Past Speakers 2022

Issa, Antonia (June 16, 2022)

Antonia Issa shared photographs from her tour of the Edward James Surrealist Garden in Xilitha, Mexico.

Kelly, Kevin (April 21, 2022)

Topic: "A Four-SeasonGarden: Secrets for Success"

Does your garden look good for a few months, only to disappoint you during the dog days of summer or through the dreary, cold days of winter? We joined Kevin Kelly for a visual tour of his suburban garden through each of the seasons. He showed how he use a varied collection of plants to create year-round interest and excitement.

Below is a list of plants that were shown during the presentation.

Download (PDF, 77KB)

Lewis, Noah (June 16, 2022)


Noah is one of the recipients of the Lynn Valley Garden Club awards at the Greater Vancouver Science Fair. 

For more information about his project click here.

The Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair (GVRSF) is the regional science fair for 10 school districts in the Lower Mainland area. It is open to students from grades 7 to 12 attending public, independent, private and home schools. The GVRSF is a registered charity and non-profit organization run by a diverse group of dedicated volunteers passionate about education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). 

The GVRSF’s mission is to encourage youth to conduct research and experimentation in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. 

The Fair 

  • Encourages 100,000+ youth in our region to conduct creative inquiry-based projects
  • Hosts 300+ students who are keen and invested in today’s scientific and technological developments
  • Provides $45,000+ in cash, prizes, trips and scholarship awards
  • Awards top projects the Grand Award of progressing to the Canada-Wide Science Fair
  • Offers various student and educator workshops, research lab tours, and fun student activities

Maplewood Flats Tour (July 9, 2022)

List of some of the plants discussed during the tour:

Yellow Dock (in the genus Rumex)

  • Leaves can be used for a salve on the skin

Cleavers (Galium aparine)

  • Flowers in the spring
  • The abrasive parts of the plant were rubbed between the hands to remove pitch
  • A caffeine-free coffee substitute can be made from the dried and roasted nutlets

Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)

  • Good for pollinators
  • Excellent for hummingbirds
  • Birds eat the berries
  • Leaves and bark can be used to treat sore muscles (in a bath)
  • Good for natural dyeing

Osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis)

  • Makes a richly flavoured jelly
  • One of the first plants to flower - good for hummingbirds returning from migration
  • Can be eaten when dark purple but the raw fruit tastes bitter
  • Dioecious plant - male and female flowers are on separate shrubs

Western Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

  • A tea can be made  from the flowers to treat coughs and colds
  • Can be used as a wound poultice
  • Its primary use since ancient times is for blood clotting

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

  • Good for wildlife
  • Dried flowers can be used for tea that may treat bronchial problems and whooping cough
  • Immune boosting

Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana)

  • Attracts butterflies
  • Blooms in June and July
  • Hips are ready in January/February and can be used to make tea, jam and sauce.  High in vitamin C
  • Petals have some vitamin C and can be used in tea and baking

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)

  • Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Flowers throughout spring
  • From June to August produces a raspberry like yellow orange to dark red edible fruit
  • Key ancestral food - berry cake
  • Always found 0.5 km from some form of water source
  • Bottom two leaves on the plant look like a butterfly

Long leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

  • Golden dye can be made by boiling the whole plant and letting the water sit for 24 hours
  • Leaves can be used to stop blood flow from cuts and wounds 

Ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor)

  • Great for pollinators, small birds and frogs
  • Wood from the stem was used to make tools and arrows
  • Roots can be used to make a mild tea

Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

  • Berries are edible but sour
  • Bark can be used for dyeing

Wild ginger (Asarum caudatum)

  • Scented plants can be put in bathwater
  • Roots can be boiled and drunk as a tea yo ease stomach problems
  • Roots can be cleaned and eaten raw or used as a ginger substitute.


