Winter Sym

Print a registration form and mail it with your check to WVNLA, P.O. Box 20284, Charleston, WV 25362. Questions: 304-553-1234 or




WVNLA Winter Symposium
A Focus on Design
Jan. 24 

WVNLA President Bill Mills will introduce an exciting slate of speakers, including keynote speaker Joseph Tychonievich of Arrowhead Alpine Plant Nursery, research horticulturist Jason Reeves, author Rita Randolph, WVU extension agent John Porter, artist/blacksmiths Matt and Tessie Wallace, land specialist and digital expert Ryan Seacrist, photographer Steve Payne and gardening author David Culp.  

The symposium concludes with the annual members meeting.

Joseph Tychonievich 
“Plant Breeding
for the Home Gardener”

Joseph TJoseph says plants and gardening are seemingly in his blood, as he was asking for plants and seeds for his birthday from the time he was a very small child, but horticulture didn't become the ruling passion of his life until his mid teens. Since then, he earned a bachelors degree in horticulture from Ohio State University, spent a summer working at Shibamichi Honten Nursery in Japan, been a repeated guest on public radio's food show The Splendid Table, and wrote a book, Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener (Timber Press, 2013). 

Currently Joseph lives and gardens in Michigan where he is nursery manager at Arrowhead Alpines Rare Plants Nursery.

Get to know Joseph better and learn about more his current projects at his blog: or find him on Facebook at


Jason Reeves
“One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure: Fun with garden art on a budget”

Jason ReevesJason grew up on a farm in western Tennessee.  He received his Master’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from UT Knoxville.  He has worked at the Opryland Conservatories in Nashville, Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. He has also worked as a horticulturist in New Zealand.  Since 2002, Jason has been employed as the UT Gardens research horticulturist and is located at the West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson. 
Jason has taken on many projects at the UT Gardens including planting hundreds of trees and conifers, creating a Certified Tennessee Arboretum and a Southeastern Regional Conifer Display Garden.  Jason’s colorful plant combinations and unique garden art, made by recycling everyday objects, draws several thousand people to the center's annual lawn and garden show, Summer Celebration.  Each fall, Jason creates an elaborate fall display at the center using more than 5,000 pumpkins, gourds and winter squash comprising over 90 varieties he grows each year.  In 2008 he began leading domestic and international garden tours and in 2010 became a contributing editor to Fine Garden magazine.
For more information on the gardens and events go to

Rita Randolph
“Four Seasons of Containers”

Rita RandolphRita Randolph is a life-long horticulturist, photographer and published author. She wrote the Fine Gardening "Container Gardening" special issue in 2009 and published her own book, "A History of Horticulture." 

She and her husband Hamp McCall ran a nearly 70-year-old greenhouse operation started by her parents, until they closed it in 2012. She is in the process of starting a mail order company, Rita's Rare Plants. 

Rita spends much of her time consulting, writing, and lecturing. She was recently presented The Sterling Award as one of the top 20 influential women in western Tennessee.

Rita has studied at New York Botanic Garden, and belongs to a number of horticultural societies, including The Garden Writers Association.

She writes a regular column for The City News of Jackson, Tenn., and also hosts a local television gardening show.


Tessie Wallace
“Elements of Design – Working with Artists and Other Craftsmen”

TessieWArtist blacksmith Tessie Wallace joins forces with garden designer Bill Mills to discuss the finer points of designing with artists and craftsmen.

Tessie and her husband Matt Wallace, also an artist-blacksmith, own and operate Wallace Metal Works, a blacksmithing shop in Charleston, W.Va. They design and produce custom wrought iron gates, fences, railings, furniture, fire screens, ornaments, and many other home and garden accents.

With hammer and forge, Matt and Tessie design and create exquisite, one-of-a-kind wrought iron items using traditional methods seldom found today. 

Bill Mills
“Elements of Design – Working with Artists and Other Craftsmen”

Bill MillsBill Mills leads the experienced garden design team at Terra Salis in Malden, W.Va., where he creates a changing palette of landscapes and gardens throughout the region and beyond while he also manages Terra Salis operations.


Ryan Seacrist
“Designing with Technology”

RyanRyan Seacrist is a Professional Landscape Architect living and working in Charleston, W.Va. He holds a bachelors degree in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University where he graduated cum laude and with an Honor Award from the West Virginia Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects for outstanding academic achievement.

Although he is fairly new to the profession, with just over three years in the field, he has had the good fortune to have already developed a diverse portfolio of project experience.
From riverfront development to streetscape design and urban parks to campus master planning, Ryan has had the opportunity to hone both his design and technical skills while exploring some of the latest graphic and design technologies. By doing so he has developed a technique of combining and leveraging an assortment of the industry’s leading design software in concert with one another in a manner that he hopes caters to the betterment of design and planning.


David Culp
“The Layered Garden”

David CulpDavid Culp is the creator of the gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downingtown, Penn. David has been lecturing about gardens nationwide for more than 15 years. His articles have appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Fine Gardening, Green Scene, and many other publications.

He is a former contributing editor to Horticulture magazine and served as chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Hardy Plant Society.   David is Vice President for Sunny Border Nurseries in Connecticut. He is author of the book The Layered Garden, published  by Timber Press. David is a herbaceous perennials instructor at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Penn. 

