2019 speaker information coming soon!

Step back in time, and step onto the Grand Island of Mackinac as you listen and learn from our inspirational speakers.

2018 Speakers

Amy Stewart ~ Grand Closing Keynote Speaker

Bestselling Author

Garden Topics:

Wicked Plants and Garden to Glass

Amy Stewart is the New York Times best-selling author of nine books, including Girl Waits with Gun and the rest of the Kopp Sisters series, which are based on the true story of one of America’s first female deputy sheriffs and her two rambunctious sisters. Her popular nonfiction titles include The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential.

You might’ve heard Amy on NPR’s Morning Edition or Fresh Air, or seen her profiled in such esteemed publications as the New York Times and Earthworm Digest. Her checkered television career includes CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, the PBS documentary The Botany of Desire, and–believe it or not– TLC’s Cake Boss. (The cake was delicious.)

Amy travels the country as a highly sought-after public speaker whose spirited lectures have inspired and entertained audiences at college campuses such as Cornell and Harvard, corporate offices like Google (where she served tequila and nearly broke the Internet), conferences and book festivals, botanical gardens, bookstores, and libraries nationwide.

Amy lives in Portland with her husband Scott Brown, a rare book dealer. They own an independent bookstore called Eureka Books, which is so independent that it lives in California while they live in Oregon.

Lisa Waud ~ Main Session Speaker

Pot & Box

Garden Topics:

Flower House: Beauty from Blight

Lisa Waud has been arranging flowers in the soil & in the vase for over 20 years—from the volcanic slopes of Hawaii, the clay garden beds of the pacific northwest, & across the state of Michigan. Lisa lives in Detroit, and when she’s not playing with flowers, you can find her scheming up field trips with her giant dog Zero, planting in her gardens, or planning explorations in other inspirational cities.

Lisa is the founder and owner of Pot & Box, a floral design and horticultural decor studio. In business for 11 years, Pot & Box has become Detroit’s well-known and sought-after studio for fresh event flowers and container gardening services, and is the  modern plant source for the city, from its mobile ice-cream-truck-turned-mobile-retail-shop to its brick and mortar store in the stunning historical fisher building.

Lisa is also the creator of flower house, a floral installation that took place in October of 2015, filling an abandoned Detroit house with American-grown fresh flowers and living plants. The project received media attention, including the New York Times, Vogue Portugal, and perhaps mostly importantly in the Petoskey News review, Lisa’s hometown. The house was deconstructed to make way for a flower farm for Pot & Box, which is in the planning stages. www.theflower.house

Detroit flower week, founded and produced by Lisa, took place over the one year anniversary of the flower house project. Learn more: detroitflowerweek.info

Jack Barnwell ~ Grand Opening Keynote Speaker

Barnwell Landscape and Garden Services

Garden Topics:

Gardening Life on Mackinac Island and the People That Make It

Jack Barnwell is an award winning garden designer, author, and owner of C3 Gardens of Southwest Florida as well as Barnwell Landscape and Garden based on the Michigan island of Mackinac. As owner of Barnwell Landscape and Garden Inc., Jack has over twenty years of experience creating breathtaking commercial and private garden displays on one of the world’s premier summer vacation destinations.

Barnwell Landscape and Garden is responsible for the annual planting and maintenance of thousands of flats of flowers. They handle complete landscape installations, and specialize in innovative annual displays in garden beds, containers, and window boxes. Plants and materials are brought to the Island by boat and moved on location by horse and bike power because of the complete motor vehicle ban on Mackinac Island. Jack has customized his work for the Southwest Florida climate and market. C3 Gardens also maintains many of their clients’ plantings by bicycle as they have found that this not only provides a more efficient means of transport, but decreases their impact on the environment.

Jack’s work has been featured in many publications, including Landscape Management magazine. As a consultant for Proven Winners, Jack contributes to the design of beautiful gardens at commercial properties all over the United States.

At the end of a long day, Jack, his wife Karen, and their two sons enjoy watching the sunset, no matter which island they are on at the time…

Zeke Cooper ~ Breakout Session Speaker

Cooper|Stewart Landscape Architecture

Garden Topics:

Designing, Implementing and Managing Amazing Landscapes!

Zeke C. Cooper is a National Award-Winning Landscape Architect based in Cherokee, North Carolina.  

