2018 Fall Mini-Conference

2018 Fall Mini-Conference

MARS and the Nanaimo Rhododendron Society are pleased to offer a day of education and enjoyment with internationally recognized gardening experts. 

But you can still sign up for the waiting list below and you will be notified if a seat opens up.

Date:  October 28, 2018

Location:  Parksville Community and Conference Centre
132 Jensen Ave E, Parksville, BC V9P 2H2

Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM


10:00 – 10:10 AM Intro

10:10 – 11:10 AM

“Garden Myths – Facts or Fiction”:  Washington State University horticulture scientist Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified and ASCA consulting arborist.  She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. She is the award-winning author of five fascinating and fact-packed books on horticultural myth-busting, sustainable landscapes and gardens, and plant science, including an upcoming (2019) book on native plants of the Pacific Northwest.  Linda has also been featured in “The Science of Gardening”, a video series produced by The Great Courses, and she is one of the Garden Professors, a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages.

11:10 – 11:25 AM Break

11:25 AM – 12:25 PM

“Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Grow Better Food Faster”:  Local garden expert and host of HGTV’s Bugs and Blooms Donna Balzer

Donna Balzer is the award-winning media personality of “Bugs & Blooms”on HGTV and a frequent guest on CBC radio Calgary and Vancouver.  A horticulturist, speaker, and author, Donna has a degree in Agriculture with a specialty in Horticulture, and a personal passion for growing food and growing soil.  Donna’s book “No Guff Vegetable Gardening” is a Canadian best seller and her newest book “The Three Year Gardener’s Gratitude Journal” has just been released.   Every Monday Donna shares her ideas and knowledge on Facebook Live events.  She was the Zoo Horticulturist at the Calgary Zoo Botanical Garden in Calgary, Alberta, for ten years before she went on to teach Horticulture at Olds College and pursue writing, media and consulting.  She currently has two greenhouses and a big vegetable garden in Qualicum Beach.

12:25 – 1:15 PM Lunch

1:15 – 2:15 PM

“Following The Footsteps Of Explorers In Tibet”:  BC Botanical Garden associate director and curator Douglas Justice

Douglas Justice has been at UBC Botanical Garden since January 2000. Along with responsibility for horticulture and the living collections, Douglas teaches horticulture and plant identification, and writes and speaks on a variety of plant-related subjects. He co-authored “The Jade Garden: New and Notable Plants from Asia” in 2005 with Brent Hine and the late Peter Wharton, and wrote a “Field Guide to Ornamental Cherries in Vancouver” with volunteers from the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. Douglas recently completed a mobile app entitled “Vancouver Trees” and is now working to complete a similar volume describing shrubs (including rhododendrons) in Vancouver.

2:15 – 3:15 PM

“Rhododendrons Need Friends Too!”Host of CFAX 1070’s Gardening 101 and site manager of Abkhazi Gardens Jeff de Jong

Jeff de Jong is a Horticulturist living in Victoria BC, is a horticulture Instructor at the University of Victoria and has been a Guest Speaker for gardening groups across Canada and the United States. Jeff also leads garden tours for Worldwide Quest, and will lead his sixth tour to New Zealand this year. He has been teaching college and university horticulture for over 25 years, and has a passion for garden design, for which he has won several awards. He is presently involved with several garden projects in Port Angeles USA, and writes for several garden magazines. His hobbies are photography and watercolour painting.

3:15 – 3:30 PM Break

3:30 – 4:30 PM

“Crevice Gardening”:  Comox horticulturalist Dany Fortin

Dany has worked in horticulture for 21 years, including arboriculture and landscaping. During his year at Kew Gardens, London, he worked on several projects, including maintaining the Caprifoliaceae and Oleaceae collections. In Victoria, he was the principal gardener at the Lieutenant Govenor’s House. He also helped create the No. 6 Mine Park in Cumberland, helped design and build a Georgie Award winning garden, and is the creator of the beautiful rock gardens located at the Comox Rec Centre and the Marina. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and qualified Tree Risk Assessor. Dany is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture, the Alpine Garden Society, the American Rhododendron Society, and the Royal Horticulture Society. He is an avid rock gardener and recently his interest has grown in the construction and creation of crevice gardens.

Refreshments:  Free coffee, tea, and treats will be provided.  Please bring your own bag lunch.

Don’t forget to enter to win the door prize and check out the goodies offered in the silent auction!


$25 in advance or $30 at the door The conference is SOLD OUT, but we are compiling a waiting list in case more seats become available.  Please use the form below to place your name(s) on the waiting list.

Thank you for making this event a success!

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