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Speakers Bureau - Online Catalog

Given the diverse interests and specialties of our Master Gardener speakers, the Speakers Bureau Catalog list of topics is quite extensive.

The following categories are featured in this catalog.  By clicking on a category below, you will jump to descriptions of the programs that we offer in that category.  Scroll through the category in which you are interested to see specific presentations with brief descriptions.



Programs by Category:


Annuals—Cool Season
Annuals that thrive during the cool season before the heat sets in.

Annuals—Warm Season
A quick review of types, kinds, hardiness, and care. What needs to be done to have healthy, happy, and beautiful colors and texture once a year.

Gardening with Annuals
Learn how to incorporate annuals into your landscape. Extend seasonal interest beyond just spring and summer. Learn how annuals can add color, form and texture. Planning, purchasing and maintenance are covered, as well.

Basic Gardening

Backyard Gardening
How to build a cold frame, raised bed gardening, and preparation of the site.

Raised Bed Gardening
The basics of planting and the benefits of raised beds versus a conventional garden.

Spring Preparation for Flower Beds and Borders
The basics of planting, such as light, water and maintenance requirements. Fact sheets on beds and borders are distributed, with discussion about ways to make maintenance easier.

The Fall Garden--Putting Your Beds to Bed
Review of the six major issues that affect flower and vegetable growth through the fall and winter; soil-building: compost production and general preparation of gardens for next year's efforts; by-month (Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec.) review for both flower and vegetable gardens: what they are doing and what you should be doing for them.


Bulb Culture
A bulb, the promise of a plant to come, is a complete package with a miniature plant inside, along with its food. Topics such as the bulb storage, site selection and preparation, planting, and maintenance are discussed in this presentation. Bulb "imposters" are also discussed.

Forcing Amaryllis and Paperwhite Bulbs
A step-by-step of when and "how to" plant and care for amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs; pictures from start to finish.

Bearded Irises: The Dos and Don'ts
This presentation will explain how to dig and divide bearded irises, as well as how to identify iris borers, where to look for them, and what can be done to eliminate them. Demonstration on planting/replanting irises will include proper care of irises.

Spring Bulbs
History of the most common bulbs for this area, definition and selection; selecting optimal site, planting and maintaining; methods of using bulbs, alone or in combination with plant materials, in containers.

Summer Bulbs
Don't get obsessed with May/June gardens! Learn how to incorporate plant material in your garden that will provide you with year ‘round interest.

Butterfly Gardening  

Beginning Butterfly Gardening
Butterfly needs, top butterfly plants, butterflies of the Upstate.

Butterfly Gardening
This presentation will help you to create your own butterfly garden, with a discussion of the life stages of a butterfly as well as the host and nectar plants needed in each of these life stages. A list of these plants will be provided. Caterpillars, chrysalides and butterflies will be displayed as seasons permit.

Butterflies of the Carolinas
This presentation will identify many of the most common butterflies (approximately 20) that we see in our gardens. The discussion will show the life cycles of each and will identify their host plants. Information on how to attract butterflies and a list of nectar plants will also be included.

How to Raise Caterpillars
The four life stages of a butterfly. Discussion about the needs of Monarch and Black Swallowtail in raising them in a container. Suggestions for various DIY cages.

Monarchs and their Plight
How to recognize a monarch, the life cycles of the monarch, attracting monarchs, their migration, their decline and reasons for, and what we can do to help. The speaker will also share some of her personal experiences raising them.

Spring Flower Planting for Butterflies
Provides a list of nectar and host plants for the common, native butterflies in our area. Discussion of how and why they are best for butterflies


The how to's" and methods of composting and the benefits to the garden.  The session will provide techniques that will enable you to use kitchen and garden waste to yield rich garden compost.

"The Science of Composting”:  A practical approach to composting. Find the style that will work for you.

Container Gardening

Contain Yourself - Creative Container Ideas for All Seasons
Learn to use a variety of materials to dress up existing containers as well as creating fresh new containers to dress up your porch, patio, or garden.

