The Garden Bloggers Conference is thrilled to have the following experts contributing to the development of the conference. The Advisory Board will provide input on the content of the conference program, speaker selection, and special events during the conference.

BGtwitBren Haas started her writing career in 2008 as she created her website  as a way to share her hidden garden located in the heartland. Even though her kids are now teenagers she remains busy raising them and adding landscaped gardens filled with veggies, herbs, shrubs and perennials to their 16 acre Ohio property. In 2009 Bren started growing year-round using her 10’x12’ home greenhouse and recently started raising fish with her husband in the structure as well. Be sure to check out #gardenchat ( network if you would like to connect with other garden enthusiasts Where Bren is the administrator of this huge Twitter based network.

Jan_Bills-150x150Jan Bills owns and operates Two Women and a Hoe®, a boutique indoor/outdoor sustainable landscape design, installation, and landscape management company in Michigan.

In 2006, she developed her business plan and strategy to exit corporate America to start her business. In 2008, she replaced her corporate high heels with Wellies and never looked back! Today she is living her dream and mixing business with pleasure!

In 2012, Jan launched a new business venture in her off-season, Social Media Millionaire Makers. Her passion for social media affords her the opportunity to consult and train small business owners, bloggers, and non-profit organizations. She also developed an e-Course entitled, ‘Numbers Don’t Lie’. With over 225,000+ Fans on her business Facebook page and a robust social media presence, she is anxious to share her strategies with others.

Jan holds a Masters of Art in Organizational Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management. She is an Advanced Master Gardener and Certified Landscape Designer. She is also a contributing writer for State-by-State Michigan Gardening.

Susan_CohanSusan Cohan, APLD is well-known in the landscape and design communities for both her design work and for her writing about design. She is the principal of Susan Cohan Gardens which specializes in residential design projects as well as a co-founder and editor of Leaf magazine.

Attention to detail, sustainable practices and fine craftsmanship are hallmarks of Cohan’s landscape design work. Artisanal stonework, handmade details, furnishings and plants chosen specifically for each project combine to address each property’s unique challenges. No two finished landscapes are ever the same. Each step along the way is carefully communicated to her clients in a way that enables them to visualize how her design will become their own unified and very personal garden setting.

Susan left a successful career in the fashion industry and founded Susan Cohan Gardens in 2003 after earning a certificate in Garden Design from the English Gardening School at the Chelsea Physic Gardens in London. Her residential landscapes for private clients and concept gardens are frequently published and have won numerous awards.

Her popular design blog, Miss Rumphius’ Rules has been widely read since 2007. Susan has served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers since 2009 and will be its president in 2014. She is an in demand speaker about design and creativity and travels frequently to speak to around the country. Susan is also a web contributor to ThinkingardensDesigners on Design, and Leaflets as well as being a founding member of Garden Designers Roundtable.

TARA DILLARD 165Tara Dillard is a nationally recognized garden designer, author, and speaker who has hosted her own television program, The Better Gardening Show, on CBS. After earning degrees in engineering and horticulture, she began designing and installing low-maintenance organic landscapes with an emphasis on the balance between home, garden, and life. An award-winning author of 5 books, including Garden Paths and Stepping Stones, Beautiful by Design, and The Garden View, Tara also writes a newspaper column, magazine articles and maintains a popular blog on her website. Based in Atlanta, GA, she lectures nationally, spreading the message that creating a beautiful landscape will create a beautiful life.

Gardens begin inside your home on axis with key views.  Interior style and colors + exterior architecture are seamlessly combined, with historic templates, to create a vanishing threshold.  Online design,, with a contracting dream team locally. Gardens are a moat of grace around our life & home.

adam_japko-new_266Adam Japko, fell in love with wine 25 years ago growing up in New York City and has been collecting and promoting wine as a lifestyle component ever since. Since getting his journalism degree from NYU in 1979, he has made his career as a magazine executive and is currently president of a group of luxury media brands at Network Communications, Inc., where he has been helping his company reshape traditional media models in a fast-changing world of free quality content and social media. He regularly writes about wine at his blog Adam Japko’s WineZag.

