Garden Visions 2016 - Speakers


Kerry Ann Mendez

Design Tips for Knockout, Easy-Care Gardens with Great Curb Appeal


Kerry Ann Mendez is dedicated to teaching the art of low-maintenance perennial gardening and landscaping. As a garden designer, author and lecturer, she focuses on time-saving gardening techniques, workhorse plants and sustainable practices. She has been featured 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, an honorary medal presented to those who have made significant contributions to the enjoyment and appreciation of plants and the environment. She has published three popular gardening books, her most recent The Right-Size Garden, featuring exceptional plants and design tips for time-pressed and aging gardeners, was released in February 2015. For more about Kerry Ann, and her business Perennially Yours, visit her website

Megan Cain

University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum


10 Mistakes I Made in My Vegetable Garden So You Don’t Have To & Plan Your Garden So You Can Eat Locally All Year

Megan Cain is setting out to create a legion of gardening addicts that successfully and passionately grow their own food. Through her gardening education business, The Creative Vegetable Gardener, she helps people get more from their gardens by first mastering the essentials and then indulging in the colorful details that make gardening not just a favorite pastime, but a lifestyle.

Molly Fifield-Murray

University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum


Gardening for Part Sun and Part Shade with Native Plants

Molly Fifield-Murray is the outreach and education manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum. She has a master’s degree in landscape architecture, studying with Darrel Morrison. Molly has taught landscape restoration and design including Rain Gardening, Savanna Restoration, Landscape Design, Landscaping for Birds, and Gardening for Pollinators.

Brent Hanson

Owner of Hanson’s Garden Village


Singing in the Rain – Wisconsin Rain Gardens

Brent Hanson, along with his wife Sue, own and operate Hanson’s Garden Village in Rhinelander, WI. Started over 30 years ago, Hanson’s Garden Village is a full service garden center and nursery focused on both wholesale and retail growing of annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, and native plants. It is well known for its’ wide selection of plant material. With Brent as the driving force, Hanson’s Garden Village has become a regional leader in native lakeshore restorations, vegetative erosion control and production of local-ecotype native plants. Brent also holds patents on several popular perennials that are marketed worldwide. After graduation from UW-Stevens Point, Brent has mostly learned real-life horticultural lessons through the daily challenge of greenhouse/nursery work, and landscaping and restoration work.

Karen S. Oberhauser

University of Minnesota Dept. of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Dwindling numbers for an iconic insect: What can YOU do?


Karen Oberhauser is a Professor at the University of Minnesota, where she and her students conduct research on several aspects of monarch butterfly ecology. Her research depends on traditional lab and field techniques, as well as the contributions of a variety of audiences through citizen science. Her strong interest in promoting a citizenry with a high degree of scientific and environmental literacy led to the development of a science education program that involves courses for teachers, and opportunities for youth to engage in research and share their findings with broad audiences. In 1996, she started a nationwide Citizen Science project called the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which continues to engage hundreds of volunteers. Karen is passionate about the conservation of the world’s biodiversity, and believes that the connections her projects promote between monarchs, humans, and the natural world promote meaningful conservation action. She is the chair of the Monarch Joint Joint Venture, and a founding officer of the Monarch Butterfly Fund. In 2013, Karen received a White House Champion of Change award for her work with Citizen Science.

Johanna Oosterwyk

DC Smith Greenhouse Manager - UW-Madison Department of Horticulture

Introduction to Season Extension Techniques and Technology


Johanna Oosterwyk is the manager of the DC Smith Greenhouse and a horticulture instructor at UW-Madison. She specializes in ornamental plants and growing in controlled environments.

Michelle Ovans

Ovans Peony Farm


Passion for Peonies

Come and be inspired to grow peonies. The owner of Ovans Peony Farm, Michelle Ovans, is a specialty cut flower grower. She started her peony farm in 2009. The farm specializes in growing florist grade cut flowers for do-it-yourself brides, florist and the wholesale flower market. The farm has over 600 peonies with around 45 different varieties with more being added each year. Over 80% of flowers that are purchased through floral shops and grocery stores, come from South America. Ovans Peony Farm is a proud local grower producing over 2,000 stems yearly.