Container Gardening 101
Basic presentation on sun and shade containers and what types of plants are appropriate, along with methods to attract attention. Discussion of what to put into the container to keep the plants looking fresher and how to maintain the container.

Floral Container Gardening--Fall/Winter
Site, light and soil requirements, selecting appropriate container and planting techniques; designing with seasonal plant materials and spring bulbs; emphasis on plant structure and foliage color for eight months of impact; maintenance: water, fertilization and grooming.

Floral Container Gardening--Spring/Summer

Site, light and soil requirements, selecting appropriate container and planting techniques; designing with plant materials: size, color, texture and scent; maintenance: water, fertilization and grooming.

Getting Ready for Fall from the Outside In
Refreshes spring/summer containers with plants more adapted to cooler temperatures. When and how to bring plants that have been to summer camp back inside so they aren't too traumatized by lower light levels and lack of humidity. Also, how they should be cleaned, pruned and divided to fit into their winter homes. Speaker brings actual containers and changes out plants, if necessary, to illustrate the subject of the talk.

Getting Ready for Spring from the Inside Out
Cleaning up houseplants and preparing them for "summer camp;" includes brief remarks on propagation, pest removal, cultural requirements, and transition to stronger sunlight. Also includes suggestions for editing and adapting outdoor containers for the spring/summer season. Speaker brings actual containers and changes out plants, if necessary, to illustrate the subject of the talk.

Miniature/Fairy Gardens
Basic principles for the two are the same--one involving fairies, the other involves other small items. Speaker brings containers, discusses scale, vegetation, how to maintain it, and how to make the finished product look like a tiny world.

Not Your Ordinary Container Garden
Think of containers as garden beds made smaller and easier to manage. Types and sizes of containers, potting soil, plant combinations, plant cultural requirements, fertilization, and recognizing pests and diseases are all part of a successful container garden.

Ideas of what to use for containers, and demonstrating how to make a terrarium.

Uncontained, Unusual Solutions for Container Gardens
Some basic concepts, but using fun and unusual containers for the moment; centerpieces and other holiday arrangements. Suggestions on using non-traditional containers for indoor and outdoor planting.

Vegetable Gardening in Containers
Basic site requirements: light, temperature, appropriate container size/material, soil and support vehicles; best seeds and plants for containers; thorough season maintenance: controlling insects and disease, fertilization.



Building a Cold Frame
A YouTube video is used to illustrate the construction of a cold frame.  A variety of designs and structures that can be used are discussed.

Cool Weather Crops—Springtime
Planting and raising cool-weather crops, such as turnips, greens, collards, radishes, onions, and lettuce, in raised beds.

Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter Fall Vegetable Gardening
Effects of soil temperature, change in position and intensity of sun and lowering temperatures on vegetable garden's growth; cool /warm season crops, both seeds and plants, planting dates and strategies for production of vegetables from fall to winter/ spring; maintaining and enhancing the garden through fertilization, control of weeds, insects and diseases, and tips on soil-building for the upcoming year. Choose the season you are
interested in (Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall).

Growing Herbs
Brief history and lore of our most commonly grown herbs; optimal site, sustenance, maintenance and propagation; methods of harvesting and preserving herbs.

Growing Vegetables
Basics of vegetable gardening, raised beds, simple integrated pest management, improving soil health, etc.

Growing the Best Tomatoes . . . Ever!
History of tomatoes, types available for this area and your garden's circumstances; growing healthy plants from birth to death; common disorders, insects and diseases: how to monitor and control.

A demonstration of how to grow tasty herbs that you can use in the kitchen.

How to Start a Community Vegetable Garden
Cost, structure and operational comparison of Project Host Soup Kitchen Garden (a communal garden) to St. Francis Community Garden (a community garden); defining community's needs/selection of appropriate garden model (community or communal); location/site selection and "Vegetable Gardening 101" review of the basics.

Raised Bed Gardening
Basics of vegetable gardening, building materials for raised beds, how to make your own potting soil, pros and cons of raised beds, etc.

