2024 Educational Garden Workshop Series

The UF/IFAS Extension Collier County Master Gardener Volunteers presents:

The 2024 Educational Garden Workshop Series

At the Collier South Regional Library, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples, Fl 34113

EGWS Lecture # 1 January 11

Title: Gardens to Visit in SWFL

Wendy Wilber

UF IFAS Extension Statewide Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator

PO Box 110675

2140 NE Waldo Road Bldg. 1603

Gainesville FL 32611


Florida, the land of flowers, has many beautiful botanical gardens to experience. This presentation will explore 29 of Florida’s botanical gardens from the panhandle to the keys. Horticultural highlights will be shared, and you will be inspired to broaden your horizons and visit Florida’s botanical treasures.

Wendy Wilber has been with the University of Florida since 2000 when she became an environmental horticulture agent and Master Gardener Volunteer program coordinator for UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County. In 2015, she started as Florida’s State Master Gardener Volunteer Program Coordinator. In this role, she coordinates 4,000+ volunteers and supports the 58 UF/IFAS faculty that lead the county Master Gardener Volunteer programs. She serves as a resource on plant and landscape issues.  She provides monthly state training webinars for Master Gardener Volunteers and serves editor for the state Master Gardener Volunteer newsletter, The Neighborhood Gardener that has 9,000+ subscribers.  Wendy also oversees the social media efforts for the Florida Master Gardener Volunteers and the Gardening Solutions website. She grew up on a tropical fruit farm in Miami Dade County, and before coming to the University, worked in the landscape industry.  She is a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand and received her master’s degree in horticultural sciences at the University of Florida.

EGWS Lecture # 2 January 18

Title: Landscapes of Change:  Caribbean

Inspirations for Climate Ready Gardening

Chad Washburn

VP of Conservation at Naples Botanical Garden

4820 Bayshore Dr

Naples, FL 34112


As Florida’s climate changes, our plant palette will need to evolve to ensure that our gardens and our urban ecosystems are adapted to a changing climate.  Join us for an inspiring exploration of the Caribbean’s most significant landscape plants in an effort to create a climate-resilient future for South Florida’s landscapes.

Chad Washburn is the Vice President of Conservation at Naples Botanical Garden and is responsible for development of the Garden’s plant conservation strategy and implementation of the program.  He leads the Conservation and Natural Resources team, focusing on projects that ensure the long-term survival of the flora and ecosystems of South Florida and the Caribbean region though integrated plant conservation efforts.  These efforts include natural resource management, seed banking, conservation plant collections development, threat assessments, restoration and resiliency projects, and capacity building in the region. He has led efforts to address the region’s most pressing challenges through nature-based solutions, including restoration of coastal beach dune plant communities, development of resilient urban forests, and stormwater pond enhancement.

Chad leads a community of over 200 international botanical gardens from the Caribbean and Central American region towards the achieving the region’s plant conservation strategy goals.  Chad is a Chanticleer Scholar, FGCU Courtesy Faculty, graduate of Leadership Collier (2018), and recently received American Public Gardens Association’s Professional Citation.

EGWS Lecture # 3 January 25

Title: Kitchen Gardens/Herb Gardens

Debbie Hughes

Sr Horticulturist & Horticulture Director

Edison Ford & Winter Estates

2350 McGregor Blvd

Fort Myers, FL 33901

Herbs can be so much more than just used in cooking.  In only an hour of your time, she will pique your interest in making herbs a part of your life.  We will focus on the growing and using them. Many of our herbs here in Florida have a prime season which is now, but the best part of growing in South Florida is the possibility of growing other tropical herbs all year long.

Debbie Hughes has been the Horticulture Director at Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers for 16 years. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Augustana College, a physical therapy degree at Northwestern University and a master’s in exercise physiology at Eastern Illinois University. She enjoys therapy using plants now instead of helping to heal people. She is a certified horticulture professional and recently a certified arborist. Her greatest enjoyment involves sharing her knowledge and love of gardening with others. She has answered garden questions on a local call-in radio garden program every Sunday with Stephen Brown, a horticulture agent with UF/IFAS Extension Lee County. She would end the garden show with the line: “So many plants, so little time.” Debbie writes articles on gardening for several newspapers. Early in her career, Debbie said everyone should use their piece of land for what she called “useful gardens.”  Interestingly, many people have caught on to gardening again for various reasons, and our yards have become more than just a green lawn.

