Front Row (left to right): Carolyn Ulrich, Karen Moore, Laurie McGhee, Katrina Chipman, Julia Fitzpatrick-Cooper, Kelly Girup
Middle Row (left to right): Brenda McMahon, Mary Allen, Steve Meyer, Nina Koziol, Jim Nau, Neil Gilbert
Back Row (left to right): Marty Bartz, Jacob Burns, Brent Horvath, Kyle Lambert
Not pictured: Frank Balestri, Heather Blackmore, Eric Schroeder
Mary Creighton Allen
Landscape Architect/Landscape Contractor Plandscape Inc. Elburn, IL
Mary brings to the group 32 years of experience in the landscape industry. Her experience began with a large commercial landscape contractor where she worked with commercial maintenance clients designing and coordinating landscape enhancements and seasonal color programs. Her job evolved into purchasing all plant material for their extensive installations department. Now at Plandscape Inc., Mary is in charge of the maintenance department where her responsibilities include sales, scheduling and managing crews. Perennial garden rehab and design, complete her responsibilities.
Education/Professional Affiliations: B.S. Landscape Architecture, Michigan State University
Horticulture instructor at the College of DuPage.
Frank graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a focus in Horticulture and Landscape Management and earned his Master of Science degree in Horticulture from Iowa State University. Frank’s experience includes working at nurseries and public gardens. Following graduate school, he worked as a Collections Specialist at the Chicago Botanic Garden before accepting a position as plant health care technician and research assistant at The Morton Arboretum in 2016. While in the Plant Pathology Lab at Morton Arboretum, Frank served as a diagnostician for plant problems on the grounds and overseen the Plant Health Care Scouting Program. Additionally, he also has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Master of Landscape Architecture program at Illinois Institute of Technology and has attained the accreditation of an ISA certified arborist. Frank currently is a horticulture instructor at the College of DuPage.
Garden Writer and Photographer, Lockport, IL
Heather is an award winning writer and photographer whose work has been featured on Good Morning America as well as in many regional and national publications including Better Homes and Gardens, Country Gardens, Outdoor Spaces, Chicagoland Gardening and the Chicago Tribune. In 2018, she received the Silver Award for garden journalism by the Garden Writers Association, now GardenComm. Heather launched her website, Here She Grows, in 2017, where she chronicles the good, the bad and the ugly of life in the garden. It received the Silver Award for Digital Media from GardenComm in 2019. Heather also enjoys helping landscape designers and architects update their design portfolios. She’s not sure how or when the garden bug bit, but it’s become a decades-long itch she’s all-too-happy to scratch. Two teenage daughters on the cusp of college keep her on her toes and Heather’s hopeful they’ll continue the gardening tradition wherever they land.
Horticulture Lab Technician/Grower, College of DuPage
Martin graduated from Harper College with an Associates Degree in Applied Science, along with 5 Horticulture Certificates. Marty’s work experience in the horticulture industry includes Nursery Manager at Geimer’s Greenhouse, Assistant Manager of St. Aubin Nursery and Grower/Yard Supervisor at Rocco Fiore and Sons, Inc. Since 2013 Marty has been the Horticulture Lab Technician/Grower in the horticulture department. His responsibilities include both growing in the greenhouse and maintenance/development of the Landscape Lab. Marty is an advisor for the Horticulture Club. He is also in charge of taking students from the department to the National Association of Landscape Professional Student Career Days competition each year, a three-day competitive event among students enrolled in horticulture programs from more than 70 colleges and universities across the country. Students compete in events that are directly related to the skills necessary for a career in the landscape industry. Marty can be reached at (630) 942-3807 or email at email@example.com .
Director of Horticulture, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL
Katrina began her career in horticulture assisting with her mother’s self-owned landscape business, Ingrid’s Landscaping in Ryan, Iowa, during her high school and college years. She helped with everything from pond maintenance to hardscape installation, to landscape installation. After receiving her degree, Katrina worked as a Natural Area Technician before beginning her career at The Morton Arboretum, where she worked for nine years as a horticulturist and Horticulture Coordinator. There she maintained the children’s garden and visitor center landscapes and coordinated the seasonal annual displays. In her current role, Katrina is the Director of Horticulture at the Lincoln Park Zoo in downtown Chicago.
