Zachary Abbey is a natural farmer. As a devotee of Divine Mother Nature, he has helped establish a community yoga farm and ashram called Ananda Farm on the south end of Camano Island.
Ananda "Natural" Farm Tour: Philosophy and Methods - Camano
Arjai Allred comes from a long line of talented cooks, where they learned early about quality ingredients, eating locally, and never wasting food. They moved to Whidbey Island in 2000 and shortly after 2006, with their partner Morgan, became active in the Whidbey Island farming community, volunteering whenever possible. Arjai "puts up" the bountiful produce they grow or purchase from local farmers, as food preservation is something very close to their heart. They have given courses in canning, freezing and other ways of preserving the harvest.
Leslie Stevens moved to Whidbey Island in 2002 and volunteered with EHAT and CHAB, both Island County Health Department committees devoted to the health of Island County. It was working with these two groups that she began to notice the importance of understanding the connection between how the food we eat is produced and the health of the environment in which it is produced. She has since become interested in the art of canning and pickling, two methods she uses to preserve food that is produced locally from Whidbey Island farmers, with a special emphasis on quick pickling.
Fermentation with a Side of Pickling
Harvey has been growing plants since childhood. His first greenhouse and orchids came at about age ten. He has grown plants under lights and in greenhouses in various parts of the country. Henry has also served as library committee chair of the American Orchid Society and as a librarian in various parts of the country including the California Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. He has grown a wide variety of genera of orchids and is a retired librarian living in Oak Harbor.
The Joy of Growing and Blooming Orchids at Home
Bess Bronstein is a horticultural consultant, educator and ISA Certified Arborist® based on the Kitsap Peninsula in Kingston, Washington, with over 35 years of experience in arboriculture, landscape management, and garden design. She was an instructor for the Edmonds College horticulture program for 28 years, with a focus on courses in pruning and tree care, plant identification, plant pests/diseases and diagnosis, and soils. Bess frequently teaches public and professional arboriculture and horticulture courses throughout the Pacific Northwest and supports ongoing education in sustainable landscape management practices and tree care.
Tough Trees (and a Few Shrubs) for Tough Times
Rachel Brooks is a Forest Pathologist for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources based out of Olympia, Washington. In this role, Rachel provides technical assistance on forest health concerns to state and private landowners, helps monitor important forest pests and pathogens across the state, and assists with forest pathology research. Lately she has been focusing on white pine blister rust, root rots, Phytophthora ramorum, sooty bark disease of maples, Swiss needle cast, and trapping for defoliators. Rachel obtained her graduate degree in plant pathology from Virginia Tech.
An Introduction to Forest Health
Trevor started in his grandmother's garden, continued in his parents' garden, and now has over 30 years of experience in his own garden. His passion as a parent is sharing his love for gardening with his two boys just like his parents did for him. When choosing a favorite plant he said, "That's a tough one.. How 'bout I'm a 'plantaphile'!" Trevor is a Certified Professional Horticulturist and serves on the Board of Directors for Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens in Everett, and as President-Elect of the Board of Directors for the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association. He ran Wight's Home and Garden in Lynnwood for 19 years and has been General Manager at Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville for the past 12 years.
Sensational Spring Shrubs
Jessica is a landscape designer based in the San Juan Islands where her work focuses on sustainable site planning, native and habitat-enriching planting plans, and edible garden design. Jessica grew up on Whidbey Island surrounded by the farm fields and forests at Ebey's Landing. After receiving her Master of Landscape Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, she returned to the Pacific Northwest.
Jessica worked at the Seattle Urban Farm Company for four years before founding Field & Grove Design Studio on Lopez Island in 2016. She has previously spoken at the Living Future UnConference, the American Institute of Architects, the American Community Gardening Association's Annual Conference, Pecha Kucha, and the Lopez Island Garden Club.
Thinking Outside the Box!
