Sharing what one knows is a great pleasure.  My goal is to inspire, coach and enable people to live a happier, simpler and more sustainable life.  These presentations come from my own curiosity and experience in living and gardening.   I bring my knowledge and passion as a master gardener, bee keeper, interior designer, chemical engineer, and artist – as well as a sense of humor and irreverence – to all.

I am available as a speaker for gatherings including community groups, adult education, and garden clubs. The length of each presentation can be customized to be from 1-2 hours including Q & A.  My presentations are PowerPoint based and depending on the topic, may include other visual displays including flyers and other materials.  I provide my own laptop and projector if there is not one available.   

Gardening with Nature

Often, we unintentionally work against nature and end up with high maintenance gardens that are vulnerable to weather extremes, pests and disease.  The good news is you can transform your garden into a beautiful, resilient and healthy refuge for you and your family without pesticides and herbicides.     This session will cover simple techniques for building healthy soil, choosing plants that will thrive in your garden conditions and managing insects, pests and diseases without chemicals.    We will also discuss ways to attract the “good” bugs, pollinators and birds we love to see in our gardens.   The goal is to help enable anyone to create an organic, low maintenance garden with a minimum amount of skill, time and money.  (This topic can be expanded to multiple sessions depending on the depth of discussion.)

In a Connecticut State of Mind

This exploration of the land that is Connecticut looks at the history of the landscape in geological and horticultural terms and the changes since colonization.  The presentation will highlight our notable native plants and take an in-depth look at the Connecticut state tree, flower, insect and bird.    The environment is in a constant state flux so we will also look at some of today’s challenges such as climate change and invasives.

Helping the Garden Deal with Environmental Stresses

Gardeners are concerned about the weather extremes – late frosts, spring snow showers, summer heat and drought – and the impact all of this has on plants.   Repeated stresses can weaken plants over time. A plant that has suffered through a year of drought will be less likely to survive a harsh winter than a plant that enters the winter without drought stress.  Sometimes when plants look sick or appear to be under attack by insects, the symptoms are actually a sign that the plant is being stressed by environmental factors.   I will cover some conditions that cause stress, common symptoms and ways you can keep plants healthy and better able to deal with environmental fluctuations.

Decorating Your Garden

To gnome or not to gnome?    Decorations can greatly enhance a garden and add a personal flair but the questions is how, where and what to add (without breaking the bank or making it look cluttered).   We look at how to apply the basics of interior design to our gardens in this presentation aimed at inspiring gardeners to be creative, imaginative, and have fun.

To Bee or not to Bee? (Confessions of a Rookie Bee Keeper)

Honey bees are a complex bunch and this is a humorous but informative look at their community.  It is an exploration of the secret life of honey bees – as well as the trials and tribulations of a “newbee” beekeeper.  We take a look at the bees at home, from how they decorate to who does the feeding, housekeeping and childrearing (hint, the usual sex) to who does the foraging.    There are plenty of family secrets, ruthless siblings and social dynamics.   What else could you expect with thousands of females sharing a hive?

Bees, Wasps, Hornets! Oh My!   

Bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are all in the insect family hymenoptera yet are amazingly varied.  As a beekeeper I have come to know and admire these often-avoided cousins of the honeybee.   Discover more about this fascinating insect family’s lifecycle, habits, and benefits.   We’ll also explore how to live in harmony with these inhabitants of your garden – and hopefully put away the tennis rackets and the pesticides.

Toxic Free Cleaning

Women have been cleaning their homes for centuries without the arsenal of toxic chemicals that are sold today.  Rediscover nontoxic solutions to everyday cleaning problems and avoid unnecessary “greenwashed” commercial products. Learn the science of grime and see how a few simple ingredients can be combined for effective and inexpensive cleaning and disinfecting.  Make your home clean and safe for you, your loved ones and your pets.