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Plants for a Better Planet

by Richie Steffen

Richie Steffen, Chair of Great Plant Picks, will be presenting his keynote lecture, “Plants for a Better Planet,” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In a time of shifting climate and adaptive gardening practices, Steffen’s talk will focus on vivid combinations of tough and beautiful plant selections that will enhance the garden while using our resources wisely. Learn about the best drought-tolerant plants, garden-worthy natives, and pollinator-friendly gardening techniques, as well as how to blend these elements to create diversity and beauty year-round.

Richie Steffen

Whidbey Gardening Workshop 2020 is delighted to announce Richie Steffen as our keynote speaker for the March 14, 2020 workshop. Renowned for his horticultural expertise and love for plants in the Pacific Northwest, he has an intimate knowledge of our specific needs and interests.

As executive director of the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden, Steffen oversees development of the garden, its programs, and the rare plant collections. Using his 30-plus years of experience in the horticultural field, the last 19 years at the Miller Garden, he maintains the classic Northwest aesthetic while celebrating the tradition of Elisabeth Carey Miller by discovering, displaying, evaluating, and disseminating information about plants suitable for landscape use in the Pacific Northwest.

Steffen supervises the primary educational program of the Miller Garden, Great Plant Picks, which is committed to building a comprehensive palette of outstanding and reliable plants for maritime Pacific Northwest gardens. is the go-to website for the best information about plants for our region.

Steffen is currently president of the Hardy Fern Foundation, and is past president of the Northwest Horticultural Society, founded by Mrs. Miller. He is also the recipient of the American Public Garden Association 2018 Professional Citation Award for his achievements in pubic gardening.

Steffen, with co-author Sue Olsen, recently published The Plant Lover’s Guide to Ferns. This book includes profiles for 134 plants, with information on growth and propagation, advice on using ferns in garden design, and lists of where to buy the plants and where to view them in public gardens. It will be for sale in the Whidbey Gardening Workshop Bookstore.

...these photos and more, plus all the knowledge these two fern fanciers accumulated over their years of study, are beautifully presented in The Plant Lover’s Guide to Ferns.”

—Seattle Times 

Note: Have lunch with Richie Steffen on March 14! A small, private lunch for those who would like some Question and Answer time with the keynote speaker is being offered. Hope to see you there!