Design Principles to Create Critical Habitat
Marcia Dillon has been a Master Gardener since 2012. She manages the tomato beds and greenhouse operations at the Bellevue Demonstration Garden, where they trial the latest varieties in a quest to find the perfect tomato. She grows about 100 varieties each year and is actively involved in breeding trials for the Dwarf Tomato Project.
Secrets for a Bounty of Tomatoes in the Pacific Northwest
Barb Faville has been a Master Gardener since 2018 and a volunteer docent at Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens since 2022. She has taken many horticulture classes at Edmonds Community College, which she now uses to pursue her retirement interests.
Co-presenter June Davis has worked in the horticulture industry for many years. She works with the docent program at Meerkerk Gardens and with the Whidbey Island Garden Tour to help people enjoy and appreciate the wonderful gardens on Whidbey Island.
The Trees of Meerkerk
Touring the Trees of Meerkerk - Whidbey
Judy Feldman is the Executive Director of the Organic Farm School. She comes from a long line of farmers and tradespeople, but freely admits she is neither. She says her role at the Farm is to hold the BIG PICTURE of what they are trying to do – to train new farmers to develop and manage small farms focused on ecological, economic, and social regeneration.
Her day-to-day tasks vary, but she likes to say that her job primarily consists of talking with trainees, with staff, and with the community, connecting with them while helping to tell their stories. You may also find her out taking photographs, using those photographs to make notebooks, spending time with her very patient partner, John, and trying to find time to visit her family in Texas.
Touring the Organic Farm School - Whidbey
Travis is a long-time resident of Whidbey Island with a passion for all things fungi. He got his start in 2007 when he was on a walk in Putney Woods and noticed how many amazingly colorful mushrooms there are, and that moment inspired him to learn more. Since then he has foraged for mushrooms all up and down the west coast for many varieties of edible fungi and loves adding wild mushrooms to his meals.
In 2017 Travis delved into cultivation and grew Oyster mushrooms, King Oysters, and Lions Mane - all in a 5x5 greenhouse on his back patio. Too many mushrooms! He often would give them away to friends and neighbors because they just would not fit in his fridge. Now he is back on Whidbey Island and wants to share his passion with the island and community that helped raise him. Mush love Whidbey Island. Hope to see you soon.
Sue Goetz is an award-winning garden designer, writer, and speaker. Through her business, she works with clients to personalize outdoor spaces – from garden coaching to complete landscape design. Writing and speaking are other ways Sue shares her love for the garden, offering seminars and hands-on workshops. She is the author of the books Complete Container Herb Gardening, A Taste for Herbs, and The Herb Lover’s Spa Book.
Landscape Design with Herbs for Pollinator Support
Ornamentals in the Pollinator Garden
Mara is caretaker of the flower garden at the Whidbey Institute and has been gardening personally and professionally for over forty years. She is the author of The Lazy Gardener and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flower Gardening.
Less Water, More Blooms
Don grew up on a farm in Eastern Colorado. He was an ASE-certified Master Mechanic and professional heavy diesel mechanic for 30 years, and is now retired. As a Skagit County Master Gardener, Don teaches tool sharpening and care for the Skagit Extension Master Gardener program and maintains all the tools for their Discovery Garden.
Tool Selection, Use, and Care
Tricia has been working in school gardens since 2016. As part of the WSU Extension Island County SNAP-Ed program, she has been helping children and adults learn how to grow their own food in school and community gardens.
Benefits of Teaching Children to Garden: Junior Master Gardeners, School Gardens
Don Krafft is a WSU Island County Master Gardener and former Master Composter in Santa Clara County, California. He is focused on practicing and teaching soil and water management and composting for home and community gardeners. In addition to the Master Gardener and Master Composter trainings, Don has completed the comprehensive Soil Food Web and Microscope Soil Analysis courses and is currently managing composting piles at home and at the South Whidbey Tilth Community Garden.
