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Instructor Bios

Kristina Aguilar

Kristina Aguilar is a native of northern New Jersey and first learned about plant record keeping while interning at the New York Botanical Garden during her college winter breaks.  After graduating from Cornell University, she continued gaining experience in plant collection management at the University of Delaware Botanic Gardens and Mt. Cuba Center. In 2006, Kristina joined the staff at Longwood Gardens, where she continues the legacy of plant record keeping while using technology to better share plant collection information with staff, students, and guests.

Chris Ahmed

Chris Ahmed is a passionate aquarium hobbyist, consultant, and a brand representative. With over 65,000 followers on his popular Instagram account, @shrimpery, his work has been featured by Business Insider, Practical Fishkeeping Magazine, and Aquarium Hobbyist Magazine. A full-time MD student and clinical researcher, Chris is a native of South Alabama who has resided in Philadelphia since 2012. Chris lives with his wife and dog in the East Passyunk neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Shipley Allinson, APLD, PCH

Shipley was in practice as a professional landscape designer from 1980 until retiring in 2016. He studied Landscape Architecture and Plant Science at the University of Delaware where he received his Bachelor of Agriculture, Plant Science degree. He has been designing beautiful gardens and outdoor living spaces throughout his career in the tri-state area. His garden designs are crafted to serve the specific needs of his clients and are customized to utilize the natural assets of each unique site. His private garden in Kennett Square, Pa, has been featured on many private garden tours sponsored by Longwood Gardens, the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association, The Tyler Arboretum, The Scott Arboretum, and Fine Gardening magazine.

Geoffrey L. Anderson

Geoffrey L. Anderson, RLA, LEED AP, is a principal with the landscape architectural firm Robinson, Anderson, Summers, Inc. (formerly Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects). Geoff has over 25 years of experience designing public and private gardens, historic landscapes, and urban spaces. He received his B.S. in Horticulture from North Carolina State University, and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

Andy Bale

Andy received his MFA from the University of Delaware in 2005, and his BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1994. He has been a full-time Lecturer of Photography at Dickinson College since 2013, and served as an adjunct professor of Photography prior to that from 2005 until 2012. His photographs are included in the permanent collections of Caisse d'Epargne in Toulouse, the Photomedia Center and Messiah College in Pennsylvania, and at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

Kris Barry

Kristin Barry currently operates her family business, Groff's Plant Farm, with her husband Jonathan in Kirkwood, PA. Before returning home, Kris worked in ornmental flower breeding at Pan American Seed in Chicago, IL, and cotton breeding in Lubbock, TX. She received a Ph.D. in environmental horticulture from the University of Florida. She has two elementary age children, two large dogs and several chickens.

Susan Barton

Dr. Susan Barton earned her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware and has worked there as an extension specialist and associate professor for over 30 years. Her projects include researching and implementing new roadside vegetation management strategies and the Plants for a Livable Delaware Program, which was designed to provide alternatives to known invasive plants. Susan promotes sustainable initiatives by teaching both students and professionals.

Alisha Simone Bell

Alisha Simone Bell, AIFD, is a member of the prestigious American Institute of Floral Designers and the owner of Alisha Simone LLC, a couture event floral and decor studio. Throughout her 20 years in the floral industry, Alisha has been an adjunct professor of "Floral Design" for Mercer County College, participated in numerous featured designs at the Philadelphia Flower Show, was head designer for celebrity event planner David Tutera, as well as produced designs for White House events and many celebrities including Soledad O'Brien, Jenifer Lopez and Beyonce.

Nancy Bell

Nancy Bell is the Education and Garden Coach Coordinator at Gateway Garden Center in Hockessin, DE. She has developed a lifelong fascination and passion for all things nature into a career in horticulture. She is an avid Master Gardener who has created many workshops such as Landscaping with Ornamental Grasses and Gardening for Wildlife. Her own yard is certified as a Backyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. She has completed Certificate of Merit in Ornamental Plants Series I and II and Landscape Design at Longwood Gardens. Nancy is the former host of the Garden Clinic on WDEL in Wilmington, DE.

Daniel Benarcik

Daniel Benarcik is a native of Wilmington, Delaware, and was raised in a family-owned retail florist business. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware. He gained horticulture experience at the Mt. Cuba Center and Imperial Nursery, and currently works at Chanticleer, an innovative public garden for both plants and design. He has taught classes for the Delaware Center for Horticulture, The Scott Arboretum, and the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, and lectures frequently to garden clubs, arboreta, and horticulture institutions around the country.

Kevin Bielicki

Kevin Bielicki currently serves as the Bonsai Curator for Longwood Gardens. He is responsible for maintaining and growing the collection that consists of over 50 trees. He works to expand the collection by increasing the variety and quality of trees available to the public while refining the current trees. He intends to build more public interest through this growing collection combined with rotating themed exhibits. Prior to this role he assisted in the maintenance for The Kennett Collection, a private bonsai garden, for over 12 years. Here he gained his experience and knowledge from internationally renowned bonsai masters. He holds his MFA in sculpture from IUPUI and a Minor in Art History from the University of Delaware.