Miskelly, Kristen (February 17, 2022)

Subject: Turn Your Lawn into a Native Plant Meadow

Kristen Miskelly is co-owner of Satinflower Nurseries (previously Saanich Native Plants), a native plant, native seed, and consulting business  on Southern Vancouver Island.  She is passionate about conservation, ecosystem restoration,  native plants, and native plant propagation. She is a biologist with specialty in the botany and ecology of southeastern Vancouver Island.  Among other projects, she helps coordinate the Haliburton Biodiversity Project and is on the Steering Committee for the Cascadia Prairie Oak Partnership. She teaches a variety of workshops and courses and is a sessional lecturer at the University of Victoria teaching ‘Ecosystem Design through Propagation of Native Plants’ and 'Urban Restoration and Sustainable Agricultural Systems.’

Reasons to plant a meadow:

  • Help conserve/restore biological diversity (plants, wildlife etc.)
  • Promote respect for the unique habitats of where you live
  • Promote respect for Indigenous Peoples, culture, food systems, plants and wildlife relatives, respect for the stewardship and management over thousands of years
  • Increase effective size of surrounding habitats
  • Learn about nature
  • Benefit future generations
  • Reduce water usage, fertilizers, chemical pesticides, power mowers (noise, fuel, pollution)
  • Provide the best nutrition for wildlife like birds, butterflies, bees and the insects.

A plant list of all the plants presented can be found here

Mulvihill, Susan (January 20, 2022)

Subject: Vegetable Garden Pests,

Susan Mulvihill is passionate about growing vegetables! She is the longtime garden columnist for the Sunday edition of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., and has been a Spokane County Master Gardener since 2002. Her popular new book, The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook, was published in April 2021. Susan is also the co-author of the Northwest Gardener’s Handbook. She has created and hosted over 300 how-to-garden videos, which can be found on her YouTube channel, Susan’s in the Garden. Susan is also a member of the professional organization, Garden Communicators International. She and her husband, Bill, live on 5 acres, where they grow all sorts of edible crops in their large raised-bed garden. In 2017, and again in 2021, their garden was featured on the popular public television program, “Growing a Greener World” (episode 809 and 1202), hosted by Joe Lamp’l. Her website can be found at and contains resources for organic pest control along with many other guides designed to help gardeners be successful at gardening. In her “Vegetable Garden Pests” presentation, Susan will discuss cultural practices to keep plants healthy and better able to withstand pest problems, how to identify the bugs you encounter in your garden, and profile some commonly-found insects and strategies for dealing with them.

Susan's handout for her presentation can be viewed and downloaded below.

Author of "The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook" (Cool Springs Press,2021)

Co-author of "Northwest Gardener's Handbook" (Cool Springs Press)

Garden columnist, The Spokesman-Review

Spokane County Master Gardener

Member, Garden Communicators International

Facebook page


YouTube channel

Download (PDF, 86KB)

Shoroplova, Nina (May 19, 2022)

Topic: Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Nina Shoroplova is a tree enthusiast, historian, researcher, and author. Born and raised in Wales, she immigrated to Canada in 1969 and settled for a time at the Douglas Lake Ranch, the subject of her first book, Cattle Ranch: The Story of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company. She has since self-published three books on inspirational themes, and was a contributor to the 2019 anthology The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings. Nina holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from SFU and is a trained vocalist and lifelong performer in choirs and community theatre. A professional member of the Canadian Authors Association and a member of the Stanley Park Ecology Society, she spends her days writing her own books, editing the books of others, and taking photographs of trees and plants in every season.

Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park can be found in the North Vancouver District Public Library

Valana, Maria (March 17, 2022)

Maria Valana

Maria Valana is a Horticulture Instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). She holds the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree from Olds College and the Provincial Instructor Diploma from Vancouver Community College.   Maria enjoys sharing her passion for horticulture by providing horticulture education to like-minded individuals.  Plant propagation is one of her favourite subjects.  In her presentation Maria will discuss plant division of a variety of plants, highlighting the correct timing and step-by-step procedure.