Garden Black Gold: Convenient truths about home composting
Paul Kusche is a two-state Master Gardener, having completed training first in Bonner County, Idaho in 2015 just after retirement and again in Kitsap County, Washington in 2019 when he relocated back to the Northwest. While growing dahlias is his passion (see the Papa Paul’s Dahlias cover story in the July 2020 West Sound Home & Garden Magazine), he has also been involved in teaching alternative gardening techniques including Edible Landscaping and Growing in Small Spaces.
Paul graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a BBA and MBA. He is a former Marketing and Marketing Research Instructor, a frequent speaker at garden clubs and master gardener seminars, and a writer for the American Dahlia Society’s Bulletin. As a Kitsap County Master Gardener, he is a Clinic Lead, member of the Foundation, and speaker for Clean Water Kitsap – Septic Sense Seminars.
Paul Kusche - PapaPaulsDahlias.com
Growing Dahlias for over 20 years.
Grower, Hybridizer of new varieties, and Dahlia Educator
Dahlias - More Than Just a Pretty Flower
What If I Don't Have the Space?
Karla is an artist and owner of Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park. She is not a master gardener, but loves to plant and fuss with her environment.
Several years ago Karla found the perfect property to build her dream gallery, personal art studio, home, and sculpture park. She wanted to use sustainable and recycled materials and build a “green” structure that incorporates industrial design. The first floor encompasses a 3000-square-foot art gallery with ten-foot ceilings, movable walls, and large glass garage doors that provide an abundance of light and facilitate moving large artworks.
Nestled among evergreen trees, the Gallery and Sculpture Park currently exhibits seventy-five artists whose works are of world-class significance. Karla designed the ten acres thoughtfully, leaving much of the natural flora of the Northwest. Sculptures by prominent and emerging artists using bronze, stainless steel, stone, wood, and glass are incorporated throughout the park.
The park is a remarkable work of art itself. Karla rented and learned to use bulldozers and backhoes to carve out the property. The graceful site embodies “a geometry of playfulness,” as trees, walls, lawns, and flowers come together to form a brilliant frame for outdoor sculptures. New seasons and different times of day make the park an ever-changing background for art and a welcoming destination for visitors.
Tour of Matzke Sculpture Park - Camano
Annika is a garden designer and botanical artist in Bellingham, Washington who has been making beautiful things with flowers and exploring our relationship with the natural world ever since she can remember. She grew up in the rolling hills of northern New York among artisans, musicians, farmers, builders, and gardeners. She studied dance and worked as a gardener as a youngster, then studied art and environmental studies at Oberlin College.
After the beautiful Pacific Northwest stole her heart, Annika earned a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Washington. She credits her design sense to the sum of the people, natural places, and gathering spaces in which she has worked–in school gardens, kitchens, design firms, classrooms, community centers, homes, and farms. Annika tends a small urban cutting garden and supports many local flower growers with her large, joyful floral designs for events and weddings. She continues to do residential garden design and planning and is now offering master planning and horticultural design direction for event venues.
Grow your Own Bouquet
Deb earned her B.S. in Horticulture from South Dakota, so not a lot of her degree applies to the Pacific Northwest other than basic botany. She spent 20 years in the Navy, traveling the world and learning different ecosystems, and appreciated that the Navy funded her explorations. She has been a Master Gardener since 2006, and also has a teaching certificate in the sciences, hence her love of teaching. Deb appreciates feedback and is always seeking to enhance her classes.
Beginner Seed Class
Anza Muenchow has perfected the art of culinary horticulture by growing food at her two-acre Maha Farm for the past 15 years. But beyond her farming expertise, she is also passionate about improving fresh food access for her community, especially low-income families. And, as a Master Gardener since 1992, she is the go-to expert for other Master Gardeners who want information on crop varieties and maximizing their harvests. Anza also volunteers for Master Gardeners at South Whidbey Tilth.
