Seminars – sponsored by 585 Magazine -- are free with GardenScape admission, and all are held upstairs in the Dome Center.   An elevator is available.  (Note three seminars have a charge for materials.)

Seminars Schedule – Subject to change without Notice!


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Meet the GardenScape Seminar Speakers

Here’s a brief biography of the seminar speakers at GardenScape this year.

Liz Magnanti is manager of The Bird House on Monroe

Avenue in Rochester, where she has worked for 1 years.  Prior to her time at The Bird House, she worked at various nature centers leading hikes and as an environmental educator.  She has a degree in Wildlife Conservation and is a Director of the Rochester Birding Association.

Dave Hutchings is the Executive Director of Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua, NY.  He held the position of Estate Manager at Mackenzie Childs LLC for 15 years, and was also the central campus landscape supervisor for Cornell University.  He holds degrees in the areas of horticulture and forestry from SUNY Oswego, the University of Missouri, and Finger Lakes Community College.

Debb Bonnewell is a local artist who created the GardenScape poster both this year and last.  She began painting in 1986, joined the Society of Decorative Painters, and earned the distinction of Certified Decorative Artist (CDA) in 2013.  She has taken lessons and attended seminars with accomplished teachers, and she currently teaches her own designs all across the United States

Jessica Mitrano is the Marketing and Leasing Manager at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, lead sponsor of Senior Day.  A graduate of St. John Fisher College,  Jessica joined ESLC in 2015 with more than seven years of medical marketing experience and is responsible for occupancy/membership and community awareness of all ESLC programs. She is an active member of the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly and specializes in helping seniors and their families in their process of finding the right “next step” for them.

Nellie Gardner is a horticulturist with the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Properties in the Buffalo area:  Darwin Martin House and Gray Cliff.  Her extensive and varied experiences include 25 years growing and designing with cut flowers and as a horticulture business consultant.

Patricia Wakefield-Brown is Invasive Species Outreach and Volunteer Specialist at the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Finger Lakes PRISM. Her work primarily focuses on coordinating invasive species workshops, education/outreach, and delivering citizen science activities to municipalities, environmental groups, and students in the Finger Lakes and New York’s Great Lakes region.

Tim Boebel has been Nursery Manager at Wayside Garden Center for over 20 years. In his free time he tends to his collection of 500 hydrangeas in his home garden. In 2011 he published Hydrangeas in the North: Getting Blooms in the Colder Climates, and last year published Today's Hydrangeas: A Buying Guide and More.

Jeanine ‘J’ Fyfe of Broccolo Garden Center has more than 18 years of experience in lawn and garden retail.  She enjoys guiding customers and friends through gardening challenges, focusing on low maintenance, multi-seasonal results that add beauty and value to one’s home and property.  Each of those attending her seminar will create and take home his or her own terrarium.  A $35 fee will cover the cost of materials.  Call 585-624-4482 to register.

Bill Valavanis, He is proprietor of the International Bonsai Arboretum in Rochester, New York where he maintains a fine personal collection of Classical bonsai. He offers introductory and advanced classes as well as seminars and symposia in Rochester, New York. He also maintains a busy teaching schedule for bonsai and horticultural organizations worldwide. In order to further promote the artistic and horticultural expression of Classical bonsai art around the world he began publishing International BONSAI magazine 40 years ago. He has authored nine books and many articles published in English, Japanese and other European languages.

Dan Scheid, is Grounds Director at Cornell University, having previously served for many years as horticulturist and grounds director for the University of Rochester.   While in Rochester, he was a longtime member of the GardenScape steering committee.

Michael Miller has been a designer 49 years, the last 21 with Webster’s Kittleberger Florist. He is a member of the American Academy of Florists and former president of the Florist’s Association and was trained at Cornell University and Constance Spry Flower School of London, England.  His seminars are always among the best attended at GardenScape.

Rochelle Smith is an emeritus horticulture faculty member at Finger Lakes Community College, where she teaches a number of courses related to ornamental horticulture

Caroline Kilmer is with the Monroe County Stormwater Coalition. Established in 2000, the coalition has 29 municipal members who work together to comply with federal stormwater regulations and improve water quality in a cost-effective manner. The Coalition implements a wide range of projects and programs, including public education, training for municipal employees and the land development community, demonstrations of practices that reduce polluted runoff from developed land, and technical assistance with permits and erosion control.

Lisa McCombs is founder and owner of The Artful Fairy, Victor, NY.  She very much enjoys sharing the experience of creating fairy gardens with kids, parents, and grandparents.  She looks forward to telling seminar participants how to put real enchantment into their fairy gardens.

Jason Beardsley is a sales and consulting arborist for tree care and plant health services with Monster Tree Service of Rochester.  He holds ISA Certification, Risk Management Qualification and DEC Pesticide Applicators License.  From 2012 until 2018, he was an arborist with Ted Collins Tree and Landscape.

Brian Eshenaur, Sr. Extension Associate with the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program as a trained plant pathologist. His program focus is commercial ornamental horticulture, working primarily with Christmas tree and covered ornamental growers.

Dave O’Donnell is a self-taught naturalist from upstate NY. His work with restoring the declining Eastern Monarch Butterfly population began in the late ‘90s, and he has become a well-known advocate for the restoration of the iconic Monarch Butterfly and it’s habitat. While focusing on Monarch recovery, he also discusses many other environmental issues pertaining to all pollinators and other wildlife in decline.

Rick Stecher of Van Putte Gardens has spent a career in the environmental horticulture industry, with a passion for organic gardening. He has taught, practiced and lectured in horticulture and organic gardening at local Community Colleges, in the media, community gardens and nature centers for decades.