2018 Speakers

All speakers are arranged by the Peterborough and Area Master Gardeners.

Speaker Schedule

Saturday, April 14

10:30am Dianne & Gary Westlake “What are Lawns Good for–Let’s Stop the Madness”

12:00noon  Jillian Bishop “Urban Gardening and Seed Saving”

1:15pm Ken Brown “Vertical Vegetables”

2:30pm Dan Cooper “Gardening from a Hammock”

Sunday, April 15

10:30am Kathryn Pimmett “Heritage Plants and Gardens”

12:00noon Garry Edwards “Tales from a Victorian Garden”

1:15pm Sean James “Working with Nature”

2:30pm Gladys Fowler “Square Foot Gardening”


We are excited to announce our…

Confirmed Speakers

Jillian Bishop  | Ken Brown | Dan Cooper

Garry Edwards | Gladys Fowler | Sean James

Kathryn Pimmett | Dianne & Gary Westlake 


JILLIAN BISHOP:  “Urban Gardening & Seed Saving” 


Jillian Bishop is a long-term urban seed saver. She is a Community Food Cultivator with the Nourish project where she helps support communities in coming together to start, and grow community gardens. She operates “urban tomato”, a local heirloom seed business, and organizes her local Seedy Sunday and Community Seed Library.

She believes there are many benefits to growing your own food, and saving seeds in urban settings.  After growing seeds on borrowed land for over a decade, she now happily grows and saves seeds on her urban farm in Peterborough, Ontario.


KEN BROWN: “Vertical Vegetables”


Ken Brown is a horticultural consultant, writer and photographer.  He received his bachelor’s degree in horticulture from the University of Guelph.  Ken worked as the Superintendent of Horticulture at the Toronto Zoo when it was being planned and built.  He owned and operated “The Plant Manager” an interior landscaping company for 20 years where he built and maintained a wide variety of public and private interior gardens. He also has a horticulture teaching degree from the University of Toronto and has taught a variety of related courses. Ken is a certified horticultural judge and he is a frequent speaker at horticultural meetings and seminars.

Ken’s writing and photography continue to be  published in several magazines and newspapers. His web page is a great source of advice, tips and updates.  His own gardens feature his Iris collection and a wide range of plants that he is trialing.  In a space of their own and interspersed throughout all his gardens, Ken grows a comprehensive list of vegetables in some innovative ways to maximize the use of space.

He currently spends most of his non-gardening hours writing for his web site, www.gardening-enjoyed.com and ezine Dallying In The Dirt.

DAN COOPER: “Gardening from a Hammock, A guide to low-maintenance gardening”


“Discover new easy-care stars of the plant world, learn how to create colour all season long, and get tips on how to reduce the chores in your garden, make your plants flourish and find more time for the hammock.”  Dan Cooper has been a Master Gardener for 20 years and is the co-author of Gardening from a Hammock, a book on low-maintenance gardening that features the gardens and advice of 17 well-known garden experts, landscapers and designers.

Dan is a landscape designer who specializes in shade gardens and organic gardening. He is the owner of Green Gardens and Tours, a company that provides garden design, advice and tours to exotic gardens. An avid world traveller, Dan is a published travel writer and photographer who has visited, written about and photographed gardens in North and South America, Southeast Asia, Australasia, China and India. You can join Dan on guided tours to exotic gardens in South Africa, Ecuador, China, Singapore and Italy in 2014 and 2015. Dan is a member of the Garden Writers Association and his articles have appeared in a number national and international newspapers, magazines and travel brochures.

His travel blog can be seen at www.moissecooper.blogspot.com

GARRY EDWARDS: “Tales from a Victorian Kitchen Garden” 

thumbnail_Garry Edwards (2)Gary Edwards has now been in horticulture for 36 years, operating his own nursery in Devon, England and for the last 16 years in Canada — running his landscaping business and nursery with his wife, Julie. In 2014 they relocated to Meadow View Nursery where they undertake the contract growing of Perennials and Grasses for a large Ontario nursery while also producing their own vegetable plants and 95% of all other plant material needed for the gardens. In 2015 they began the planting of Meadow View Gardens, having spent a lifetime dreaming about it. They are developing a re-creation of an English Country style Estate Garden including a 1/2 acre enclosed Victorian Kitchen Garden, large Ornamental Pond with 15ft waterfall and gazebo, Rock Garden,  1 ½ acre English Cottage Garden, Sunken Italian Garden, Formal Cedar Walk, Meconopsis and Primula Woodland, with more features to follow. Meadow View Gardens is a long term project but Garry and Julie  are both happy and proud that they have managed to achieved so much in such a short period of time.


GLADYS FOWLER: “Square Foot Gardening”

gladys fowlerGladys grew up in Lakefield where her father had a small market garden.  Her father composted back in the 50’s and was a good steward of the land.  Gladys has always had ornamental gardens. She joined the Peterborough Horticultural Society, and sat on the board for several years working on developing the guidelines for the Scholarship Committee as well as on plant sales. When she retired from teaching she took the Master Gardener program through the University of Guelph. After listening to a speaker in Omemee talk about Square Foot Gardening, then reading the “All New Square Foot Garden” by Mel Bartholomew, she decided to try it and was delighted with the result.

SEAN JAMES: “Working with Nature”


Named by GardenMaking magazine as one of “20 Making a Difference”, gardening has been Sean James’ 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.


KATHRYN PIMMETT: “Heritage Plants and Gardens”kathrynpimmett

I’m a farm girl who grew up liking to garden. Graduated from the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture in 1984. I spent two years working as the gardener at the Old Mill Restaurant in Toronto before moving back home and working for a couple of local garden centres.  I started my own landscape maintenance business which I still operate.  Other loves include my three daughters, milking cows and running my border collie Quinn through agility courses.


Dianne and Gary WestlakeDIANNE & GARY WESTLAKE: “What are Lawns Good For–Let’s Stop the Madness”

After retirement, Gary met and married Dianne and they moved to Peterborough. Together, they look after an acre of property on a hill overlooking the city. They joined the Master Gardeners and continue to share their passion for gardening while improving their own skills and knowledge. For a couple of years Gary was a Director on the board of Master Gardeners of Ontario. Dianne is a past Coordinator for the Peterborough and Area Master Gardeners and Dianne and Gary are past Editors of the Master Gardeners of Ontario Newsletter. Both are past presidents of Horticultural Societies and Dianne is presently the Director of Ontario Horticultural Association District 4.