In 2013 The Layered Garden won the coveted Best Overall Book by the Garden Writers Association.

He has developed the Brandywine Hybrid strain of hellebores, and was recently cited in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise on snowdrops. His garden has been featured several times in Martha Stewart Living and on HGTV.  Brandywine Cottage is listed in the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Gardens.  (See video of David's appearance on the Martha Stewart Show  (9:56)

He is a recipient of the Distinguished Garden Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.  He has also been awarded the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Award of Merit.  He serves on the Pennsylvania Horticultural Societies Gold Medal Plant Selection Committee.

John Porter
“Pruning: Clippers, Saws and Loppers”

John PorterJohn Porter is the WVU Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources in Kanawha County, W.Va.  His interest in plants, gardening and farming come from his grandparents and parents, who have long been farmers and gardeners.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in botany and his master’s degree from West Virginia University in horticultural sciences. 

His work centers on encouraging people of all ages and abilities to produce food in both rural and urban settings: in schools, community gardens, and farms.  He is a member of the 2013-2014 class of SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) Fellows and is the weekly garden columnist for the Sunday Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Steve Payne
“Creating Good Photographic Images”

Steve PaynePhotographer Steve Payne, is a noted world-class photographer with over 25 years experience. His commercial photography has been featured in hundreds of publications across the country. As an early adopter of digital photography, he has been an expert in this area for many years.

Steve’s fine art photography resides in corporate and private collections throughout the globe and his portraiture is cherished by families far from his home in Charleston, West Virginia.

Prior to forming Steve Payne Photography he served as chief photographer for the West Virginia Department of Commerce and The Department of Culture & History.

"I have spent my life in the arts, providing fine photography to industry, advertising agencies, and private individuals. I have always loved my work, the people I work with, and the final works we produce together. I have been blessed to find my place of service in the world."





7:00 am - 8:00 am Registration

7:00 am WVNLA Board Meeting

8:15 am President's Welcome and Introduction of Speaker

8:30 am Kelly Norris
Gardening with a Y
NorrisWith all the uproar, discussion and seeming turmoil around the issue of Generation X and Y gardeners, some might wonder what the future holds for horticulture. Confounding the issue is a general lack of demographic data and perceptions of young or beginning gardeners. So why not talk with a Gen Y horticulturist? This lecture will explore historic trends, share insights from Gen Y horticulture majors, and open a dialogue about the needs, wants and interests of potential gardeners under age 40.

Bill Thomas10:00 am Session A Bill Thomas
The Chanticleer Experience
Chanticleer, a forty-eight acre garden on Philadelphia's historic Main Line, is many things simultaneously: a lush display of verdant intensity and variety, a homage to the native trees and horticultural heritage of the mid-Atlantic, a testament to one man's devotion to his family's estate and legacy, and a good spot for a stroll and a picnic amid the blooms.
PattersonSession B Charlie Patterson
Strategic Business Planning
Charlie will be discussing strategic business practices and how to incorporate them into our member's businesses.

11:00 am Richard Bitner
Designing With Conifers
Bitner"This book is written for garden designers and other landscape professionals, but also for anyone who wants to learn more about how to effectively use conifers in garden settings. The clear color photographs help readers envision how incorporating conifers into established beds can enhance the overall design of the garden and provide that year round interest we are all trying to achieve. Designing With Conifers offers a great deal of practical information for creating harmonious landscapes that employ conifers to their best effect. It will become a well-used resource in my library and a valuable aid when I meet with clients who want to add conifers to their gardens." Quoted from Anne Marsh, The American Gardener, January - February 2012.

11:45 am SWAP SHOP
12:15 pm Lunch

1:30 pm Session A Kerry Mendez
Perennially Yours
MendezKerry will discuss incorporating sustainable plantings into existing landscapes. Her successful ideas and practices are known throughout the United States. Be ready to learn from Kerry's experiences on her tried and true sustainable gardening ideas.
HoffmanSession B Bill Hoffman
Pond Supplies of Ohio
Pond supplies and construction of ponds is Bill's world. He will share his knowledge of ponds and what purpose different elements are needed for a successful garden pond.

Norris2:30 pm Kelly Norris
Chic Plants for Hip Gardeners
Gardeners need chic,sustainable, thriving plants for modern lifestyles. Plants after all are the very essence of fashionable gardening. Gardeners need to know the basics of gardening as well as have the opportunity to craft landscapes in their own unique style with plants that flourish sustainably for more than just a few seasons. The horticulture
industry needs to re-shift and re-tool its focus on emerging demographics, including how to market plants to a generation of new gardeners. This talk with espouse several key ideas for how to talk about plants in a bold-faced, exciting way that makes them seem less like "products" and more like living things that sustain beauty in our environment. Twenty-something plantsman Kelly Norris will take the audience on a journey Hoffmanthrough a world of hot, functional, and head-turning plants for modern gardens, -unusual, new, plus a few tried and true.

Session B Bill Hoffman
Ponds and Construction 101 (continued)

Steve Payne3:30 pm Steve Payne
Creating an Innovative Business, Surviving, and Flourishing With Change

4:30 pm Business Meeting and Closing Comments

5:00 pm CPH Exam