Topic: Plant Division

Reasons for dividing:

  • To make more plants
  • To rejuvenate a plant
  • To keep plants healthy
  • To contain plants in a certain area
  • To save money on plants

Plants should be divided within a year of spotting these symptoms:

  • Centre die-out/Doughnut growth: ornamental grasses and some perennials such as Monarda become more vigorous in the perimeter than the centre
  • Small/few blooms: if plant is growing in good soil this is a distress symptom
  • Sparse regrowth: fewer stems than normal when growing in good soil
  • Taking over the neighbourhood: vigorous plants that encroach on walkways, patios and other plants


  • Best when the plant is not actively growing or is dormant
  • Spring is ideal - plants recover quickly from the stress of division because the ground is moist and the temperature is not high yet
  • Plants that form the following year’s flower buds mid summer should be divided in late summer or early fall
  • Avoid summer - plants will wilt and scorch in the hot sun

Digging plants out:

  • Thoroughly water plant 12-24 hours before digging out
  • Dig on a cool morning
  • Dig with a fork or spade
  • Sink the spade or fork to its full depth working around the outside of the drip line of the plant’s foliage
  • The roots must stay cool and moist until the plant is replanted - place in a shady location and cover with moistened burlap if not ready to divide or replant
  • Replant in a well prepared soil with well-aged manure or compost or in a pot with a potting mix

Dividing Clumping plants:

  • Lift the mother plant
  • Look for growth buds on the crown
  • Divide into good-sized pieces with healthy roots and top growth with a spade or sharp knife
  • Each ice should have a t least 4 buds or growing points
  • Replant in a specific are or pot.

Dividing Suckers:

  • Suckers form at nodes along a plant’s underground stems
  • By removing suckers you create a new individual, get rid of an invader and have plants to share and sell
  • Examples: raspberries, forsythias, lilac etc…

Dividing plants with fleshy or woody crowns:

  • Look for growth buds and divide the crowns so they include at least 3 or 4 growth buds
  • Sharp tools are imperative for cutting through fleshy or woody crowns
  • Ex: Cannas, astilbes, dallies, peonies, hostas

Dividing plants with rhizomes:

  • Wait until the plant has finished blooming
  • Divide every 3 to 5 years
  • Divide when the flowering decreases, flower size diminishes or it just looks crowded
  • Ex: bearded irises, bergenias, wood lilies 

Dividing plants with tubers:

  • Tubers are swollen underground stems
  • Tubers can’t survive a winter in freezing soil
  • Dig up tubers at the end of summer and store them in a dark area at 4℃
  • Divide before planting in the spring and ensure that each tuber has at least one eye
  • Ex: Dahlias, calla lilies, ranunculus

Dividing plants with offsets:

  • Offsets are young plants that form at the crown or stolon of a parent plant
  • They take water and nutrients form the parent plant until they are safely rooted
  • They should not be divided until they have a well developed root system
  • Ex: Agaves, aloe, banana, strawberries, sago palm, hens and chicks

Plants with adventitious roots:

  • Plants creep on the ground and the stems touching the soil root in the ground
  • Rooted stems can be cut from the mother plant and replanted 

Bulb division:

  • Bulbs are underground storage structures holding nutrients
  • It is best to divide them when the foliage is almost all dead and the plant is no longer actively growing
  • They create new bulbs called bulbets
  • The bulblets will eventually enlarge to the same size as the original bulb and split off
  • Dig a few inches away form the plant to ensure that the bulbs don’t get damaged and loose the soil around the bulbs to prevent scarping
  • Carefully pull small bulbs from the base of the plant
  • Plant back at a adequate depth
  • Provide adequate spacing to allow for growth in the years to come
  • Can be planted in holding beds then moved once they have matured
  • Bulblets can also be sorted in dry peat moss and placed in a cool, dry and dark spot until the fall
  • Ex: lilies, tulips, daffodils, snowdrops

Layering outdoors:

  • Bend a stem and peg it to the ground
  • Cover with a mound of peat and grit
  • Attach to a bamboo cane to sind which stem is layered

Air layering:

  • Wound the stem
  • Apply rooting hormones
  • Pack with moist moss
  • Wrap with plastic, tie each end
  • Wrap with foil
  • Make sure the moss does not dry out


  • Is another method of air layering involving the removal of the epidermis almost all the way around the stem