Saturday Key Note Presentations

Banner image for the 2017 Master Gardener College

This year’s conference features two dynamic keynote speakers.

Photo of Janet Draper, a horticulturist at the Smithsonian Institute









Janet Draper - Plants, Passion and Perserverance

Smithsonian Institution Horticulturist at the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden


Janet Draper is a self-proscribed plant geek extraordinaire with chlorophyll flowing through her veins and has a distinctive career as a Smithsonian Horticulturist in Washington D.C.  Janet’s keynote presentation will focus on her efforts at the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, a 1/3 acre garden on the National Mall, where she “plays in the dirt”…. what a cool job! Janet’s goal is to educate garden visitors about the diversity of plants… and show them something cool and exciting along the way. “Basically I am competing with the Air and Space Museum, so a bed of petunias is not going to draw people in!” says Janet. “I have to go wild and crazy with something really eye catching to cause people to stop and look at plants.” Like all public gardens, attendance numbers can be tricky, but estimates are that 35 million people visit the nearby museums and the Ripley Garden, which is open 24 hours a day – no gates. Janet will discuss the numerous challenges her unique job poses due to plant theft, homeless people, trash, rallies, inaugurations, and the worst…gardens getting trampled. As she says, “I create it, they destroy it, I re-envision and remake it!” Come hear from Janet as she talks about Plants, Passion and Perseverance.

Bio: Janet is the horticulturist for the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, one of the Smithsonian Institution Gardens tucked between two Smithsonian Institution buildings on the National Mall. Under Janet’s management, the garden has developed into a quiet oasis for thousands of National Mall visitors each year. Its unusual curvilinear design - the work of noted Washington, DC, architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen - along with a profusion of flowers in raised beds, creates a distinctive sense of intimacy and informality. Janet has managed this outstanding garden for 20 years bringing expertise gained through a B.S. in Horticulture from Purdue University and working alongside world renowned horticulturists Wolfgang Oehme, Kurt Bluemel and Beth Chatto. She has also been employed as a propagator, perennial manager and designer with nurseries and estates in Chicago, Long Island, and Maryland. 

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Image of Dan Herms, a professor at the Ohio State University

Dan Herms - Climate Change and the Effects on Insect Pests

Entomology Specialist at The Ohio State University


In today’s world, climate change is certainly a hot and controversial topic. Dan Herms will give a keynote presentation focusing on climate change and the research confirming the effects of changing temperature, drought and atmospheric carbon dioxide on phenology, populations and distributions of key pest. He will also discuss how the climate impacts interactions between plants and insects.  As greenhouse gases steadily warm the climate and alter precipitation patterns, it is vital that gardeners begin to understand the ramifications of climate change on all parts of the horticulture environment.

Bio: Dan Herms is Professor in the Department of Entomology at The Ohio State University. He received his B.S. in Landscape Horticulture from Ohio State University, his M.S. in both Horticulture and Entomology, also from Ohio State University in 1984, and a Ph.D. in Entomology from Michigan State University. His research and extension programs focus on the ecology and management of insect pests of trees in forests, urban forests, ornamental landscapes, and nurseries, including effects of climate change.  Prior to joining Ohio State University, he directed the pest management program for 13 years at The Dow Gardens, which is a horticultural display garden and arboretum in Midland, Michigan.

Questions? Contact Betsy Braid at (517) 884-7081, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).