Growing Resilience: Soil, Sustainability, Garden Health and Low Water Use

“Sustainability” is a vital concept, but what does it mean for home gardeners? It’s very simple: take care of the earth, and it will take care of you. We have some exceptional seminars that will help you get started on gardening for future climate change, for sustainably and less reliance on watering. It all starts with the soil.

If you make small changes to create a more resilient and sustainable garden, you will soon reap the benefits of spending less time and money, for a garden that is more rewarding—to you and the environment around you. It’s never too late to start.

The Seminars by Category are listed in chronological order. Please check the Seminar Schedule for a full list of ALL our seminars.

All seminars at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival are FREE with your ticket!

Buy Tickets Early and Save!

Good Fungi: Healthy Roots and Happy Plants

Robert Kourik— Author of Sustainable Food Gardens, Your Edible Landscape and Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All ClimatesAmazing beneficial fungi known as mycorrhizae interact with plant roots in nearly all soils, and most perennials, native trees vegetables, and shrubs need this mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship for superior growth. This seminar will explain the natural process known as “mycorrhizal association,” including where it happens, how to promote it, whether or not purchased inoculants are needed (and how to read those perplexing labels). This focus will be on the benefits of mycorrhizae on native plants, landscaping plants, and fruiting trees.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 11:00 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

GARDEN 101: Gardening for Resilience
Ecological Gardening from California to London and Saudi Arabia
Kate Frey—Award-winning garden designer and author of The Bee-Friendly Garden and Ground Rules

Gardening in Alaska’s Jensen-Olson Arboretum
Ginger Hudson—Director, Jensen-Olson Arboretum, landscape designer and master gardener

Saving Our Health, Communities, and Planet—One Garden at a Time
Emily Murphy—Author, GROW NOW and Grow What You Love and blogger, passthepistil.com

Gardening and farming adventures have taken designer and author Kate Frey to challenging and exciting projects, such as designing Chelsea Flower Show gardens, to Japan, Malaysia, and a Prince’s organic farm in Saudi Arabia. What themes and practices have informed these far-away gardens, and what lessons can we learn from them? Next, Ginger Hudson takes you on a fascinating journey to a most unusual environment for an arboretum, directly on a coast, not any ordinary coast—the world-famous Alaskan Inside Passage. Come learn which species of trees and woody plants survive the maritime climate extremes, potential opportunities for your gardens. Finally, author Emily Murphy gives you a guide to garden-based climate activism. Learn about biodiversity and rewilding; no-dig gardening and composting; growing fruits and vegetables; plants that attract bees and butterflies; and soil health and companion planting. Become a climate activist as you garden!

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 2:30 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

 

Sponsored by ColibriNW

 

Five Easy Elements for a Healthy Garden
Mary-Kate Mackey—Award-winning garden writer, speaker and co-author, The Healthy Garden: Simple Steps for a Greener World

A healthy garden is one where plants grow well without massive infusions of chemicals or major continual upkeep. Garden author Mary-Kate Mackey focuses on five steps you can take to boost your garden’s resilience and vigor, while supporting a wide diversity of wildlife. The bonus? Save money on harmful chemicals, do Less work and have more time for enjoyment of your outdoor space—whether you’re caring for a collection of containers or acres of beds and borders.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 5:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Reconnect with Nature: Rewild Your Garden!
Jessi Bloom—Award-winning owner, NW Bloom, author Creating Sanctuary and co-author, Practical Permaculture Design

Our gardens balance between our domestication of the land and it wanting to be wild, making our role as stewards important to create compassionate harmony with flora and fauna and find benefits for ourselves. Learn how to rewild your garden and edit the space to make it more natural, wildlife friendly, and easier to care for. With the uncertainty of climate change, unpredictable weather is making this shift this more important than ever. Jessi will cover step-by-step instructions as well as the best plants to use in the Pacific Northwest for the rewilding of your garden.

