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Felder Rushing
Slow Gardening, Texas Style

Thursday 4/25/2019
09:15 am - 10:15 am

Felder is a 10th generation gardener, retired Mississippi Extension agent, humorist, storyteller, and horticulturalist all rolled into one. Known throughout the South for his NPR radio show “The Gestalt Gardner,” he also speaks to horticulturists throughout the United States, often traveling in his pickup which is easily recognized because there is a garden growing in its bed. With his zany observations, he encourages his listeners to relax and enjoy the gardening experience of growing and sharing. Felder observes that gardening is more than know how. It involves our senses and is a year-round activity. According to Felder, there are as many gardeners as there are reasons for gardening. The founder of the Mississippi Master Gardener program, he has written numerous articles in major gardening publications such as Southern Living and the New York Times. When he isn’t traveling, Felder lives in a small cottage in Mississippi.


Todd McClanahan
Bastrop State Park - "Then And Now" 
Accompanied by Jamie and Greg Creacy

Thursday 4/25/2019
10:45 am - 11:45 am

Todd has served as the Texas State Parks Region 3 director since 2012 and oversees 18 state parks in Central Texas. Todd was witness to the devastating Bastrop Complex Fire in 2011 and was on duty the day the fire started. The tragedy that ravaged Bastrop State Park was the most destructive fire in Texas history. Previous to his present position, Todd worked at the Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. He has held many positions in his career including that of park interpreter, park police officer, wildland firefighter, assistant park superintendent and park superintendent. Prior to joining the TPWD, Todd worked for the New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department. He holds a degree in wildlife biology from Texas State University. Todd will be joined by Jamie and Greg Creacy. Jamie is TPWD superintendent of the Lost Pines Complex and Greg is TPWD State Parks Natural Resources Director. They will share the story of the resiliency of Bastrop State Park, and the seven years of staff dedication toward the restoration of the Lost Pines region of Texas.

Chris Weisinger
Heirloom Bulbs for Today

Thursday 4/25/2019
01:30 pm - 02:30 PM

What started out as a college class project is now a lifelong pursuit for Chris Weisinger. Chris was a student at Texas A&M University when he became interested in rare and long forgotten bulb botanicals that thrive in the wild. With the encouragement of friends, in 2004 he founded The Southern Bulb Co. located two hours east of Dallas to raise and sell bulb plants no longer available at retail nurseries. At the same time, he continued to scavenge through abandoned rural home sites, cemeteries and construction sites; always on the lookout for bulb treasures. He has co-authored a book with renowned horticulturist Dr. William C. Welsh titled “The Bulb Hunter.” He has become a popular and entertaining motivational speaker about the joys of running a small business and collecting forgotten heirloom bulbs.  Weisinger’s contribution to horticulture has received attention in the New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, Texas Gardener and Southern Living.

Dr. Kevin Ong
Current State of Rose Rosette Disease in Texas and the Rest of the USA

Thursday 4/25/2019
03:00 pm - 04:00 pm 

Dr. Ong is the director of the Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Laboratory which provides plant disease diagnostic service to AgriLife Extension personnel, homeowners, farmers, green house and nursery producers, landscape contractors, interiorscapers, arborists, consultants and any other group or individual needing accurate identifications of plant disease problems. He also is professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M University. Currently Ong is focusing his efforts on rose rosette disease in Texas and the United States. This disease is a devastating issue in the North Texas area and  appears to be spreading southward. His aim is to make his audience aware of the research now being conducted and how the nature of these studies leads to new discoveries and perspectives.

Brie Arthur
Sizzling Succulents

Friday 4/26/2019
08:30 am - 09:30 am

 Known for her leadership with the suburban Foodscape movement and her work with public schools, Brie is a celebrated international speaker and author. Succulents are a favorite topic because these low maintenance, eye-catching plants have taken the world by storm. She will share growing and propagation advice about her favorite tender and hardy succulents, along with strategies to extend the life of your plants, in addition to creative plant combinations. One fan of her PBS television show “Growing a Greener World” dubbed her the rock star of horticulture speakers. A recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Emerging Horticultural Award, Brie studied landscape design and horticulture at Purdue University. She has worked as a grower and propagator for leading nurseries, and her passions center on sustainable land management and the value of gardening.

Dr. Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen
Wild Foods and Ancient Medicines-A Look at Early Uses of Native Plants

Friday 4/26/2019
10:00 am - 11:00 am

Dr. Vorderbruggen has worked much of his life in the oil industry studying the development of environmentally friendly replacements for oil field chemicals, but he has been a plant forager his entire life. His skills with nature’s grocery store started as a child by his mother’s side. He said that knowledge fed him during the poverty years spent getting a master’s degree in medicinal chemistry and a Ph.D in physical  organic chemistry. He spends his evenings and weekends guiding people back to nature’s bounty through his website, and through publications, radio and television. He also leads foraging classes at the Houston Arboretum, the Spring Creek Greenway Nature Center, and wherever else he finds audiences interested in nature’s edible and medicinal plants. Mark likes to tell the story of how early Texans fed themselves and kept healthy living off the land. According to Mark present-day Texans would do well to relearn “what a thousand generations ago knew before you-before it is too late.”

Christy Tinsley Ilfrey
Native Dave Landscape & Nursery
Landscaping and Living with Native Plants

Friday April 26, 2019
11:15 am - 12:15 pm

Christy may have been born in Tennessee but as a survivor of Hurricane Harvey she is a true Texas woman. She and her husband David are founders of NativeDave, Inc., a native plant landscaping business. Devastating winds and flooding forced them out their home. Since then they have lived in an RV with their 10-year-old daughter, Sage, and relocated NativeDave Landscape & Nursery to a neighboring property. None of this has prevented them from their mission of teaching sustainable landscaping. They created “NativeDave” in 2001 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, then relocated to Aransas Pass in 2012. Christy assists her husband in consulting and design, and they have received numerous awards for their work. Christy graduated with honors from Southwest Texas State University with a degree in English, and next year she intends to resume writing her book on “Landscaping and Living with Native Plants.”      



Jay White
Texas Wildflowers-Gateway to Native Texas Horticulture

Friday April 26, 2019
02:00 pm  - 03:00 pm

After 30 plus years of writing analytical applications for the Air Force, leading businesses and hospital systems, Jay is now able to pursue his true loves - organic gardening and horticultural education.  In 2014, Jay completed his master’s degree in horticulture from Texas A&M University at the young age of 51. He and his wife Sally purchased Suntex Communications Inc., which publishes Texas Gardener Magazine, in July of 2018.  A long-time contributor to the magazine, he is excited that he and his wife have been given the opportunity to continue Texas Gardener’s 38 year tradition of service to the gardeners of Texas.  When he’s not at work on the magazine, or growing edibles and ornamentals in Brenham, he is busy addressing gardening enthusiasts. Jay was a presenter at the 2018 Texas Master Gardener Association Conference where he discussed “Home Garden Statistics: Average Gardeners, Mean Vegetables and Distributed Benefits.” He is also an avid supporter of the Texas Master Gardener Association.

Our Mission

We are trained and knowledgeable volunteers committed to the education of the community while enriching the public and our members through proven gardening and environmental practices and activities.