Raised Bed Gardening
The basics of planting and the benefits of raised beds versus a conventional garden.

Seed Starting and Crop Rotation
Discussing the basics of seed starting indoors, in the greenhouse, or in the garden. Also reviewed are the importance of crop rotation and how to do that for a small farm or a suburban garden.

The Basics of Community Gardening
Community gardens are a great way to meet your neighbors while growing food for yourself and others.  Learn the various ways to organize your garden, select and prepare a site, and
plan what to grow in the garden.  You will also learn about some resources available in Greenville County to assist you in implementing and maintaining your community garden.

Vegetable and Herb Gardening for Senior Citizens
Emphasis on small, manageable container or in-ground gardens for seniors; basic site requirements: light, temperature, appropriate container size/material, soil and support vehicles; best seeds and plants for vegetable production.

Vegetable Gardening
Optimal site: sun/temperature, soil, planting plan; vegetable selection for this area: seeds, plants, timing; maintenance: controlling weeds, insects and disease, fertilization and growing tips.

Veggie Gardening in Containers
Through this presentation you will learn how you can maximize the output of your vegetable garden.

Vegetable Gardening in Raised Beds/Small Space Gardening
Optimal choices for raised bed materials/size/construction and container size/material; vegetable selection for this area: seeds, plants, timing; seasonal efforts to prolong vegetable production.

Floral Design (Most have a supply fee but product 0is left by presenter )

Autumnal Arrangements
Using harvest themes, pumpkins for decorations; drying hydrangeas.

Creating Natural Holiday Decorations and Arrangements
Making holiday arrangements using fresh greens from the speaker's garden.

Seasonal Floral Design for Mailboxes and Doors
Decorating for the different seasons as well as for holidays is an activity that many people enjoy. Whether you want to dress up your house for spring, summer, Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, or other holidays, remember to include your mailbox and front door. Placing decorations outside is a great way to spread a warm welcome and festive holiday cheer. This presentation will provide you with ideas for decorating, using simple yet celebratory themes that add to the joyful decorations of your home.

Simple Floral Arrangements
Two or three basic floral designs are demonstrated.

Spring Decorations and Arrangements
Creating arrangements using Easter/spring themes.

Using Garden Flowers in Arrangements
Arrangements are created using flowers out of the speaker's own garden.

What’s Wrong with This Arrangement?
Using design principles attendees have in front of them, the speaker does something wrong with each of three arrangements and asks attendees what they think is wrong or disturbing with the arrangement.

Flowering Shrubs

The 5 Ps of Lavender
The owner of Southern Hills Lavender, a lavender farm in Greer, SC, will share about the lovely plant, lavender. You'll learn what lavender is, how it can be used, and how to plant and prune it. Learn how to grow this beautiful plant in your very own backyard!

Origin, types and methods of growth. Suggestions regarding the best practices with azaleas. A video is shown on Glen Cairn Gardens in Rock Hill, SC, which features one of the largest collections of azaleas in the state.

Growing Beautiful Peonies
The speaker grows about 100 peonies in her garden.  Join in the discussion of proper
planting methods, fertilizing, and caring for herbaceous and tree peonies.  She will also share a little-known organic soil amendment that makes for beautiful peonies in your garden.

Heavenly Hydrangeas
Whether it’s blue, pink, white, or purple--mophead, lacecap, or paniculata--whether your garden has sun or shade or is small or large--there’s a hydrangea for most every garden. Join in the discussion of how to grow, when to prune, and what variety may work best for your garden.

Rhododendrons for upstate South Carolina; natural habitats and preferred garden climates; types of rhododendrons; planting, care, propagation; examples of "good doers" for this area.

Garden Art

Birdbath Concrete Leaf Casting
Bring more birds to your yard with this 4-day craft project. It's one to two hours of hands-on fun, creating your own personalized bird bath. You take the project home to complete it.  Birds will thank you for this special item for your patio floor or in the garden between plants.

