Conference Speakers & Bios

Erin Alladin
Erin is an author, editor, and presenter who spent her twenties teaching sustainable gardening to urbanites at Garden@Kimbourne Community Permaculture Project in Toronto. When she moved back to her home turf of Northern Ontario in 2020, the itch to teach remained, so she began the blog Earth Undaunted, which takes the big ideas behind regenerative agriculture and makes them accessible to gardeners on a home scale—including gardeners who are disabled or chronically ill. When Erin started a TikTok account to promote the blog, she fell in love with video content and now posts joyfully to 61,000 followers.

Heather Andrews

Heather Andrews is a published author, photographer, videoblogger and speaker who routinely works with homeowners and businesses to create high yield gardens with native pollinator habitats. She combines her background in research to enable gardeners to attract pollinators to grow more food sustainability.

Louise Clarke
Louise is co-principal of Verdant Earth Educators, a green industry consulting and education firm. Formerly a senior horticulturist at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, she is a certified arborist holding certification from the International Society of Arboriculture. Louise currently teaches Botany and Garden Appreciation courses at the Barnes Arboretum School of Horticulture of St. Joseph’s University, as well as workshops and lectures for Longwood Gardens, Mt. Cuba Center, Tyler Arboretum, and other venues. Louise is a graduate of Temple University’s College of Environmental Design and has international gardening experience as a guest gardener for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Landscape in Windsor, UK.

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C.L. Fornari
C.L. Fornari writes, speaks, and broadcasts about plants and gardening. Her goal is to keep people excited about plants and gardening, while using Nature as their prime gardening coach. For several years she has taught classes on Cannabis at her local IGC and to community and garden clubs.

Galen Gates
Galen Gates has been instrumental in designing, establishing, and maintaining the Chicago Botanic Garden’s 27 world-class display gardens, and four extensive natural areas. He also led the effort to environmentally improve the 81 acre, nine-island lake system within 385 acres over 30 years. During his tenure at CBG, he grew the living collections to include representatives from 95% of the world’s 200 countries and increased individual plant species from 4,000 to nearly 10,000 with individual plants growing from 500,000 to 2.5M.

Matthew Ingram
Attorney by Day. Afternoon and Weekend Gardening Warrior. Matthew is a YouTube and Social Media Creator for The Southerner's Northern Garden. Born and raised in Alabama, he moved north to Ohio in 2016 and fell in love with the garden and green industry. Matthew uses his social media channels to fulfill his desire to learn, teach, and share with other gardeners - new and old.

Lucy Mercer

Lucy is a writer and content creator living near Atlanta, Georgia. She is the Gardening Expert and Content Strategist for the nation’s largest home improvement retailer. Her qualifications include serving her community as a certified Master Gardener (extension volunteer) and gardening on 10 mostly wooded acres outside of Atlanta. She created a food blog in 2009, A Cook and Her Books, and that’s where you’ll find her on the socials, sharing stories about good gardening and good food.

Susan Mulvihill
Susan Mulvihill is a longtime garden educator and coach. She was the Sunday garden columnist for the (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review newspaper for almost 20 years and has been a Master Gardener for 22 years. She is the author of The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook and The Vegetable Garden Problem Solver Handbook, and co-author of The Northwest Gardener's Handbook. In 2014, she started creating videos for her YouTube channel, Susan's in the Garden. She now has over 500 videos. Her website is and she posts daily on her Facebook and Instagram feeds

Valerie Smith

Valerie is a Clemson University graduate with a Master's in Professional Communication, Valerie manages all website content and traffic for Sod Solutions and Lawnifi. Her interests include artificial intelligence, SEO, analytics in GA4 and Google Search Console, and UX, showcasing her diverse expertise in digital communication. She enjoys gardening, running, reading, and playing guitar in her free time and she has two cats.

Lorraine Johnson
Lorraine has been writing books about native plant gardening in the U.S. and Canada for 30 years. She is the author of more than 10 books on topics such as native plant gardening, urban agriculture, composting, and environmental issues. Her most recent book is A Northern

Noelle Johnson
Noelle is an author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant. She received her degree in Botany from Arizona State University. Popularly known as the 'AZ Plant Lady,' she teaches desert dwellers how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful gardens that thrive in hot, dry climates. Noelle is the author of the AHS award-winning book, "Dry Climate Gardening," and her new book, "The Water-Smart Garden," will be released later this year. She is an instructor at both The Desert and Tucson Botanical Gardens and is a columnist for Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine.

Eva Monheim
Eva is a speaker, horticultural and environmental consultant, garden coach, and an award-winning educator. She is a faculty member at Longwood Gardens for the Professional Horticulture Program and Continuing Education Department. Monheim’s other endeavors include the award-winning The Plant a Trillion Trees Podcast which is heard in over 100 countries. She is the author of Shrubs & Hedges: Discover, Grow, and Care for the World’s Most Popular Plants, a member of GardenComm, and is a Certified Arborist®. Eva is co-principal of Verdant Earth Educators, LLC (VEE) a company that writes educational documents and standards, SOPs, landscape management plans, and trains professionals in the green industry.

Rick Vuyst
Rick is currently co-host of the Gardening Simplified Show, a radio show, podcast and YouTube show from Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs. Hosted by life-long gardeners Rick Vuyst and Stacey Hirvela, the Gardening Simplified show is designed to share our love of plants and gardening.  Whatever your skill or experience level, you’ll find something interesting, useful, and just plain fascinating in every episode. Rick was host of the award winning Flowerland show (Winner of 7 MAB awards for broadcasting excellence) on NewsRadio WOOD 1300 and 106.9 FM and nationally on iHeart radio from May 1, 1993 to June 4, 2022. 
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