kathy_johnson_photo252Kathy Gatten Johnson, Marketing Director, Georgia UAC.  With degrees in both graphic design and horticulture, Kathy Johnson lives at the intersection of art and science. As Marketing Director for the Georgia Urban Ag Council, she finds creative ways to deliver information to both UAC’s members and their customers, most recently launching a consumer blog showcasing UAC-member content: The natural sciences also find their way into Kathy’s personal art and design projects. She writes about the creative process on her blog at

mmattus2-200Matt Mattus (his blog is Growing with Plants) is an internationally known plantsman, author, visual designer and trend consultant. An odd mix for a popular blogger, but it’s a combination which definitely earns him cred amongst his many peers. Matt seems to be intimate with each, minute facet of horticulture, from mastering hard-to-grow vegetables in the home garden, to showing people how to source and grow rarest South African bulbs – even from seed. Few plants are not addressed under his tutelage: cacti, gesneriads, rare trees and shrubs, alpine plants – even weeds are all subjects he deep-dives, bringing us along for the amazing ride.

It’s true, many know Matt more through his day job, as a creative director in numerous high – concept group at Hasbro, ( right – Transformers the Movie, to My Little Pony – the animated series, he touches many brands). One would imagine that he has very little free time to do anything by play, but the truth is, every moment outside of the studio is dedicated to some sort of growing with plants, be it exploration, travel or just documenting his adventures with plants on his blog. Somehow the recipe works, and he is able to cross-pollinate many of his talents into beautiful and extraordinary visual and learning experiences.

Gardening isn’t a new hobby for Matt, it’s in his blood. Truly a life-long plantsman, Matt keeps his many collections in his 100+ year old family home and garden, ( both his parents and grandparents were plant collectors), as well as in a new glass greenhouse – both his laboratory and museum. His popular blog GROWING WITH PLANTS also leaves few horticultural subjects behind. Matt’ unique style of casual prose, thoughtful photography and attractive design elevates what could be challenging content, into more inspiring, and digestible bites. It appears that Matt’s special recipe is educating a new audience to grow plants in a way which is both practical, and stylish. Hipsters beware, he’s the real thing!

Matt travels and collects plants across the world, documenting his expeditions and travles from Switzerland to Japan, and Nepal to Patagonia. He is a popular speaker at specialist plant societies and at many of the worlds leading botanic gardens where he shares his journeys and adventures. Part scientist, part curator and part adventurer, Matt is able to speak to a broad audience, from new and curious gardeners who might be looking for experienced direction which isn’t too far over-their-heads, to the expert gardener, who is searching for more authentic and relevant advice.

Matt is an active member in many plant societies, he currently sits on the board of the North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS), and is editor emeratis of the American Primula Society Journal, and is a frequent speaker at specialist plant societies and botanical gardens. He is author of the book BEYOND TREND, How to Innovate in an Over-Designed World (HOWmedia).

Elizabeth_Montgomery-399Elizabeth Montgomery believes that you can bring yourself closer to nature and feel good when you personalize your surroundings. She developed Boxhill ( her online shop) to create your ideal outdoor experience no matter the size, shape or location of your outdoor space. Her shop makes it easy for you to select products and services for your garden, patio, balcony, veranda, deck, courtyard, entry way, window sill, sanctuary, shrine, porch, play area, or outdoor kitchen (or whatever you may have). Explore each of the six departments in Shop Boxhill. Splash! Grow! Dine! Wear! Art! Lounge! Glow!

Elizabeth shares her 15 years experience as a landscape designer bringing you fresh, fun, and original products and services and looks for quality, beauty, and functionality. As an added service, she created to introduce you to great design, latest trends, and expert advice that will inspire you on a weekly basis and help you carefully define your style and make selections from Shop Boxhill.Read the stories. Create your vision. Fill your senses. And live outside.