Tobey Nelson has a B.S. in Landscape Horticulture from Michigan State University and is a Certified Professional Horticulturist. She has been designing, installing, and maintaining gardens for over 29 years. Tobey Nelson Events + Design offers garden design and coaching, floral design, and botanical art. Tobey focuses on environmentally responsible approaches, such as drought-tolerant plantings, planting for pollinators, building soil health, and using sustainable floral design methods.
Pollinator Friendly Garden Care
Dr. Robert K. Pelant
Dr. Pelant is the founding CEO of the Pacific Rim Institute (PRI) based on Whidbey Island, Washington. PRI is a 175-acre site containing old Douglas fir and Pacific yew forests and one of the largest and most diverse prairie remnants in the entire region. Prairies are Washington's most endangered ecosystem.
A veterinarian by training, Robert has worked and lived most of his adult life in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. His focus then was holistic development for mostly rural peoples. Since 2009 with PRI, he is combining that experience with a more scientifically based approach to restoring the ecosystems in which we live. He obtained his BS degree in 1977 and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1981.
Meadowscaping - Enhancing Lawns and Yards with Native Plants
Habitat Restoration in the Maritime PNW - Whidbey
A horticultural consultant and educator with 40 years experience and a long-time pruning instructor at Edmonds Community College, Christina Pfeiffer holds degrees in Horticulture from Michigan State and the University of Washington. Christina is an ISA Certified Arborist and the author of Pacific Northwest Month-by-Month Gardening.
How to Plant a Prune-Less Garden
Lisa started beekeeping on Whidbey Island over 17 years ago. She has worked with large beekeepers and other hobby beekeepers. Her bees have been all over the island, pollinating farms and small orchards. Lisa has taken several classes on queen rearing and hive management. After a three-year hiatus while living overseas, Lisa has now returned to beekeeping.
Beekeeping and Attracting Pollinators
Dr. Will Reeves
Dr. Will Reeves is an entomologist with his PhD from Clemson University working with mosquitoes and other biting flies. He has been an agricultural entomologist for the US Dept. of Agriculture and a public health entomologist for the US military both in Asia and the Continental USA. Will recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest.
Inviting Insects to Your Garden
Lore is a well-known member of the garden community in the Pacific Northwest.
She and her husband Jim own and operate Rarity Gardens, a small perennial
nursery specializing in Hosta, daylilies, and especially peonies. A nurseryman’s
daughter, Lore has been growing and propagating a wide variety of trees, shrubs
and herbaceous plants since childhood. She studied botany at the University of
Michigan and currently grows more than 850 different peony cultivars.
A long-time member of the Pacific Northwest Peony Society, Lore is also Past-President of the American Peony Society where she was instrumental in establishing evaluation criteria and judges’ training for the Society’s Award of Landscape Merit selection process. She is the recipient of the prestigious Award of Horticulture from the Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs and is a popular speaker for garden clubs, plant societies, and Master Gardener groups. Her mission is to introduce gardeners to modern peonies as the perfect choice for both the landscape and vase.
More Peonies, Please! - Propagating Peonies
A Gardener’s Guide to Hosta
Sarah Schmidt is a wildlife biologist active with the Whidbey Audubon Society and Bats Northwest. Sarah's fascination with bats originated in the early 1990s when she attended a workshop on endangered, small mammals of the national forests, while working for the US Forest Service in Arizona. There she became fascinated with bats, the nocturnal, flying mammals more closely related to humans than to rodents, with which they are often compared. For more information about Sarah and bats, see Dan Pedersen's article, "Living with Bats on Whidbey Island" at https://wildwhidbey.blogspot.com/2011/12/living-with-bats-on-whidbey-island.html
Bats - Why You Want Them, How to Keep Them
After retiring from a 27+ year career in Navy Aviation, Charlie worked for H&R Block and Ace Hardware in Oak Harbor for the following 28 years. His hard work and dedication as a volunteer for Beach Watchers (now Sound Water Stewards) since 1993 continues as a Species Identification Lead for Sound Water Stewards Intertidal Monitoring, a Green Crab monitor, Tidelog coordinator, and much more.
