Speaker Program – 2023

2023 Speakers Profiles:

March 22nd  -  Helen Battersby

Helen is a grad of the Landscape Design program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson), and has over 18 years as a volunteer Toronto Master Gardener. She also serves on the board of GardenComm, the Association for Garden Communicators. You’ll find her words and images in print and online media such as Garden Making and
Her talk will turn notions of what “ornamental” means upside-down and introduce you to unusual plants you can safely eat (or not!). This colourful presentation will get you thinking about your garden and edible plants in exciting new ways. Helen will help you to integrate beautiful edibles and edible beauty into your flower beds, vegetable patch, and menu – no matter how large your garden space!

April 26th - Ingrid Janssen

Ingrid Janssen is a horticulturist, speaker, blogger and master gardener. She has been gardening for most of her life and is a passionate, some would say “crazy gardener”. How else to describe someone who plants bulbs despite 15cm. of snow! She has both ornamental and food production gardens on her country property and has been a dedicated native plant gardener for over 30 years.
Her talk will address gardening as a life-long passion, but as our bodies age it may not always be the pleasure it once was. In her talk, she will explore ways to continue to derive pleasure from gardening activities, with some tips and tricks to make it easier on our bodies.

May 24th -  Tena van Andel

Tena van Andel has volunteered with the Toronto Master Gardeners since 2003. She writes and lectures on anything gardening.   Yet, if you ask her favourites -- orchids, large trees and the exotic bring a special gleam to her eye.  Her latest adventures include rewilding a 19th century Northern Ontario farm and teaching a functional fitness class just for gardeners. 
Orchids are one of the most popular and exotic houseplants today.  But it’s still a little scary - how do we look after these beautiful plants?  Can we get them to flower again?  Join Tena as she regales the history of orchid collecting, the fascinating pollination practices and most importantly, care tips that are guaranteed to turn a daunting diva into a humble houseplant! 

​June 28th - Stephen Wu

A registered physiotherapist and clinical director at Kinnext Health, Stephen started off his career with high performance and professional athletes. He then transitioned to the general orthopaedic population who are interested in maintaining a healthy active lifestyle. With two master’s degrees, he also teaches the physiotherapy program at University of Toronto and Queen’s University.
Movement and exercise is linked to decreased risk of a vast majority of chronic illnesses, cardiovascular disease, mental health disorders, and cancer. What better way to get your exercise than while raising plants, vegetation and flowers? Stephen will focus his talk on gardening as a wonderful way to slow things down in our chaotic world! 

July 26th - Leah Taylor Roy MP

​Leah was elected to the riding of Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill as a member of the Liberal Party in the 2021 federal election. She graduated as an Ontario Scholar from Newmarket High School, attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto where she received a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance. She then went on to Harvard University where, she graduated with a Master's of Public Policy.  She has a strong interest in environmental protection and as such sits on the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.
Leah will be bringing her expertise from her agricultural and environmental committees in Ottawa to discuss the future and how it pertains to gardening and farming in the future.

September 27th - Molly Shannon
Michael is currently a member of Milne House Garden Club, the Garden Club of Toronto, and heads up the Greater Toronto Bulb Society. He has co-authored books on perennial gardening and indoor gardening. He tends hundreds of houseplants, including camellias and orchids.
Michael will give an overview of optimal conditions for growing houseplants, followed by discussion of plant problems based on live specimens/photos provided by members, with recommendations on how to address the issues.

October 25th - Michael Erdman

​Molly is the owner and operator of the small business Canadian Succulents.
Canadian Succulents creates floral arrangements using entirely succulent and cacti plants. She operates out of a greenhouse in Uxbridge, where they grow over 300 varieties of succulents and cacti. They grow and create these designs for wedding centrepieces and favours, gifting, corporate events, and hotel and office greenery.
Molly’s presentation will highlight indoor container gardening with a variety of tropical/tender succulent species. She will also provide information on growing hardy perennial succulents outdoors in Ontario, and how to successfully propagate succulent plants.

​Dates and Topics

February 22             Orientation Meeting                            Topic:  Flower show awards ceremony

March 22                  Speaker:  Helen Battersby                  Topic:  Designing with Edible Plants

                                                                                                                - A fresh look at a growing trend

April 26                     Speaker:  Ingrid Janssen                     Topic:  The Aging Gardener: Gardening in our

                                                                                                               Golden Years

                                                                                                               Flower Show

May 24                      Speaker:  Tena van Andel                  Topic:  The Orchid: Evocative Evolutionary, 

                                                                                                               Daunting Diva or Humble Houseplant

                                                                                                               Flower Show

June 28                      Speaker:  Stephen Wu                        Topic:  Pain Free Gardening

                                                                                                               Flower Show


July 26                       Speaker:  Leah Taylor Roy MP           Topic:  Town Hall discussion on Biodiversity

                                                                                                               Flower Show


September  27         Speaker:  Molly Shannon                   Topic:  Succulent Gardening for Beginners

                                                                                                                Flower Show

October 25               Speaker:  Michael Erdman                 Topic:  House Plant Clinic

                                                                                                                Flower Show