Dee-Nash-photoDee Nash is a freelance writer, speaker and garden coach, born and raised in Oklahoma. She lives with her husband, children, three dogs, a cat and twenty chickens on 7.5 acres between the Great American Prairie and the beginning of the deciduous forest. She gardens approximately an acre and grows vegetables, roses, daylilies, natives and other favorite perennials. She is a frequent contributor of writing and photography to Oklahoma Gardener magazine. She’s also written for Organic Gardening, Fine Gardening, flower magazine, The Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Horticultural Society’s Horticulture Horizons, and The Daylily Journal, along with the Garden Writers Association Quill & Trowel and Lowe’s Corporation under their Lowe’s ‘Creative Ideas Team’ blog. She also writes for Fiskars Corporation and Proven Winners Plants. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism–Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma with an emphasis in Botany, and she’s a member of the Garden Writers Association, the Oklahoma Horticultural Society and Great Garden Speakers.

Follow Dee online at:

Nash Garden


Elizabeth Ralls is the Editor in Chief of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, one of the South’s leading interior design magazines and the city’s only monthly home and gardening publication. A journalist who has covered the shelter industry for a decade, Ralls has learned how to decorate, entertain and garden on the job thanks to previous stints at Southern Accents, The Atlantan, Atlanta magazine and Atlanta Weddings. Well-versed in print, digital and social platforms, Ralls’s work has also appeared in Southbound, Flower,, and She lives with her husband, two young boys and German shorthaired pointer in West Midtown.
Jennifer-Prins-155pixJennifer Prins, Publisher,  Atlanta Home Improvement MagazineAs such, she is involved in several location associations, including the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) – Atlanta where she also sits on the Board, the Urban Agricultural Association (UAC), the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the Consult-A-Home-Pro association. Jennifer has been with the magazine for almost 12 years.

Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine is a local, monthly publication and website that serves to educate home owners about home related projects such as remodeling, interior design and landscaping, as well as to offer home owners local resources. It is distributed to over 1,500 locations throughout Atlanta. In the last 4 years, the publication expanded services to include content marketing and full-service website development for the local businesses in the home improvement industry. AHIM is owned by Network Commuinications, Inc.

Ellen Wells _148x133Ellen Wells, Associate Editor of Leaf Magazine, and Editor-at-Large, Green Profit. Ellen has  master’s degree from Cornell University. But writing is her real talent and calling, and so she applies her knowledge of green industry with her love of storytelling into the perfect retail communications package. A city girl, Ellen lives in downtown Boston where she can vigorously root for her beloved Red Sox. It’s also a convenient location for her to cover the active northeastern horticulture industry. That’s why her weekly news and commentary e-mail. BuZZ!, will often include references to both.
Green Profit is the only magazine that focuses on the commonalities that bind all facets of retail. In sharing the industry’s best ideas, we bring nearly 40 years of combined editorial experience to our readers, covering plants, flowers and the people who buy them. And because “live goods sell hard goods” our editorial will always take a look at the products and supplies available to retailers.

Editor-at-Large Ellen Wells brings a wealth of experience writing about garden centers and growing operations, as well as a passion for sharing ideas and inspiring retail creativity. Her enthusiasm is evident and you will certainly see her around—at trade shows, conferences, retail tours and maybe even in your garden center.

mary-kay-woodworth_365Mary Kay Woodworth is the Executive Director of the Georgia Urban Agriculture Council (UAC), where she advocates for the industry regarding business, legislative and regulatory affairs. UAC is Georgia’s premier organization for all sectors of the urban agriculture industry, and promotes professionalism, adherence to industry standards and education and serves as a consumer and industry resource for residential and commercial clients.

With the increasingly important role of social media to attracting and retaining business, Woodworth and the Georgia Urban Ag Council actively promote the effectiveness of blogging to market the landscape and turf industry.  UAC members are adopting this method of “marketing” to increase their clientele and their bottom line.   UAC’s own blog is another avenue for their members to reach their target audience, and has been very effective!

Woodworth was previously Executive Director of MALTA, and guided the association through the merger with GTA and GSPA to become the UAC.  She is a DeKalb County Master Gardener, and prior to joining MALTA, Woodworth was the owner of Practically Gardening, a landscape consulting firm, and Coordinator of the DeKalb County Master Gardener Program for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service.  Woodworth has extensive management and leadership experience in both the not-for-profit and private sectors, and communications experience in print, radio and television.  Woodworth writes about landscape, turf, gardening, water management and other “dig-in-the-dirt” topics, and is thrilled to have UAC’s blog to publish her articles!