Concrete Leaf Casting
A demonstration in which attendees will learn how to cast leaves in concrete. Requires a water source and an entrance to the facility where the presenter can move concrete, sand, and other materials easily.

Creating Hypertufa Containers
Create a stone-like planter that looks like it would be at home nestled in the Victorian gardens of an old English estate. Hypertufa containers are lightweight and provide great drainage. Can be done as a demo (30 minutes) or class. Handout distributed.

Stepping Stones
Learn how to create beautiful and impressive stepping stones to decorate and embellish your garden! Homemade stepping stones are a great way to personalize your walkway or yard. They make thoughtful gifts and are also great keepsakes.

Garden Design

Form, Texture, and Color in the Perennial Garden
Garden Design "101": what makes a great garden; exploration of plant material form, texture, and importance of bloom and (especially) foliage color; how to take a garden's "pulse" for form, texture, and color, and how to enact changes for a more successful year 'round garden.

Gardening with Children

Gardening with Children
Explore what children can learn as gardening is introduced to them. Find resources and support for projects as well as places to visit.

Junior Master Gardener Program
Overview of the Junior Master Gardener program. Explore the purpose, requirements, and curriculum resources.  Ignite a passion for learning, success and service in your kids.

Miniature Gardens for Children
The speaker brings illustrative containers and discusses how children might assemble those of their own, using some inexpensive, some "found" materials.

Pruning & Propagating with Children
Developed to teach a combined 1st through 3rd grade class how to grow plants from cuttings. Provides a hands-on 3-class half-day session covering plant basics, pruning and propagating. A great way to supplement focus on plants. The author will tailor the session to the teacher's needs and background of the students. Grades 1 thru 5 recommended.  Thirty students or fewer.  Adult participation required.

School Gardens
What you need to know to create one, and how to keep it going once you've got it.

Historical Plants & Landscapes

A Biblical Garden--Where Do I Start?
Gardens play prominent roles in our lives and in history. This is an introduction to the requirements for a Biblical garden, the resources available to create something similar in our space, and where some are that we can enjoy.

Historical Trees/Historical Places
A story of area trees and homes, some dating back more than one hundred years, with historical and current pictures. Stories of the gardeners who loved some of these trees (and a few other plants) are mingled in, as well.

Jessie Burnette--A Greenville Legacy Garden
The plants found in a turn-of-the-century garden and the woman who was responsible for planting them.  A blend of history and plant information.



Houseplants 101
A simple plan for the selection, planting, maintenance and care of various kinds of houseplants is the focus of this presentation. Following "the plan" will keep your houseplants thriving and surviving.

Insects and Diseases

Garden Ecology
Pests and diseases getting you down? Learn how to encourage a healthy ecology in your garden that will balance and eliminate your problems.

Protecting the Pollinators
Scientists estimate that one out of three bites of food people eat exists because of pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths, birds, bats, beetles and other insects. Many pollinator populations are declining due to habitat loss, disease, parasites and environmental contaminants. This presentation addresses what a person can do to help pollinators--especially solitary bees--thrive.

Vegetable Insects and Diseases
In-depth review of the largest--yet most preventable/manageable--"forces of evil" in the vegetable garden; I.D. and damage, prevention control/treatment; proactive measures to take throughout the year for an overall healthier garden environment.

Wondering About Beekeeping
An overview of beekeeping from early spring to late fall and how to protect the bees during the winter. Learn about how to get the bees, how to introduce the Queen to her hive, what are the purposes of the drones, spring/summer upkeep, great tidbits about bees, and harvesting honey. A great class to peak someone's interest and get them involved in a new hobby.

Native Plants

Gardening with Native Plants
Characteristics of native plants; reasons for "going native;" native plants for any garden design; some native plants to consider as alternatives to "Big Box" nursery plants; sources for native plants.

Wildflower Walk
Can be done any season, but spring has wonderful wildflowers.  This can be done in local parks or along the Swamp Rabbit Trail or even to mountain trails. Walks can be done at Conestee Nature Park.