Wednesday, Feb 9 at 6:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Gardening for Resilience: Responding to Current and Future Threats
Sarah Eberle—2022 Show Judge and acclaimed Chelsea Flower Show designer

These past few years the climate has become more unpredictable. Some areas in the Northwest reached record-breaking temperatures in the summer of 2021, burning plants beyond repair with scalding sunshine. Winters are getting colder and harsher. What can a gardener do to ensure that their garden is adapted to the ever-changing climate? British garden and landscape designer Sarah Eberle reviews key steps to take to prepare for a garden that was once happily suitable for the climate, and now suffers from weather events that are unpredictable.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 11:30 am / Rainier Room

Sarah Eberle's appearance sponsored by the
Northwest Horticultural Society

Ground Rules: Lessons for Growing a More Glorious Garden
Kate Frey—Award-winning garden designer and author of The Bee-Friendly Garden and Ground Rules

Some of us seem to be born with an interest in gardening, others come to it later in life. Whether you are experienced or a novice, there is much to learn in order to create and maintain a successful garden. Ground Rules contains 100 essential “rules” for you to discover and use, such as healthy soil, the best ways to water, and garden care and maintenance. Taken as a whole, these ground rules offer a system of best practices and design considerations that address every aspect of gardening.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

You’re Stuck with the Soil You’ve Got—Now Deal With It!
Dr. Linda Chalker-ScottWSU Horticulture Professor and author, How Plants Work and The Informed Gardener

Linda Chalker-Scott gives you all the best dirt on garden soil. She will address the most common problem seen in residential landscapes: poor water movement. She’ll demonstrate how mulches and amendments can either improve or worsen drainage. What happens when you use gravel or foam peanuts in the bottom of pots? Does water move best through landscape fabric, newspaper, cardboard, or wood chips? You’ll see the evidence for yourself! This seminar will save you and your plants heartbreak by better understanding the science of healthy soil.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 1:30 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

In Focus: Good Gardens Need Good Photographs
Saxon Holt—Award-winning photojournalist and co-author, Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates and Good Garden Photography

As our gardens become increasingly naturalistic our definition of beauty is evolving to consider wildness and all the creatures that use gardens. These gardens are hard to photograph and too often come off as disheveled. If we expect to promote a new aesthetic in a social media world all gardeners need good photos. Learn from garden photographer Saxon Holt and his award-winning e-book Good Garden Photography how any camera sees beauty.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 2:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

How to Make Compost Tea: It’s Not Rocket Science
Diane Miessler—Certified Permaculture Designer, compost goddess and author, Grow Your Soil

In this seminar, Diane will discuss of the Soil Food Web and why you love it, give a quick tutorial on making compost, and demonstrate how to make compost tea. All attendees will leave with a basic knowledge of the soil food web—what it comprises and what it does; information that will enable them to make healthy, wormy compost; and knowledge of how to make easy compost tea with simple, readily-available equipment. At the end of the seminar there will be a drawing and some lucky attendee will leave with a compost tea kit!

Thursday, Feb 10 at 3:15 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Support Biodiversity with No-dig, Regenerative Gardening
Emily Murphy—Author, GROW NOW and Grow What You Love and blogger, passthepistil.com

In this seminar author Emily Murphy provides a framework for supporting biodiversity from the ground up—beginning at home in your garden. According to a 2019 U.N. report, 1 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction in the coming decades—it’s an unprecedented number! However, your home garden, community plots, or cityscape has the power to support biodiversity and at-risk species such as pollinators, birds, insects, and rare plant life—particularly when you grow with no-dig, regenerative techniques.

Thursday, Feb 10 at 6:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates
Saxon Holt—Award-winning photojournalist and co-author, Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates and Good Garden Photography

The presentation by garden photographer Saxon Holt will derive from the new book Gardening in Summer-Dry Climates, (Timber Press, 2021) and focus on expanding our climate conversation to include the entire Pacific Coast as summer-dry, since all of it cannot be considered Mediterranean. The book is primarily a plant guide and will focus on creating healthy ecotone gardens using specific plants in NW gardens that are climate tolerant, as opposed to drought tolerant.

