hunting mushrooms, singing or sharing a meal with someone she loves.

Thursday – 12:30p
Friday – 3:30p
Saturday – 4:30p
Sunday – 11a

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.

Thursday – 11a & 2p

Sandra is a long standing member of the New York Botanical Garden, English Speaking Union, Irish Georgian Society, Royal Oak Society, British National Trust, National Trust for Historic Preservation, American Horticultural Society, Royal Horticultural Society, and the Garden Conservancy to name just a few. These are organizations that promote and protect historic houses and gardens and inspire all from around the world.

A native Californian from the Bay Area the rose has a special niche on her agenda. Its romantic nature, its random disorder and intoxicating fragrance were not missed as a child alone in her family’s gardens.

With an artists eye she will share her educated knowledge, her experience and travels with an understanding that regardless to formal or country a rose can be enjoyed in our Connecticut gardens.

Thursday – 3:30p
Friday – 12:30p
Saturday – 2p
Sunday – 12:30p

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.

Friday – 2p

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.

Thursday – 2p

Following her mother’s interest in flowers, Trish Manfredi took flower arranging as a 4-H club member in Maryland, giving flower arranging demonstrations as a teen-ager. That began a life-long interest in floral design. Today, Trish is an National Garden Club Accredited Flower Show Judge and chair of the Connecticut Judges Council, after serving as design chair for five years. She received the CT Federation of Garden Clubs Tribute Award for Design in 2012, and has been chair of judges for the CT State Flower Show for four years. Her designs have been published in NGC’s Vision of Beauty Calendar 2013 & 2014.

She received the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Fine Arts and Flowers, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, and has won the Table Artistry Award three times at the Connecticut State Flower Show. She has been an invited designer at Fine Arts and Flowers for the New Britain Museum of American Art and the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme for Blooms with a View.

In 2015, Trish was an invited designer for floral challenges at the Springfield, Massachusetts Quadrangle Museums, and at Wadsworth Atheneum as part of Fine Arts and Flowers events in 2015 and 2016.

She demonstrates flower arranging and judges flower shows throughout New England and NY State. She is a member of Country Gardeners of Glastonbury Garden Club and Creative Arrangers of Connecticut.

Trish retired from Cooperative Extension at the University of Massachusetts, and then worked at UConn until recently. She holds a doctorate in Educational Research. Along with her husband, she fosters cats for Siamese Cat Rescue and they also own Domestic Cow Antiques and Events.

Thursday’s Presentation Schedule

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Thursday TimeSpeakerTopicLocation
11aDawn PettinelliBuilding Better Garden BedsRoom 11
11aSandra VisnapuuRomantic Disorder of the RoseRoom 12
11aGail ReynoldsVermiCompostingRoom 13
12:30pRob TownsendWater Garden BasicsRoom 11
12:30pCraig LeHoullierEpic Tomatoes from Your GardenRoom 12
12:30pChristine DarnellGarden Design for Changing ClimatesRoom 13
2pTrish ManfrediImpromptu – Quick Creative Floral DesignsRoom 11
2pSandra VisnapuuRomantic Disorder of the RoseRoom 12
2pPetra Page-Mann10 Tips for Container Gardening in Short SeasonsRoom 13
3:30pPat White Benefits of BioChar SoilRoom 11
3:30pSteve Walowski Organics 101 - An Approach to Lawn CareRoom 12
3:30pGail ReynoldsLandscaping With NativesRoom 13
4:30pLen GiddixNew Varieties of Nursery Stock & Perennials available for Spring 2020Room 11
4:30pChris TuccioOptimizing Color in the New England GardenRoom 12
4:30pCraig LeHoullierWhat we grew & grow 1850 to today - Snapshots of Gardening in the USRoom 13

Friday’s Presentation Schedule

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Friday TimeSpeakerTopicLocation
11aJen PlaskyContinuous Color in ContainersRoom 11
11aLorraine Ballato Vegetables ContainedRoom 12
11aCraig LeHoullierWhat we grew & grow 1850 to today - Snapshots of Gardening in the USRoom 13
12:30pPamm CooperGardening to Support Native Pollinators and ButterfliesRoom 11
12:30pSteve WalowskiOrganics 101- An Organic Approach To Lawn CareRoom 12
12:30pLen GiddixNew Varieties of Nursery Stock & Perennials available for Spring 2020Room 13
2pLarry HuziFive spring designs with emphasis on mechanics, textures and colorRoom 11
2pTom ChristopherGrowing Greener & EasierRoom 12
2pCraig LeHoullierEpic Tomatoes from Your GardenRoom 13
3:30pRob TownsendWater Garden BasicsRoom 11
3:30pLorraine Ballato Success with HydrangeasRoom 12
3:30pPetra Page-MannMilkweed, Monarchs & 5 Easy Ways to Attract Pollinators Room 13
4:30pPat WhiteBenefits of BioChar SoilRoom 11
4:30pNancy DuBrule-ClementeOld Friends, New LovesRoom 12
4:30pRuth BennettRecent Iris species crosses suitable for CT climateRoom 13

Saturday’s Presentation Schedule

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Saturday TimeSpeakerTopicLocation
11aCarol Quish Garden Patrol for Pest Control: Scout, Identify & ControlRoom 11
11aCharlie NardozziGrow a Pollinator GardenRoom 12
11aGeorge TrecinaContainer Gardening UnlimitedRoom 13
12:30pOwen McLaughlinWild FlowersRoom 11
12:30pNancy DuBrule-ClementeThe Bookends of the SeasonRoom 12
12:30pPetra Page-MannGinger, Peanuts, Rice & Sesame: Easy & Unusual Plants to Grown in ConnecticutRoom 13
2pPat WhiteBenefits of BioChar SoilRoom 11
2pSteve WalowskiOrganics 101 ~ An Approach to Lawn CareRoom 12
2pGeorge TrecinaUnraveling the Mysteries of PruningRoom 13
3:30pJen Plasky Plant ParenthoodRoom 11
3:30pCharlie NardozziGrow a Pollinator GardenRoom 12
3:30pDiane St. JohnEvery Yard Matters - How to Create a Healthy Monarch Butterfly Habitat at HomeRoom 13
4:30pRob TownsendWater Garden BasicsRoom 11
4:30pPeter PiconeWays to Create & Enhance Wildlife Habitat for Songbirds & Beneficial InsectsRoom 12
4:30pOwen McLaughlinWild FlowersRoom 13

Sunday’s Presentation Schedule

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Sunday TimeSpeakerSunday TimeLocation
11aRob TownsendWater Garden BasicsRoom 11
11aDonna KatsuranisComposting & Soil HealthRoom 12
11aLaurie MasciandraroConnecticut's Historic GardensRoom 13
12:30pDawn PetinelliA Pruning PrimerRoom 11
12:30pSteve WalowskiOrganics 101 ~ An Organic Approach to Lawn CareRoom 12
12:30pPat WhiteBenefits of BioChar Soil Room 13
2pChris TuccioThe Devil is in the Details: Common Mistakes in Garden Design & How to Correct ThemRoom 11
2pDonna KatsuranisHerbs & Kitchen GardensRoom 12
2pLen GiddixNew Varieties of Nursery Stock & Perennials available for Spring 2020Room 13