Education/Professional Affiliations: B.S. in Biology, Iowa State University
Arborist, Horticulturist and Educator
John entered the green industry in the late 90’s after returning to Michigan State University to earn a degree in horticulture, a very different direction from his first degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan. He has not looked back since.
In 2000, he moved to Chicago and took a job at Gethsemane Garden Center in Chicago. He grew from early tree and shrub retail sales, to creating a storewide system to manage wholesale accounts and then he spent the last decade of his tenure expanding the overall garden center and purchasing all the plant material for the Tree and Shrub Department.
During this time John became a certified arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture. In 2004, he also began his teaching career, first at Northwestern University, then the Chicago Botanic Garden and Chicago Transit Authority and he currently teaches a yearly 9-week ‘winter’ certification series for the Illinois Arborist Association.
John is devoted to supporting nature and habitats (when he can) in all of his garden designs and he began a volunteer group affiliated with the Nation Wildlife Federation, called the Chicago Green Mission, to certify gardens, terraces and greens spaces at recognized habitats.
John launched his own design consulting business in 2013, Urban Plantsman, and became certified in Horticultural Therapy soon after. John has had the privilege to utilize his Horticultural Therapy training on programs with Thresholds veterans and also to develop 10 garden-themed tutorial videos for the visually impaired in conjunction with the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. John’s goal when he created Urban Plantsman was, and always will be, to develop sustainable, habitat-friendly green spaces that welcome all visitors, while also remaining committed to educating, mentoring and inspiring the next generation of green professionals.
Professor Emeritus, Horticulture, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
Julia’s 33-year teaching career spanned more than 33 years including over 28 years as a full-time faculty member in the Horticulture department at College of DuPage. In addition to teaching, her career has included a variety of positions in arboreta, wholesale nurseries, retail garden centers, horticultural therapy programs, community education programs and high school horticulture programs. Julia is a certified Landscape for Life ™ Trainer which is a sustainable landscape program sponsored by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden.
Education/Professional Affiliations: B. S. in Horticulture and M.S., Agricultural Education, The Ohio State University; Past Board Member, Midwest Ecological Landscape Alliance
Inventory Manager, Doty Nurseries, Inc., Maple Park, IL
Kelly has been working in the industry since 1999, where she started out as a cashier at The Growing Place in Naperville. Since then, she has gained experience in landscape design, maintenance, irrigation, commercial installation, and retail and wholesale sales. Her plant knowledge and experience in the industry has led her to Doty Nurseries, Inc. where she is the inventory manager. In her free time, Kelly enjoys gardening on her acre of land in Warrenville and teaching her three daughters how to pull weeds.
Plant Evaluation Manager, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL
Richard has been the Plant Evaluation Manager at the Chicago Botanic Garden since 1986. He has a horticulture degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Richard is an instructor for the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden, the author of Plant Evaluation Notes, and is an author and contributing editor for Fine Gardening. In 2005, Richard received the Perennial Plant Association’s Academic Award for teaching excellence. The Plant Evaluation Program received the Award for Program Excellence from the American Public Garden Association in 2008.
Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc., Hebron, IL
Brent grew up in the green industry working for his parents at their garden center, landscape and florist company. He graduated with a B.S. from Oregon State University in 1991 and started growing finished perennials for the wholesale trade. Today, Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc. lists more than 800 varieties and sells many more. He has introduced over 100 perennials and has filed over 40 plant patents. Brent’s book on Sedum for Timber press, came out in April of 2014. In 2015 it received a Gold award from the garden writers Association.
B.S. in Horticulture from Oregon State University in 1991. Perennial Plant Association, Sedum Society, Illinois Green Industry Association, American Rock Garden Society.
