Part horticulturist, part extreme gardener, I inform, engage, and make it FUN!
Download a one-page summary of my gardening talks, or read below for detailed descriptions.
Gardening Talks Offered
Here are the gardening talks that I currently offer. Suitable for green and black thumbs:
No Guff Vegetable Gardening
I follow the no-guff approach of my best-selling book No Guff Vegetable Gardening, sharing my favourite vegetable crops, talking about easy-to-grow crops for the busy gardener, exploring lesser-known vegetable crops, and giving great ideas for growing vegetables in small spaces. Leave this talk with an understanding of how to make vegetable gardening simple, fun, and practical. No Guff!
Edibles in Urban Landscapes
The days of veggiephobia are over. Have a visually stunning garden and eat it too. Front yard or back, incorporate edibles into your existing garden beds if you don't have space for a stand-alone vegetable garden. If you have thought of a front yard veggie garden but weren’t sure how to start, or want to find out how to mix in a few tomato plants with your perennials, this talk is for you. If you’ve ever wanted to grow edibles, but need inspiration, this talk is for you.
Grow Veg in Containers and Small Spaces
You don’t need an acreage to grow lots of your own veg—and this inspiring talk will give you lots of ideas about how to maximize production from a small space. Get ideas for unique containers, find out about vertical gardening, see how easy it is to grow a rooftop garden, and get practical pointers about plant care. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s really possible to harvest lots from a small space, this talk is for you.
Crops that Wow
When veggie gardening space is limited, why grow the green beans you can easily buy at the store? Instead, paint the supper table with a surprising array of coloured veg including red okra, purple beans, yellow carrots, rainbow chard, and golden beets. Then add an exotic touch with crops such as cardoon or Malabar spinach—treats that are hard to find at the supermarket. If you want veg that's a bit different, this talk is for you.
Grow Gardeners: Kid-tested Gardening
Get kids gardening! Got a fussy eater? Kids often eat the vegetables they grow. And parents of little gardeners get to spend more time to spend in their gardens. If you want to get kids gardening but don’t know how to start—or if you want new ideas—this talk is for you. My daughter Emma, who co-authored a Grow-Gardeners. Kid-Tested Gardening with Children with me, often accompanies me for this talk.
Grow Figs Where You Think You Can't
So you didn’t think you could grow figs in a northern climate? You can. And you don’t need a greenhouse to do it. Fig trees are forgiving plants that take a lot of abuse. I'm a fig-pig who grows fig trees in Toronto. If you want the simple truth about growing a crop of figs at home—and want to know how to propagate your own fig trees—this talk is for you.
No-Fuss Backyard Fruit
Don’t have time to nurture fussy fruit trees? You can still grow your own fruit. Become self-sufficient in fruit that you can use for preserves, pies, and juice—all without the fuss that many tree fruits demand. This talk focuses on easy-to-grow crops including currants, gooseberries, elderberries, serviceberries, haskaps, and Nanking cherries. If you’ve ever wondered if you could replace store-bought juice with your own, this talk is for you.
Brugmansia: Intemperate Tropical Charmer
If I could grow only one flower, I would choose Brugmansia, a tropical plant with fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers that can be as long as a wine bottle. This tropical beauty never fails to elicit cooing from visitors. Also known as Angel’s Trumpet, it’s equally at home as a garden centrepiece, container-bound patio sentry, or in the flower border. In this talk, learn how to grow and overwinter tropical Brugmansia in our temperate climate.
Grow Lemons Where You Think You Can't
Yes, with a little bit of know-how you can successfully grow lemons and many other types of citrus in a northern climate. The smell of lemon blossoms is a heavenly addition to any patio or deck. If you've ever wanted to make marmalade from your own lemons, or wrap a kebab in a lemon leaf while it cooks on the BBQ, this talk is for you.
Real Gardening Experience
I speak from the heart when it comes to gardening. I'm a life-long gardener and have gardened wherever I have lived—with allotment gardens, container gardens, indoor gardens, and gardens hewn from overgrown backyards of rented houses.
Along with an agricultural science degree, my work experience spans plant propagation, greenhouses, biological controls, nursery and conservatory plants, and horticultural supplies.
As a horticulturist, life-long gardener, and journalist, I have a knack for taking the barrage of gardening information that’s out there and translating it into practical, no-nonsense advice.
Gardening Talks that Connect
I believes a good talk is more than slides with bullet points and pictures: It brings together good content with engaging delivery. It must be FUN too.
I enjoy bringing out the energy in larger groups, and equally enjoy the intimacy that smaller groups allow.