EGWS Lecture # 4 February 1

Title:  Safe! Protect Yourself at All Times (Garden Safety)

Bob Cook, FCHP

Weeds and Seeds LLC

PO Box 1211

Estero, FL 33928

Cell, (239) 734-0212

bobdirt27@comcast.net or


The rewards of gardening greatly exceed the cost…and the risks. Bob will focus on the possible hazards inherent in working with plants, and how to eliminate them, so you are a safe, productive gardener.

Bob has been gardening in SW Florida for 34 years and started in the horticulture business in 1972. He is a certified horticulture professional, owner of Weeds and Seeds LLC and a member of the Florida Nursery Growers, and Landscape Association (FNGLA).

FNGLA has awarded Bob the Wendell E. Butler Award in 2016, which recognizes an individual who serves FNGLA and the industry by providing leadership, service and sincere interest in the advancement of the association and the industry. Bob has taught the 16-week FNGLA Horticulture Professional class twice yearly since 1999.

To help fellow gardeners, Bob has appeared weekly on an hour-long, live radio show “Gardening in Paradise” and a local cable TV show of the same name.

Professionally, Bob works as a sales representative for Southern Agricultural Insecticides, Inc

EGWS Lecture # 5 February 8

Title: Tropical Gardening:

Pruning, Fertilizing and Pest Control

Linda Nelson, President

Greenscapes of Southwest Florida, Inc.

14370 Collier Blvd

Naples, FL 34119


No bug spray is required!  We will be taking an adventure into the use of Right Plant in the Right Place and explore pruning principles and effective fertilization requirements of our landscaping paradise. Let’s go explore!

 Linda, a third generation Florida cracker, has had the blessing of being born and raised in Naples. Landscape has always been a part of her family and as a child, it was easier to find her outside. Managing the landscape has brought Linda much enjoyment and growth over her 35 + years in the industry. She began her education at Edison State College in Business Administration and now is a licensed ISA Arborist, FNGLA Certified Horticultural Professional certificate, and is Florida certified in Best Management Practices (BMP). Linda has been a part of the instructional team at Florida Southwestern State College programs for Property Managers and Board Members, as an adjunct professor, since 2003.

EGWS Lecture # 6 February 15

Title: Orchid Tips and Tricks

Carol Holdren

AOS Accredited Orchid Judge,

Founder of Orchids.Org

751 SW 34th Ave

Boynton Beach, Fl 33435


Carol will share orchid growing tips she has learned from some of the best orchid growers around the world and provide a list of orchids that are easy to grow.

Carol Holdren is the Co-founder of orchids.org (a free website), Vice Chair of the West Palm Beach Judging Center, for the American Orchid Society, and Board Member of Flamingo Gardens Botanical Garden and Wildlife Sanctuary in Davie, FL. “Let’s Get Blooming” is a six-week orchid growing class series she facilitates at Flamingo Gardens. Carol was instrumental in forming the Orchidteers, an active volunteer group at Flamingo Gardens. The Orchidteers are responsible for placing over 5000 orchids on trees throughout the gardens.

Carol entered the American Orchid Society judging program, becoming an accredited AOS judge in 2003.  She judges orchid shows all over South Florida and internationally.

Carol’s passion and mission is to help hobbyists, societies, and the public be more knowledgeable and successful in growing orchids. Her favorite orchids are Brassavola nodosa hybrids, Arandas and miniature orchids.

EGWS Lecture # 7 February 22

Title: Planting to Attract Butterflies

Connie Nagele

Nursery Owner, Native Plant Society &

N. Am. Butterfly Assoc.

3737 Ashley Ct.

Naples, 34116


Enjoying butterflies and the flowers they need is a WIN/WIN for you!  Learn how and make it happen with the ideal plants to attract these beautiful pollinators.

Connie Nagele is an outdoor enthusiast with many interests including kayaking, fishing, wildflower, and butterfly hikes. Connie strives to create thoughtful, sustainable outdoor spaces that support a rich and diverse environment for people, plants, pollinators, and other insects.