Over the course of his career, Zeke has been fortunate to be able to work and learn from notable individuals and companies, such as Tom Fazio Golf Course Designers, ValleyCrest Landscape Development, Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, among others.  Currently, Zeke is a Partner & Principal at Cooper|Stewart Landscape Architecture, with his longtime business partner and mentor, Curtis E. Stewart.  

The past few years Zeke has worked on a variety of projects for high profile clients, been part of numerous National Award-Winning teams, while also being invited to speak at numerous Green Industry Events.  Within a short time, he has become a Thought Leader, Expert and Problem Solver throughout the Green Industry.  Quickly, Zeke has become a sought-after Consultant, offering different professional solutions to better your business.  His expertise includes: Creative, Sustainable Landscape Architecture & Design, Management & Organizational Structuring, Increasing Efficiency to Better Your Business and Innovative Landscape Management Plans. His company has been fortunate to provide design services for numerous botanical gardens, public/government projects and high-end resorts such as The Greenbrier Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Resort properties.

However, Zeke’s greatest accomplishments will always be becoming a husband to Krysta and father to their beautiful little girl, Granby Hattan.

Deborah Trickett ~ Breakout Session Speaker

The Captured Garden

Garden Topics:

Jaw-Dropping, Traffic-Stopping, Get-Your-Neighbors Talking Container Design

Award-winning container garden designer Deborah Trickett has worked in the gardening industry for over 30 years, starting with her first job in a greenhouse at age 13 until the present as the owner of The Captured Garden. Deborah works with clients throughout New England who want their homes to be beautiful, not typical. By combining unusual plant material and creative design ideas she creates gardens and containers that are truly one of a kind.

Deborah Trickett is a Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist, and a Massachusetts Certified Landscape Professional. Deborah is a frequent lecturer on creative container gardening, speaking at the New England Spring Flower Show, The Connecticut Flower Show, the Newport Flower Show, as well as The Philadelphia International Flower Show. She has also shared her passion for perennials at the Perennial Plant Association Annual Symposium. She also teaches classes and workshops at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, The American Gardener, Garden Gate and New England Home magazines as well as on the TV show New England Dream Home.

Kerry Ann Mendez ~ Breakout Session Speaker

Perennially Yours

Garden Topics:

Magnificent Gardens - What Can We Learn?

As an award-winning garden designer, author and lecturer, Kerry Ann Mendez focuses on time-saving gardening techniques, workhorse plants and sustainable practices. She has been on HGTV and in numerous magazines including Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Garden Gate and Better Homes & Gardens.

Kerry Ann was awarded the 2014 Gold Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society for her horticultural accomplishments. She has published four popular gardening books, her most recent being, The Budget-Wise Gardener (February 2018). In 2016 Kerry Ann introduced National Gardening Webinars that are attended by thousands.

For more about Kerry Ann visit www.pyours.com.

EXCLUSIVE ADD-ON SEMINAR!  Sunday, August 26, 2018.

1:00 – 1:30 PM  Registration

1:30 – 4:30 PM  The Budget-Wise Gardener: Plant the Best for Less! Money-Saving Tips for Purchasing Plants Plus Cost-Saving Garden Designs AND Save the Pollinators: “Attractive” Landscapes for Pollinators and Homeowners.

To register for the Sunday afternoon add-on seminar, visit Proven Winners or call Cindy at 815-899-1973.

Sarah Boynton – Special Guest!

Garden Topics:

Botanical Art

Sarah Boynton is a passionate flower show competitor, specializing in Botanical Arts and traditional flower designs. She has earned top honors in Flower Shows in Boston, Newport and Philadelphia along with numerous Artisan and Best in Show awards. Sarah is a Master Gardener who loves to be outside! While either working in her yard or walking her dog she is always on the lookout for material. She is an active member of both the Cohasset Garden Club and The Garden Club of Hingham.

Sarah’s botanical arts creations and her gardens have both been featured in several magazines. Sarah has given many workshops and lectures on techniques in Botanical Arts as well as lectures on Flower Shows, Gardening and Flower arranging all across the country.

Marshall Dirks

Proven Winners ~ Event Emcee

Marshall Dirks will bring his enthusiasm, humor and 20+ years of experience with Proven Winners products to “center stage” at our 2018 Grand Garden Show.  As the second employee hired by Proven Winners, he is excellent at keeping all of our speakers on their toes and on time! Technically in charge of marketing and public relations, all the plant geeks who surround him have turned him into a passionate gardener!