Friday, Feb 11 at 10:00 am / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Drip Irrigation for a Lush Landscape
Robert Kourik— Author of Sustainable Food Gardens, Your Edible Landscape and Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates

Drip irrigation is the most effective way to grow superior plants, but to non-plumbers, putting in a drip system with all those little-bitty parts may seem utterly intimidating. This seminar will demonstrate how easy it is to piece together an efficient layout, detailing the parts needed to filter and regulate water; what types of tubing to use; how to lay out the tubing for maximum effectiveness; and how to make your finished system invisibly attractive.

Friday, Feb 11 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

How to Make Compost Tea: It’s Not Rocket Science
Diane Miessler—Certified Permaculture Designer, compost goddess and author, Grow Your Soil

In this seminar, Diane will discuss of the Soil Food Web and why you love it, give a quick tutorial on making compost, and demonstrate how to make compost tea. All attendees will leave with a basic knowledge of the soil food web—what it comprises and what it does; information that will enable them to make healthy, wormy compost; and knowledge of how to make easy compost tea with simple, readily-available equipment. At the end of the seminar there will be a drawing and some lucky attendee will leave with a compost tea kit!

Friday, Feb 11 at 1:30 pm / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

The Complete Guide to No-Dig Gardening
Charlie Nardozzi—Regional Emmy award-winning radio, TV host and author, Gardening Complete, Foodscaping and No-Dig Gardening

Many vegetable and flower gardeners are looking for new ways to garden without harming the ecosystem and soil. Traditional annual gardening usually involves tilling, digging and turning the soil yearly. However, that destroys much of the soil life you are trying to enhance. No-Dig Gardening offers a new way by mimicking natural systems and building healthy soil with less work, less weeds and less need for watering and fertilizing. Discover ways to set up, plant, maintain, and overwinter no-dig beds. You (and your back) will be glad you did!

Friday, Feb 11 at 2:00 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Best Plants for Mediterranean Climates
David Deardorff—Award-winning co-author, What’s Wrong With My Houseplant? and Saving Nature: One Yard At A Time

Our Mediterranean climate has a cool/wet season in winter, and a warm/dry season in summer. All five of the Mediterranean climates of the world have enough rain or snow in winter to support a rich variety of plant species but every summer is a long period of drought. Select the best plants for your location (use your zip code to determine your USDA Zone) and choose native and/or exotic species that thrive with little water in summer.

Friday, Feb 11 at 6:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

Trees and a Warming Climate: Strategies for Management and Adaptation
Allen Taylor—Board Certified Master Arborist, founder and lead arborist, Conservation Tree Care

The science behind and effects of climate change are undeniable. The value and benefits of trees in the face of climate change is also undeniable. Allen will discuss strategies for managing existing trees, everything from soil improvements to pruning and pathogen management. He will also review strategies for adapting to a warmer climate such as assisted migration (planting trees from warmer regions). You will leave with a better understanding of the impact climate change will have on their trees and gardens as well as better strategies for adapting to it.

Friday, Feb 11 at 6:30 pm / Hood Room

Great Plant Picks: Plants for a Better Planet
Richie Steffen—Executive Director, Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden and co-author, Plant Lover’s Guide to Ferns

Looking for tough plants or great native plants for the garden? Or maybe something to attract pollinators? Learn about top performing native, drought tolerant and pollinator attracting plant choices that thrive in our Pacific Northwest climate. Gardening can be an act of climate activism when you incorporate plants that live in harmony with your climate and water availability and provide beneficial food and water for wildlife and pollinators. These are plants that are both beautiful and beneficial to the planet.

