The Charlotte Garden Club

2017-2018 Schedule Archive

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List of program schedule during our 2017-2018 season:

April 16, 2018

Business Meeting followed by a Panel Discussion featuring some of Charlotte’s Leading Gardeners

March 19, 2018

Nils Norstrand: Growing Better Hosta: Health and Beauty Tips

Join Nils Norstrand for a look at the covers history, growth requirements, troubleshooting, and tips for healthier Hosta. What started out as a hobby grew to a backyard business, and Nils has grown Hosta professionally for the last 11+ years. He is now considered a leading provider of hosta for the Carolina piedmont and beyond. This presentation evolved from summarizing customer questions and using the responses to understand how they can grow better Hosta. Nils will be happy to answer your questions.

Bio: Nils Norstrand is the owner of North State Hostas, the leading provider of hosta for the Carolina Piedmont and beyond. He is a member of the American Hosta Society and American Hosta Growers Association and is a certified grower through the NCDOA.

February 19, 2018

Bob Cantu: The Best of Flora of Grandfather Mountain and The Blue Ridge Parkway

Which plants have medicinal properties? What was the role of Native Americans in teaching us about these properties? What are the erosive and climatic forces shaping evolutionary change in these plants? Why are so many different plant and tree species starting to die out and what can naturalists, biologists and scientists do to diminish those critical problems.

Bio: Bob Cantu is a naturalist for the Blue Ridge Hiking Club, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship and the Grandfather Mountain Parks & Recreation. He is also an armchair astronomer and an active member of the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club since 1992. He recently gave a talk on Flora & Fauna of Grandfather Mountain to the Senior Scholars of Boone, N.C. During his work as Director of the Paper Packaging Group of Sun Chemical his travels took him to points of interest across the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, South America, Central America (Rainforest) and Mexico. Several of his technical articles have been published in national magazines. He was the 2001 recipient of NAPIM’s Pioneer award, and TAPPI’s 2007 Technical award. A graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, Bob spends half of the year in Blowing Rock leading naturalist hikes, working up new astronomy talks, and volunteering at Grandfather Mountain Stewardship identifying birds of prey.

More info about Grandfather Mountain

September 18, 2017

Patrick Larkin: Gardens I Have Known

Patrick Larkin, who was recently tapped to lead Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, will share stories of his love of gardens and information about the diverse institutions at which he’s served.

Bio: With an extensive background in horticulture and garden leadership, Patrick Larkin is recognized as top garden professional. Prior to coming to DSBG, he served as Senior Vice President of Gardens at Cheekwood in Nashville, TN. Larkin earned a master’s in Public Horticulture Administration from the University of Delaware as a Fellow of the Longwood Graduate Program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. He is a member of the American Public Gardens Association serving in active leadership roles, including a 6-year stint as an elected member of the Board of Directors.

October 16, 2017

Annabel Renwick: Notes from a Small Prairie

Annabel will address the natural and cultural history of the Piedmont Prairie and will summarize work done to recreate a rendition of this vanishing landscape. The southeastern Piedmont stretches north to south from New Jersey to Alabama with the Appalachian mountains and the coastal plain marking its western and eastern limits. Before European colonization the Piedmont was rife with rich savanna type ecosystems maintained by grazing and fire. Today the landscape has mostly vanished along with its wealth of wildflowers, grasses and associated wild-life. Only a few scattered prairie remnants remain.

From 2014 – 2017 the horticultural staff at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens collected the seed for over 100 species of wild forbs and grasses from Piedmont Prairie remnants located within 50 miles of the gardens. Over 20,000 flowers and grasses have been propagated from this seed and are now displayed as part of a horticultural interpretation of a southeastern Piedmont Prairie. The project has aroused substantial interest from landscape architects/designers, land owners/managers and home-owners since its implementation.

Bio: Annabel Renwick comes to Durham from the UK and has been at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens for eight years where she is the horticulturalist in the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants. Annabel has a PhD in botany and a Garden Design diploma from The English Garden School. She has worked on the Blomquist Garden Piedmont Prairie Project since 2014.

November 20, 2017

Debbie Roos: Create a Pollinator Paradise!

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Agriculture Agent Debbie Roos will give an overview of regional pollinators with an emphasis on bees. Participants will learn about the principles of designing and planting a pollinator garden and how to select trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, herbs, and vines to attract a diversity of pollinators.

Debbie will give a virtual tour of her popular demonstration pollinator garden in Pittsboro, NC that features over 200 unique species, 85% of them native to North Carolina. She will also share resources she has developed for farmers and gardeners interested in enhancing pollinator habitat that can be found on her website at

Bio: Since 1999 Debbie Roos has been an Agriculture Agent for the Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension where she is responsible for programming in the areas of commercial vegetable production, organic production, pollinator conservation, alternative agricultural enterprises, forestry, and beekeeping. Debbie worked for three years as an agroforestry Extension agent and technical trainer for the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa, and later completed graduate degrees in applied anthropology and horticulture at the University of Florida. Debbie delivers educational programming to growers through regular workshops and her award-winning Growing Small Farms website She also works with area farmers’ markets and is involved in statewide efforts to strengthen local food systems. Debbie is passionate about pollinator conservation and has planted demonstration habitats and developed resources to teach others about the importance of bees and other pollinators to our agriculture ecosystem. Visit her pollinator website at

December 4, 2017

Susan Hooper: Holiday Program and Auction: Decorations with Materials from your Garden

Personalize your holiday decorations with plant material from your gardens. This program will include the mechanics of creating designs using your own cuttings and a few elements from a floral supplier. In addition, a list of plant material will be provided. Designs will include arrangements for small spaces as well as for larger tables with consideration for ease of transport. You’ll be inspired to try something new with clippings from your own backyard!
Bio: Susan Hooper is an Extension Master Gardener for Mecklenburg County and a National Garden Club Master Flower Show Judge. She has exhibited for Art in Bloom for North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. In addition, she served 4 years as president of Flower Show Judges Council of North Carolina and chaired the school to train new flower show judges. In Charlotte, she has been Council president, Trustee Chairman, Club President, Council Garden Manager and more..

January 22, 2018

Paula Gross: Seeding the Garden: Engaging Children with the Green World in Your Own Backyard

Ask any gardener or horticultural professional how she or he got into gardening and you will find a grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, mom, or dad in the answer. When we garden we don’t just grow plants, we grow gardeners. That is, if we take the time to share our experiences – something that happened without much thought in earlier generations.

A personal relationship with plants is as vital as ever, and it is on us to “seed the garden” by intentionally sharing these experiences with children. They are our future gardeners, farmers, and stewards of the natural world. Challenges of tight schedules, lack of easy access to farms and gardens, and the ever-present screens exist, but the natural world is all around if you open your eyes to it. All it really takes is to set the intention of engaging, plus a few good ideas to get you started.

Paula will share some easy and fun ways to engage children with gardening and nature in your own backyard, as well as the public gardens and parks in Charlotte. It’s all there waiting to grow!

Bio: Paula Gross is the Associate Director of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Botanical Gardens. After receiving her Master’s degree in Horticulture at the University of Georgia, she continued her education, hands-on, at Goodness Grows Nursery in Lexington, GA, where she fell in love with perennials. During her 18 years at UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, Paula has taught courses on botany and plant identification, developed programs for children and adults and helped guide the development of the greenhouse and gardens. Her deep belief that the connection between plants and people is vital for the health of both individual and planet is what inspires her to write and teach. She is the co-author of the book Bizarre Botanicals and has written for Fine Gardening magazine.

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