Horticulturist, Garden Writer, Palos Park, IL
Nina teaches garden design and horticulture classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Morton Arboretum, and for other organizations and clubs. Her articles have appeared in Organic Gardening, Fine Gardening, Old-House Journal, Old-House Interiors, Chicagoland Gardening, Landscape Contractor and she’s been a garden contributor to the Chicago Tribune since 1995. She is co-author of “The Historic Homes and Gardens of Lockport, IL 1838-2000” for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Born in Paris, she made her first garden visit to Versailles as an infant. Her flower and shrub borders, containers and edible gardens take inspiration from her grandparents’ garden in Essex, England, which was a combination of flowers, herbs, vegetables, rock garden, pond, potting shed, greenhouse and blue hydrangeas the size of basketballs.
B.S. in Education/Environmental Science, Northeastern Illinois University, 1987. Garden Writers Association. Perennial Plant Association. Illinois Landscape Contractors Assn.
Perennial and Rose Manager, The Growing Place, Aurora and Naperville, IL
Kyle has been with The Growing Place since 1996. He oversees the production of perennials and herbs. He coordinates inventory of over one thousand perennial varieties at both locations of The Growing Place. He is a plant collector that enjoys experiencing new varieties as well as the importance of incorporating natives. Kyle has given presentations and tours for garden clubs and the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.
Education/Professional Affiliations: A.A.S in Greenhouse Management, Joliet Junior College; member of Perennial Plant Association and Wild Ones.
Brenda found her way into the horticulture industry 26 years ago, when she decided dirt and plants would be her objects d’art. Though growing up on a farm in Kansas exposed her to agriculture, discovering gardens as art was a new concept. Garden design, garden installation and maintenance, wholesale nursery sales, and retail garden center sales compose her list of experiences. Highlights include involvement in the Perennial Plant Symposium 2002, the initial installation of the Piet Oudolf garden at Midwest Groundcovers, and giving perennial talks for a variety of gardens centers.
B.S., Kansas State University, A.S. Horticulture, Kishwaukee College
Illinois Landscape Contractors Association
Karen R. Moore
Garden Designer, Coventry Gardeners, Ltd., Westmont, IL
Karen started Coventry Gardeners, Ltd. in 1986. It is a niche business specializing in design, installation and maintenance of perennial flower gardens. Coventry Gardeners’ gardens have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens magazine and other publications. Coventry Gardeners was awarded an ILCA merit award for Residential Landscape Construction.
Education/Professional Affiliations: B.S. in Education from University of Georgia; Perennial Plant Association
Former Manager; The Gardens at Ball Ambassador
Jim Nau managed the greenhouses and gardens of the Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago, Illinois from 1982 to 2019. At the time of retirement, Jim was Curator of the Ball Horticultural Archives and Tours for the gardens. He is the author of two books: the Ball Culture Guide and the Ball Perennial Manual, as well as the editor of the Ball RedBook – 18th Edition.
He is the Past President and judge for All-America Selections as well the Past President of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG). Jim is the recipient of the Perennial Plant Association’s Garden Media Award winner and has been a keynote speaker for the Ohio Florists’ Association as well as the Southeast Greenhouse Conference. In addition, Jim received the Medallion of Honor award from All America Selections for Outstanding Achievement in Horticulture.
Growing and gardening are a passion with Jim. He is enjoying his new home and garden in Iowa.
Horticulturist, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL
Eric’s path into horticulture has been a meandering journey. Working on his parents’ woodland landscape he developed an affinity for the outdoors, yet deviated into the digital realm of virtual environments for a decade. The allure of fresh air and photosynthesis drew him back out into sunlight to join the grounds crew at The Morton Arboretum, where he has been a Horticulturist
maintaining trees, shrubs, and perennial trial gardens since 2013.
Education: BFA in Computer Animation, Ringling College of Art + Design.
Horticulture, College of DuPage.
Susan J. Stone
Retail Sales, Hinsdale Nurseries, Willowbrook IL
Susan Stone has been involved in all stages of perennial production, sales, inventory management, and plant buying for several leading Chicagoland nurseries. She is a frequent lecturer for area garden clubs and an instructor at Morton Arboretum. She is the past Regional Director of the Central Region for the Perennial Plant Association.
Education/Professional Affiliations: Perennial Plant Association, American Horticulture Society