Faye Ryszkiewicz

Fryszki’s Country Gardens LLC


Grow Edibles without a Garden & Cottage Garden Design

Faye Ryszkiewicz is the owner of Fryszki’s Country Gardens LLC, located in Caryville. Greenhouse work was not a life long aspiration; rather was inspired by taking a part time greenhouse job which developed over time into owning and operating her own greenhouse business. To enhance her greenhouse work experience, she earned associate degrees from Chippewa Valley Technical College in Marketing, Business Management and Landscape, Plant and Turf Management in addition to the Computer Information Systems Programmer/Analyst degree she earned years earlier, which was her career prior to being introduced to the wonderful world of plants.

Mary Stewart

Goin' To Pot Orchids & Repotting

Growing Orchids Successfully 101 and Growing House Plants, The Basics 101


Mary Stewart dba Goin’ To Pot Orchids & repotting Srv has grown plants for fifty five years orchids for thirty one. Landscape design in her thirties, interior design in her forties. GTPO offers hands on classes, seminars, work shops, staging for parties, private truck shows on orchids and house plants throughout the Midwest. Her passion for plants and life are well known, enjoy a lively informative class, learn how to grow successfully.

Stan Tekiela

State Field Guide Author

Amazing Hummingbirds, Unique images and Characteristics

Naturalist, wildlife photographer and writer Stan Tekiela is the originator of the popular state-specific field guides such as Birds of (state name) Field Guide, Wildflowers of (state name), and Trees of (state name). Over the past three decades Stan has authored more than 130 field guides, nature appreciation books and wildlife audio CDs for nearly every state in the nation, presenting many species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, trees, wildflowers and cacti.

Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural History from the University of Minnesota and as an active professional naturalist for more than 25 years, Stan studies and photographs wildlife throughout the United States and has received various national and regional awards for his books and photographs.

Also a well-known columnist and radio personality, his syndicated column appears in over 20 newspapers and his wildlife programs are broadcast on a number of Midwest radio stations. He is a member of the North American Nature Photography Association and Canon Professional Services along with many other professional organizations.

Mary Claire Vullings

Evolutions in Design


Flower Arranging with the Unusual

Mary Claire Vullings worked 34 years in her family's flower shop. When her father passed away the shop closed and she went to Randy Verhaaselt at Evolutions, where she's been flower arranging the past 11 years. Mary Claire has done flower arranging demos for the YWCA Garden Club, Leigh Yawkey Woodsen Art Museum and Evolutions.

Paul Whitaker

Professor at UW Marathon County


Weed Identification and Life Histories are Keys to Better Weed Control

Paul is a Professor of Biological Sciences at UW Marathon County, with graduate degrees in entomology and a plant sciences minor from UW-Madison. At UWMC, he has taught botany, ecology, animal biology, entomology, and an interdisciplinary course on organic agriculture. He has made numerous presentations for master gardeners, garden clubs, community garden groups, and at organic farming conferences. In addition, he serves on as board secretary and member of the Grounds Committee for the Monk Botanical gardens in Wausau. In the summer, he can often be found in his large vegetable garden, admiring the incredible survival and reproductive strategies of weeds and insects before deciding to dispatch them or, in some cases, letting them live.

Richard Witt

Retired UW-Eau Claire Professor


Shade Gardening with Hosta

Richard Witt, a retired mathematics professor from UW-Eau Claire, attributes his interest in plants and flower gardens to his mother and mother-in-law. Both loved working in their sunny gardens and happily shared plants. Unfortunately, because Dick and his wife Karen moved to a property within an oak woods, the sun loving plants did not thrive, (few survived), and they had to learn to garden in the shade.
The Witts have lived in their home for 40 plus years and "got serious" about gardenting with Hostas 30 years ago. They actually started with two transplants that they thought were some kind of lily, noting that the plants not only lived but were thriving in a shaded area. That observation initiated what has grown, almost exponentially, into a Hosta obsession. The American Hosta Association, AHS, on it's website, includes data about the Witt garden and the approximately 1400 different Hosta cultivars as well as companion plants.

Rob Zimmer

Owner of Rob Zimmer Outdoors

VERTICAL FLAIR: Designing and Gardening with Ornamental Grasses


Rob Zimmer, owner of Rob Zimmer Outdoors, Appleton, is an award winning nature and garden writer and photographer with over 20 years of writing and public speaking experience. His work is featured locally in all 10 Gannett Wisconsin Media newspapers, as well as in many regional and national publications including Wisconsin Gardening, Bird Watcher's Digest, Wisconsin Natural Resources, Country Journal, Wildlife Conservation, Silent Sports, Michigan Out of Doors, Birds & Blooms and more. He is the author of a series of nature and garden books that will be available soon.
Find him on Facebook!