PowerPoint presentation starting with winter flowers in January and moving through the year.

Organic Gardening

Intro to Permaculture Design
Wondering what "permaculture" is or just wanting to learn how to garden naturally? This presentation will walk you through the steps of producing food and flowers while working with nature rather than against it.

Organic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are more about feeding the soil than feeding the plants.  There are many organic fertilizers offered today that are much better than traditional chemical-based fertilizers. Organic fertilizers and amendments help our soil hold moisture better and create loose, airy, rich soil. They also help promote growth of healthy organisms, adding to an overall healthier garden.


Gardening with Perennials
Learn how to incorporate perennials into your landscape. Extend seasonal interest beyond just spring and summer. Learn how perennials can add color, form and texture.  Planning, purchasing and maintenance are covered, as well.

Gardening with Perennials and Annuals
Learn how to incorporate annuals and perennials into your landscape. Extend seasonal interest beyond just spring and summer. Learn how perennials can add color, form and texture.
Planning, purchasing and maintenance are covered, as well.

Perennials for Any Season
For winter, spring, summer, fall bloom--pick a season. Discussion and pictures of actual flowers of seasonal color in the garden. How-to-grow lesson.

All I have is shade! What perennials can I grow?

Poisonous Plants

Wicked Plants
This presentation is based on Amy Stewart's book, "Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities." Lots of interesting information and stories about many plants.


Horizontal Propagation (formerly "Pot" Layering)
Novice and experienced gardeners will love this popular new technique to easily produce mature plants. Through demonstration you will see it is easy to learn and readily adaptable to plants in your yard as well as in containers, while less work than most other techniques. This is an ideal technique for non-gardeners, or those who don’t want to wait years for their perennials to mature from cuttings, or people who have movement difficulty and still want the joy of easily propagating their plants.

Propagation--Seeds and Plants
Brief/humorous history of propagation, how to get started: selecting plants or seeds, simple/economical containers, tools, etc.; plant propagation (asexual): timing techniques, tools and methods; seed propagation (sexual): seed structure, types, viability and how to start.

Propagation Workshop
Hands-on workshop, learning how to propagate woody and herbaceous plants from cuttings. Discussion about the best time of year for specific plants to be propagated, how to treat them once potted, and how long they need to be potted prior to transplant.

Success with Seeds
Brief/humorous history of propagation; the structure, nature, protective strategies and dispersal of seeds; how to collect, preserve and prepare for planting; explanation of seed germination and step-by-step process of starting seeds up to planting them in-ground.

2 for 1:  Propagating While Pruning
Have more of the plants you love by combining propagation with pruning.  This demonstration covers basic pruning techniques with several methods of propagation, and shows techniques to easily combine them. Get many tips to improve your success.


Shear Madness
This presentation shows proper techniques, tools and timing for pruning to promote healthy tree and shrub growth in the home landscape.

2 for 1: Propagating While Pruning
Have more of the plants you love by combining propagation with pruning. This demonstration covers basic pruning techniques with several methods of propagation, and shows techniques to easily combine them. Get many tips to improve your success.

Shade Gardening

Not just to hang on your front porch any more.

Hosta Hit Parade--American Hosta Society's top 10 plants. Culture and nurture of hosta, comparing Greenville's climate to their ancestral climate.

Made in the Shade
How you can create your own place in the shade. How to evaluate shade conditions, plants to consider, and solving problems associated with shady areas.  Benefits you can gain from a shade garden. Designing for shade using plant material combinations.

Not Your Mother's Shade Garden
Focuses on the less common plants that can be used in shade.

Shade Gardening
The garden we will all eventually have--a shady one. Advantages of shade, types of shade, reducing or increasing shade, and some plants best suited to shade.


Improving Southern Soils
Southern soils' poor reputation is partially unwarranted. Typically highly fertile, they can be improved tremendously by using some easy and affordable strategies that will heighten the high clay content and make the nutrients available to plants.

Soil Health
Improving southern soils through the use of mulch and compost.