Saturday at 9:30 am / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

The Ins and Outs of Irrigation: Choosing A Watering System for You
Jeff Gordon—Owner, Daisy Rain Garden Systems and inventor of Sprinkler Pot

The key to a successful garden is consistent, adequate watering. Come learn the difference between surface, sprinkler, and drip irrigation and determine the best approach to keeping your plants healthy and thriving. You will learn about water-saving techniques, ideal materials, installing and maintaining irrigation systems, and much more. Special focus will be given to different types of drip irrigation and strategies to set gardens up with drip irrigation that is both effective and durable, saving you water—and money.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 10:00 am / DIY Stage

Soul Survival: The Health, Physical and Mental Benefits of Gardening
Heather Andrews— YouTube video blogger, Garden Thoughtfully, and garden educator

Heather Andrews retreated to her garden to escape the mental fatigue and fear of the pandemic. She will present the science of the mental and physical health benefits of gardening, as well as the actionable steps you can take to create a private oasis of your own. The story to be shared will be one of triumph over fear—Heather’s front line healthcare worker husband was not initially provided PPD. Her garden and tiny forest thus became a space of refuge, and Heather worked to remove exotic invasive plants to cope with stress and fear, as mother nature “recovered” and rewarded her with a carpet of spring ephemerals that filled the space.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 11:30 am / Rainier Room

Five Steps Toward a More Drought Resilient Garden
Christina Pfeiffer—Horticulture consultant and educator, ISA certified arborist and co-author, Pacific Northwest Gardening Month-by-Month

With warmer growing seasons becoming more the norm in the Pacific Northwest, tactics to conserve water while preserving vegetation is becoming even more essential. Moving past the basics of planting drought tolerant gardens, this talk will explain how different gardening practices can influence drought resiliency of all types of gardens. Learn how making some simple adjustments to a variety of garden tasks throughout the year can help build a more drought resilient garden.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 1:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

GARDEN 101: What’s Bugging Your Garden?
Top Five Garden Pests: Aphids and Weevils and Snails, Oh My! 
Sharon J. Collman—Award-winning Emeritus Professor, WSU Extension Educator in Horticulture and IPM

Attract More Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden
Susan Mulvihill—Author, Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook, co-author, Northwest Gardener’s Handbook and garden columnist for Spokesman Review

Bugs: The Hidden World in the Garden
Ciscoe Morris—Award-winning radio, TV host, columnist and best-selling author, Ask Ciscoe and Oh La La!

Bugs. Insects. Pests. Weevils…they just sound evil, don’t they? Every garden gets its share of insects, but many are beneficial! Discover what’s bugging your garden and what you can do about it without resorting to harmful chemicals. Sharon Collman talks about the top 5 garden pests and helps you to learn “who’s who” so you do not unwittingly kill off the natural allies that are eating your pesty bugs. Susan Mulvihill takes it a step further so you can discover how to attract even more beneficial insects to your garden by eliminating pesticide use, creating habitat for them, interplanting flowers and herbs within your vegetables, and building your own insect hotel to welcome these amazing creatures. Finally, Ciscoe Morris takes you to the hidden world of these fascinating creatures and how to use the beneficial guys to help prevent the troublemakers from inflicting serious harm to your plants.

Saturday, Feb 12 at 2:30 pm / Rainier Room

 

Sponsored by ColibriNW

 

Fertilizers: The Good, The Bad, And the Completely Unnecessary
Dr. Linda Chalker-ScottWSU Horticulture Professor and author, How Plants Work and The Informed Gardener

There are so many different fertilizers out there: granular, slow-release, or liquid, not to mention synthetic and organic. What works and what doesn’t? This session will present the science (or lack thereof) behind many popular fertilizer recommendations. After debunking these myths, you will learn a new approach that combines soil test results with science-based recommendations for providing the necessary nutrients and avoiding those that are already at toxic levels.

Sunday, Feb 13 at 4:00 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow