Our Speaker Line-Up Includes Renowned Plantsman, Garden Visionary and Writer, Top-Garden Bloggers and Best-Selling Authors, Award-Winning Journalists and Writers, and Social Media Experts from Both Inside and Outside the Garden and Landscape Community!
Steve Aitken is editor of Fine Gardening, a magazine devoted to making its readers better gardeners. He spends much of his time talking with and visiting horticulturists and avid gardeners around the country. The knowledge he gains from these activities not only helps the magazine, but also provides solutions to the everyday challenges he faces in his own garden. He has written articles for Fine Gardening on topics ranging from drip irrigation to building twig structures. When he isn’t editing, travelling, or appearing in videos for Fine Gardening, he practices his own form of gardening which mainly involves ignoring his existing plants in favor of the ones he just bought but has no place for.
Felicia Feaster, Editor-in-Chief, HGTV Gardens. Felicia has worked both ends of the art and culture beat from newsprint to glossy as a staff writer at Creative Loafing and as a senior editor at the Atlantan. She holds a master’s degree in film studies from Emory and was born in Jimmy Stewart’s home town of Indiana, Pennsylvania. A resident of the twenty-first-century Mayberry—College Park—Feaster was named one of “Atlanta’s 50 Most Creative People” by CommonCreativ magazine. Feaster is the winner of three Green Eyeshade Awards for Excellence in Journalism by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Amy Flurry is an editor and contributor to some of the biggest magazines on the newsstand (Lucky, Country Living, Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle, Better Homes & Gardens). Her book, Recipe for Press, has been called “the small business blueprint for DIY publicity,” packed with good, no-nonsense advice on how to get your story or product onto the pages of influential publications. Amy’s lectures and workshops serve to further educate entrepreneurs on how to refine their message, engage media and create relationships with editors and bloggers, including powerful examples from across industries and around the country, plus her own art company.
Amy co-founded Paper-Cut-Project, a company whose clients include Kate Spade, Christies, Hermès, Cartier, and the Victoria & Albert museum. Paper-Cut-Project’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Italian Vogue, Nylon and Marie Claire Taiwan. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband, Alan Flurry, and their two children.
Rochelle Greayer – Landscape Designer, Studio ‘g’ Chief and Founder, Super Mom Wannabe, Farmers’ Market Manageress, Editor & Co-Founder of Leaf Magazine. Rochelle admits she’s had a few careers. The Highlights (in no particular order):
- Mach 1.2 in the back seat of an F-14
- Launching Russia’s first commercial satellite
- Planting a giant Sequoia tree
Other Stuff: Love ‘Truck Songs’ – a super special mix tape heard only in her flare side Ford pick-up while on plant buying and flea market adventures. Still relishes the day she was mistaken for Gwyneth Paltrow. She know that there is nothing better than Colorado roots, Montana blood and a rancher’s sensibility. If it is in the plant kingdom and its chartreuse, or grassy, or both – she wants it. Can’t own enough pairs of Seven jeans. Thinks Rhinestone Cowboy and Grease were two of the best things about the 70s. Wears Sambas to garden and Hunters to work. Endless wanderlust will forever keep her in good supply of cocktail stories.
Past lives include stints as a Physicist Rocket Scientist, Pizza Maker, and Literary Agent Assistant.
Dan Hinkley, born in the zone 4 highlands of North Central Michigan, has had a lifelong interest in all types of plants from trees to edibles, leading him to receive his B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture and Horticulture Education from Michigan State University in 1976, and his M.S. in Urban Horticulture from the University of Washington in 1985.
In 1987, while teaching horticulture at Edmonds Community College north of Seattle, he and his partner, Robert L. Jones, began Heronswood Nursery, near Kingston, WA. Devoted to introducing rare and unusual plants to gardeners of North America, this endeavor has led Hinkley into the wilds of China, South and Central America, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Nepal, Vietnam, Taiwan, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tasmania and Canada numerous times a year for the past 22 years. Heronswood Nursery previously listed nearly 3000 plant species, and has shipped to 48 states as well as England, Europe and Asia. His sizable and productive potager at Heronswood has been widely published. When W.A.Burpee closed the garden and nursery in May of 2006, Dan independently focused his attentions on continued plant hunting, writing, speaking and plant research.
Dan has written for a number of periodicals, including Pacific Horticulture, The American Gardener, Garden Design, The Gardener, Horticulture Magazine, American Nurseryman, Gardens Illustrated, Martha Stewart Living, Fine Gardening and The English Garden, as well as having regular columns in Horticulture Magazine, and an occasional horticulture feature for the Seattle Times. He is a contributing editor to Horticulture Magazine and has appeared many times on Martha Stewart Living television as a gardening correspondent. On April 17, 2007 Dan appeared in a PBS NOVA program, The First Flower, exploring the flora of remote mountains of China.
His first book, Winter Ornamentals, was published in 1993 and his second, The Explorers Garden: Rare and Unusual Perennials, received the 1999 Book of the Year Award from the American Horticultural Society. His third book, released in May of 2009 and the second in a series of three, is titled The Explorers Garden: Shrubs and Vines from the Four Corners of the World for which he received the 2010 Book of the Year Award from the American Horticultural Society.
In 2003, Dan was honored with the Scott Arboretum Gold Medal from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania for his lifetime achievements in horticulture. He has been awarded the Marcel Le Piniac Award from the American Rock Garden Society, The Medal of Honor from the Garden Club of America, The Garden Communicator of the Year award from the American Nurserymen and Landscape Association, the White Gold Medal from the Greater Cleveland Horticultural Society, and in 2006, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award from the American Horticultural Society for a lifetime of achievement in education, writing and plant exploration. He received on June 21, 2007 and July 2, 2007 respectively, the George Robert White Medal of Honor from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for the advancement of interest in horticulture in the broadest sense; and from the Royal Horticulture Society of Great Britain, the Veitch Memorial Medal for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science and practice of horticulture. In March of 2008 Dan was appointed to memberships of the boards of both the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden Trust and the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden Endowment Trust. In 2010 Dan was presented the Perennial Plant Association Award of Merit for contributions to the advancement of the perennials plant industry through lectures, writing and plant exploration.
Dan Hinkley currently resides in Indianola, WA where he is in the process of realizing his latest endeavor, the Gardens of Windcliff. Among many and varied garden spaces the project includes a large greenhouse, raised beds, and a generous potager for research in edibles, all on a south-facing bluff overlooking Puget Sound; and is in the process of writing his third book for Timber Press in the Explorer’s Garden series, a second book on the Winter Garden this time for Timber Press, and a book for Farrar Strauss and Giroux on the Making of Heronswood.
Chris Heiler is the Founder and President of Landscape Leadership, an inbound marketing and PR agency for green industry clients ranging from landscape contractors and lawn care operators to garden centers, growers and manufacturers.
Chris speaks at green industry events across the country and writes for industry publications like Lawn & Landscape magazine and is also an active member of the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) as a “consultant member”. Chris lives in Austin, TX.
Robin Horton is the founder and publisher of Urban Gardens, a lifestyle and design blog that blends urban style, design, and nature.
Urban Gardens has received several awards, including the Garden Writers Association Gold and Silver Awards, and was nominated in 2010 for a Webby, hailed by the New York Times as “the Internet’s highest honor.” Mashable named Urban Gardens “One of the Top Ten Must-Follow Home and Garden Twitter Accounts.”
Since its launch in April 2009, Urban Gardens has developed an average monthly readership of 40-50,000, 3500+ email and RSS subscribers, and over 41,000 combined Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest followers. Robin, who has been called a “coolspotter,” was one of 14 international design bloggers invited to the 2012 London Design Festival for BlogTour by design resource, Modenus and sponsors. Robin contributes to Houzz, Sulia, and has been a featured curator for social commerce sites, Pickie and Luvocracy.
As co-facilitator of The Blog Workshops, Robin has presented blogging and social media workshops in New York City and CT, at the Mother Earth News Fair, The Entrepreneurial Women’s Network, and Women at Woodstock.
Adam 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.
In 2010, Adam launched Design Bloggers Conference, a blogging and social media event for interior designers, which has been a runaway success and now entering its fourth year.
Matt 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).
Daniel R. McCarthy is Partner at The McCarthy Group and the founder of DigitalSherpa. Previously, McCarthy
was partner at DeSilva & Phillips, a leading media investment bank, and prior to that he was Chairman and CEO of Gallarus Media Holdings and its subsidiary, Network Communications, Inc. At NCI, Dan oversaw one of the largest local marketing services companies in the U.S. In 2010, Dan spearheaded the launch of the innovative DigitalSherpa line of marketing services products, which currently provide social media marketing solutions to more than 1500 small and medium-sized businesses.
Over the course of his career, Dan has completed more than 50 transactions and financings, including the $380 million sale of NCI to Citicorp Venture Capital Group; the $120 million acquisition of NCI by ABRY Partners; the $300 million debt restructuring of NCI; the $200 million sale of Cowles Business Media; and dozens of strategic acquisitions and divestitures.
He was previously CEO of Themestream, a special-interest internet portal funded by Redpoint Ventures and Kleiner Perkins that was an early pioneer of user-generated content. Prior to Themestream, he was CEO of Primedia Enthusiast Media, one of the largest special-interest publishers in the U.S. He was also CEO of Cowles Business Media, a business-to-business information provider focused on the media and marketing industries.
Teresa O’Connor is an award-winning author, speaker and consultant about gardening, food and folklore. Trained as a master gardener in California and Idaho, her writing has been published in media including Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Coastal Home and National Home Gardening Club. Teresa is known by many as “Seasonal Wisdom” on social media, where she reaches 20,000 readers via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and her blog, SeasonalWisdom.com – which P. Allen Smith called one of “Ten Great Garden Blogs.” She co-authored the book “Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preserving and Preparing Fresh Foods” (Cool Springs Press; 2010). In her other life, Teresa is a communications consultant who has written for names like The Walt Disney Company, University of California Cooperative Extension and Swarovski Crystal.
Jennifer Prins, Publisher, Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine. As 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.
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, HGTV.com, Cultivate.com and MyHomeIdeas.com. She lives with her husband, two young boys and German shorthaired pointer in West Midtown.
Lynda Simonton is a Client Experience Manager at DigitalSherpa. In this role she is responsible for the satisfaction and program results of over 400 clients. Lynda specializes in creating content marketing and social media programs designed to increase website traffic, build customer engagement and drive sales.
Lynda began working at DigitalSherpa as it launched the DesignSherpa program targeted to design professionals. Lynda and her roles have continued to evolve along with the company. She now manages a team supporting a variety of small businesses from apartment communities to landscape architects. Prior to DigitalSherpa, Lynda worked in media planning at several Boston advertising agencies.
Lynda lives in small town outside of Boston where she loves to spend time walking her dogs with friends, watching her children on the playing fields and enjoying the spoils of her husband’s hard work in their organic garden.
Michelle Slatalla created the Gardenista site for Say Media in 2012 (happy first birthday, Gardenista!) and is its editor in chief. Previously she was a weekly columnist for the New York Times for 10 years; she is also a former lifestyle columnist for Time Magazine and was Real Simple’s monthly etiquette columnist. Although Gardenista is her first foray into Internet publishing, she is the co-author (with her husband) of the nonfiction computer hacker thriller Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace. She lives in Northern California.
Amy Stewart is the award-winning author of six books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including four New York Times bestsellers, The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential. She lives in Eureka, California, with her husband Scott Brown. They own an antiquarian bookstore called Eureka Books and tend a flock of unruly hens in their backyard.
Amy has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and many other newspapers and magazines. She is the co-founder of the popular blog GardenRant and is a contributing editor at Fine Gardening magazine.
Since her first book was published in 2001, Stewart has appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition and Fresh Air, she’s been profiled in the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and she’s been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, the PBS documentary The Botany of Desire, and–believe it or not– TLC’s Cake Boss.
Four of Amy’s previous books have been New York Times bestsellers. They have been translated into eight languages, and two of them–Wicked Plants and Wicked Bugs–have been adapted into national traveling exhibits that appear at botanical gardens and museums nationwide.
She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, the American Horticulture Society’s Book Award, and a California Horticultural Society Writer’s Award. In 2012, she was invited to be the first Tin House Writer-in-Residence, a partnership with Portland State University, where she taught in the MFA program.
Lauren Thomas is the Campaign Manager at DigitalSherpa, a firm that provides content and social media marketing for small-to-medium sized businesses. In that role, she develops and launches social media campaigns that empower her clients to engage online audiences, build brand awareness and generate leads. She has worked at global interactive marketing agencies and start-up social media marketing firms. Along the way, she has served a wide variety of clients ranging from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
Lauren also speaks about new media and marketing and has spoken at industry events including the Atlanta Food Blog Forum, Digital Atlanta and Social Media Club Atlanta. She served as a Curator and panel moderator for the inaugural Women Interactive Creative Film and Technology Festival hosted at Spelman University.
Lauren has a passion for connecting with people through social media, storytelling, and travel. She has traveled extensively and lived in five different countries, including Ecuador and Egypt. She uses social media to remain connected with friends and followers around the world.
Chris Vaughn in Director of Marketing for DigitalSherpa. Chris has served as Director of Marketing for DigitalSherpa since 2012. Chris directs and executes DigitalSherpa’s online marketing strategy, and is responsible for leading DigitalSherpa’s lead generation program and branding strategy. Chris drinks our company’s content marketing Kool Aid each day by providing content to help DigitalSherpa customers and prospects learn more about small business marketing. Before DigitalSherpa, Chris was the Managing Editor at Bluff Media LLC after graduating from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta in 2005 studying Marketing and Philosophy.