Soil / Soil Testing
History, components and properties of soil in this area and how to improve its fertility; simple soil tests for overall health, percolation and composition; the Clemson soil test: how to take, interpret and act on the results.

Soils 101
General information about soils, including testing benefits and procedures.

Specialty Gardens

Accessible Gardens
The benefits of continuing to garden, even with limited mobility; types of gardens (and plants) that make gardening accessible to those with limited mobility; and safety tips, as well as gardening tools/equipment available for those with limited mobility.

Carolina Fence Garden
The Carolina Fence garden incorporates basic natural and cultural elements, which have been designated as symbols of our state. It is a landscape component that can be adapted to a variety of settings. Learn how to design your own Carolina Fence garden to showcase specimen and native plants.

Front Yard Gardens
Growing flowers and food instead of lawn is becoming a popular front yard "look." Learn what edible landscaping looks nice, no-mow groundcovers, and low-maintenance year 'round blooms.

Garden Color All Year Long
How to have interest in your garden 12 months a year.

Greenhouse Gardening
Learn about the various types of greenhouses, starting seeds in late winter to be ready for spring planting, how to grow tropical plants and citrus in the greenhouse, and more.

The Joys of Winter Gardens
Ways to enjoy the fourth season. Pleasures found in the winter garden--structure, bark, and the plants which bloom during this season.

The Twilight Garden
History of the Twilight Garden; emphasis on the five senses; selection of appropriate site and planning; hardscapes, lighting, embellishments; designing of garden space and plant selection.

Theme Gardens
General overview of the requirements for a theme garden. Examples, such as: colors, children's garden, college garden. Being creative and personal.

Vertical Gardening
Benefits of growing vertically in a small space. Information from Derick Fell on his vertical gardening is discussed, along with basic planning and maintenance of a backyard.

Vines and Groundcover

Gardening upwards--vines to make your garden grow vertically.  Nurturing clematis and keeping their pruning needs straight.

Ground Covers
History, definition/types; why, where and how to successfully use for both function and to add beauty; selecting appropriate plants, site preparation, spacing/patterning, planting, mulching, and maintaining.

Water-Wise Gardening

Creating an Environment to Support Plants in Times of Drought
Importance of establishing plants and how to do that before they can become drought-tolerant. Fact sheets on drought-tolerant plants are distributed.

Gardening, Growing, (and Surviving) in the Heat of Summer
There are plants we can grow that will do fine with only water from Mother Nature. Join the discussion of what to plant--and how to plant--to best use our water supply. It is possible to have plants thrive year 'round without supplemental irrigation.

Residential Rain Gardens: What Why, and How
How to construct a rain garden at home and why one would want to.

Water Conservation / Rain Barrels
Ways to conserve water and how to build a rain barrel. A YouTube from the DNR and a YouTube on rain barrel construction are included.


Invasive Species in SC landscapes.
A discussion of some well know plant pests and their threat level such as Kudzu; but also details some more familiar nursery crops that are on certain invasive species listings in SC. The material will coincide with some of the plant species that are invasive as listed in the” Exotic Invasive Plant Species of SC” booklet produced by Clemson University and the SC Exotic Pest Plant Council.

Weed I.D. & Management

Discover how to identify weeds, how they spread, how they are managed, can they be managed? We explore the seasons, the leaves, the flowers and the roots. We also review methods of control.  A quick review with information to take home.


Attracting Birds to the Garden
Does my landscape look attractive to birds? You have to understand birds and their requirements in order to know how to attract them.  This presentation will provide tips on how to attract bluebirds and hummingbirds.

Birds in the Garden
Reap the rewards of enjoying the birds in your own backyard. What to do first to begin the process of enhancing your yard environment. Provide the best for you and the birds!

Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat
How to provide wildlife with their four basic needs: water, food, shelter, and a place to raise their young; seasonal efforts to attract wildlife: spring, summer, fall and winter; designing a simple backyard Wildlife Habitat from augmenting existing landscape to starting from scratch.