Connie has created a Volunteer Garden Program for the Collier County Parks Department. Her teams of Volunteers maintain 4 Collier Park Pollinator Gardens and 1 Nature Trail.

Butterflies are her special joy! She created a Butterfly Count Program to invite the public to learn more about butterflies in Collier County. The program is open to the public and includes butterfly identification training courses. Butterfly counts take place twice a year in 3 of the County Parks. Data is collected and shared with the scientific community.

She is a member of the Naples Native Plant Society and the North American Butterfly Association. She has created a native garden for the Collier-Seminole State Park and has attended several NABA webinars and butterfly counts sponsored by local NABA chapters.

She is part owner of SWFL Nursery.   Along with a friend, Leslie Landert, she has combined her love of flowers and pollinators by opening this boutique nursery in our area specializing in plants that thrive in SWFL.

EGWS Lecture # 8 February 29

Title: Tillandsia and Bromeliads: Care and Propagation

Nick Ewy

Director of Collections

Naples Botanical Garden

4820 Bayshore Drive

Naples, FL 34112



This talk will focus on growing and using different types of bromeliads including terrestrial, epiphytic, full sun, shade, wet, dry…. with examples.  Nick will also discuss vegetative propagation and propagation by seed.

Ever since he was a boy growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Nick Ewy has had an interest in rare and tropical plants. Throughout his childhood, Nick was an avid plant grower, collector, and gardener. Nick started working at a rare plant nursery in high school and then went on to obtain a degree in botany and plant pathology from Michigan State University. After college, Nick worked for about a year as a lead horticulturalist at a private country club near San Diego California. Nick then moved to Florida, where he was employed at the American Orchid Society Botanical Garden in Delray Beach. He was Initially the manager of the orchid collections and greenhouses and worked up to become the Director of Horticulture for the whole garden. After the Visitor center and gardens closed its doors, Nick became a lead horticulturist at the International Polo Club in Wellington, while also building and maintaining large private gardens in palm beach county. In July 2013, Nick joined the Naples Botanical Garden as the Associate Director of Horticulture and is now the Director of Collections.

EGWS Lecture # 9 March 7

Title: A Painter’s Paradise:

Monet’s Garden at Giverny

Chris Gilbert

UF/IFAS Collier County Master Gardener & PBS Producer

685 Bow Line Dr.

Naples, FL. 34103


Liz Monti, PhD

Curatorial Research Associate, Baker Museum

5833 Pelican Bay Blvd

Naples, FL 34108


Claude Monet, founder of Impressionism, used paint to capture light and color.  His paintings of the pond at Giverny evoked a mysterious realm of reflections and shadows punctuated by bursts of color resolving into flowers and lily pads.  His work brings viewers to the heart of his garden.  What can we take away from Claude Monet, the Master Gardener?  His use of color, succession planting, massing of plants, self-seeding and the use of white are some of the important lessons.

Christopher Gilbert is a retired Emmy Award-Winning TV executive producer and director turned Master Gardener. His parents introduced him to vegetable gardening at the age of 8, and he’s been gardening in one way or another ever since. He started his TV career as a production assistant for the public television gardening classic, “The Victory Garden.” He went on to produce and direct the first commercially syndicated gardening series, “The Joy of Gardening.” He has collaborated with Burpee Seeds on several broadcast projects. Throughout his career, he’s worked with many well-known “How-To” personalities including Bob Vila and Martha Stewart. Today, he shares his passion for gardening and landscape design with anyone who will listen.

Elizabeth Monti is Curatorial Research Associate at Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum. She holds a Ph.D. in art history from The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU and has previously worked at The Met and Met Cloisters in New York. She has also taught undergraduate and graduate art history courses at NYU, Hunter College, The Pratt Institute and The Cooper Union. Most recently, at The Baker Museum, she curated Three Degrees of Separation: Artistic Connections in the Permanent Collection, and is currently co-organizing Florida Contemporary, which opens in November 2023.




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Posted: November 27, 2023

Category: Agriculture, Events, Home Landscapes, Invasive Species, Recreation, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching, , Water, Wildlife

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