Susan Mador has a degree in English and took Botany 101 as a science elective, which does not cover marine species. However, it helped her learn how to key things out and now she uses that knowledge in the marine environment. In 2011 she began volunteering with Beach Watchers, now Sound Water Stewards, on the beach with the Intertidal Monitoring project, on the shore counting salmon at Cornet Bay for the Salmon Recovery project, and in the rocks and mud monitoring Green Crabs. With 11 years of Species Identification, boots in the mud, and knee pads on, Susan is one of the Species Identification Leads and enjoys helping teach others how to identify Shore Crabs from invasive Green Crabs, using key details of the number of spines and shape of the carapace versus relying on color alone. She also enjoys educating people about Mazzaella splendens, Splendid iridescent seaweed, since people usually think the iridescence is an indication of an oil spill, but it is not! Susan looks forward to helping teach marine plant identification and how to key things out along with Charlie Seablom.
Marine and Shore Plants
Marni Swart is the founder and owner of Growing Roots Together, both an edible plant nursery and a place for urban farming and gardening enthusiasts to learn to grow food and build resilient and healthy soil, ecosystems, and communities. Marni is a certified sustainable urban agriculturist, community educator, garden coach, nurserywoman, and healthy soil enthusiast.
For more info: GrowingRootsTogether.com
Follow Growing Roots Together on Facebook and Instagram @GrowingRootsTogether.
Urban Food Forest
Monica Van der Vieren
Once a scientist, now a communications professional, Monica has always been a wildlife nut. She has been creating habitat at home for twenty years and providing presentations and workshops through groups and organizations for 18 years.
Monica is currently collaborating with the Snohomish Conservation District to create a food forest and harvestable agroforestry buffer along with wildlife gardens and food gardens for herself and food banks.
Backyard Habitat, Homegrown National Park Programs
Dan Vorhis has a B.S. in Agriculture from The Ohio State University, with over 40 years experience in fruit horticulture. Dan and his wife Bernadine Mahar own and operate Muscle and Arm Farm, a small farm and orchard in Freeland, Washington.
Hardwood Bench Grafting - Hands-On - Whidbey
Diana Wisen has been a WSU Master Gardener for 32 years. She has been a Skagit County Master Gardener trainer for 20 years, served as Chair of the Outreach and Education Committee and of the Speakers Bureau, and regularly teaches gardening classes to a variety of audiences.
Gardening for Fragrance
Dr. Kathleen Wolf
How does place and the physical environment influence human health and quality of life? What attitudes and values do people have regarding open spaces in urban environments? How does nearby nature improve environmental, social, and economic conditions in cities?
As a social scientist I investigate people's perceptions and behaviors with regard to urban landscapes. Based on professional experiences early in my career – as an urban forester in South Florida and a landscape architect in the Midwest – I became interested in the interactions between human and ecological systems. My research, based on the principles and methods of environmental psychology, has explored public preference, perception, and behavior concerning urban forestry and green infrastructure. Recent work has turned to a focus on human health and wellness. I also work to translate evidence about nature's benefits to local government policy and planning.
The Roots of Wellness: Nature and Health Research
Health Benefits - Nature's Impact on Health and Well-Being
Bouquet Banque Nursery is a two-acre homesite nursery located in Marysville, Washington. Owners Judy Zugish and Bill Roeder have earned a reputation for growing the unusual perennial, hardy cyclamen, unusually well. With 34 years of experience in the trade, Judy and Bill have a deep commitment to quality plants. They personally visit and care for each of their babies every day, living a life arranged by seasons and weather, blossoms and dormancy, demands and wonder… welcome to our world! Special areas of interest led to a breeding program for hardy cyclamen, where our 22 species have been increasing in volume for sale each year. At long last, we have large selections of 4-year-old corms of select leaf patterns and striking silvers in hederifoliums that bloom in fall and coums for winter showoffs.
Beguiling Winter Wonders – Discover Hardy Cyclamens!