James Bobb

Jim Bobb has served as president of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association and as chairman of the board for the Eastern Apiculture Society. Jim enjoys horticulture and plant identification walks, volunteers at apiaries in arboreta and public gardens, and assists others to get started in the wonderful hobby of keeping bees.

Will Brown

Chef Will Brown strives to combine classical French and modern techniques as well as incorporating local and seasonal ingredients in his menus. Attention to sustainable seafood and ethical food products are also at his forefront. An avid gardener himself, he loves creating dishes that focus on pure flavors and incorporating fresh herbs and edible flowers whenever possible.

Sue Burke

Sue Burke began writing professionally as a teenager for her local newspaper. By then she was also an avid science fiction fan. She has worked for newspapers and magazines as a reporter and editor, and began publishing fiction in 1995. She has also published essays, poetry, and translations, and taught English to Spanish teenagers in Madrid, Spain.

Vanessa Casper

Originally from Vermillion, SD, Vanessa Casper earned a bachelor’s degree at Southwest Minnesota State University and began her pastry training at the Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis, MN. In 2017 Vanessa joined the Restaurant Associates team at Longwood Gardens. As the Pastry Chef, she is responsible for overseeing all pastry production at Longwood Gardens including 1906, the Café, and catering. Vanessa has always been committed to teaching others while serving high quality, fresh, locally sourced food using the best products at the height of their season.

Young Choe

Kusamono artist Young Choe studied traditional art-ink painting and calligraphy in her native Korea before she moved to the United States. She obtained her BS in Horticulture from the University of Maryland. While volunteering at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, she was able to bring her artistic talent together with her knowledge of horticulture to create Kusamono. She traveled to Japan to study this unique art form with the master Kusamono artist, Keiko Yamane, a former student of Saburo Kato. Young currently works at the US National Arboretum.

Roseann Christian

Roseann Christian is a graduate of Longwood Gardens Certificate of Merit in Floral Design.  She is a member of the Garden Club of America and a candidate in the GCA Judging Program. Her designs have won awards at Club, Zone, and Philadelphia Flower Shows. She owns a small floral design business, providing floral creations for weddings and events. She has been a volunteer for several years in Longwood's Continuing Education Department, primarily in Floral Design classes. Roseann is currently pursuing a Certificate of Merit in Ornamental Horticulture at Longwood Gardens.

Louise Clarke

Louise Clarke is the horticulturist in charge of The Morris Arboretum's 65-acre Bloomfield Farm, home to more than 1,200 woody plants and over 6,000 square feet of green roofs. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Horticulture from Temple University and an MBA from DeSales University. As a Garden Writers Association member, she teaches workshops and lectures on numerous horticultural topics. After hours she tends Halcyon, her lush home garden, a mixture of tender tropicals, bulbs, perennials, unusual annuals and vines.

Ashley Clayton

Ashley Clayton earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Horticulture from Clemson University. She expanded her horticulture experience through internships at Mt. Cuba Center, Longwood Gardens, and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Currently, Ashley is one of Longwood Gardens’ Research Specialists who manages the tissue culture lab, soil lab, and experimental greenhouses. When she is not looking through a microscope or researching the mysteries of nature, she can be found dabbling in a new craft project.

Theresa Clower

Theresa Clower, AIFD, is Owner and Lead Designer of THERESA Floral Design, a special event design studio established in 1996 and located in Newark, Delaware. Theresa's work has been seen in many of the area's most prestigious venues including Winterthur Estate and Gardens, Hotel du Pont, the DuPont Country Club, Franklin Institute, the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts, and the Barnes Foundation Museum, among others. She is a multiple award winner at the Philadelphia Flower Show and has ranked among the top five percent of wedding floral designers in the country for the fifth consecutive year. Theresa is a long-time student of ikebana, the Japanese art of floral design, and is working toward her teaching certification in this discipline.

Rosemary Connelly

Rosemary Connelly studied fine art and graphic design at Mesa Community College and Arizona State University. She worked for over 20 years as a graphic designer. She spent two years living in Italy where she painted and journaled extensively. Rosemary has been practicing watercolor journaling for over 10 years and has been teaching workshops since 2009, throughout Delaware and in locations around the country. Rosemary is a member of the Mispillion and Rehoboth Art Leagues, Urban Sketchers and is a founding member of Sketchers Delaware.

Alexandria Correia

Alex is a horticulturist in the Philadelphia region. She has a background in organic agriculture and was trained in ornamental horticulture at Longwood Gardens. Vegetable growing was her first love of gardening and she enjoys incorporating edibles and cut flowers into ornamental displays.

Jon Cox

Jon Cox is an assistant professor in the Department of Art at the University of Delaware and Board Member of the Dorobo Fund for Tanzania. Cox's latest published work was a six-year documentary book project with hunter-gatherers in Tanzania titled Hadzabe, By the Light of a Million Fires. To learn more about the Dorobo Fund and the book go to http://www.dorobofund.org. Cox has directed twenty photographic study abroad programs across the globe including destinations to Antarctica, South East Asia, Tanzania, Australia, Tasmania and several countries in South America. He was a pioneer in the field of digital photography, served as the adventure photographer/writer for Digital Camera Magazine and authored two Amphoto digital photography books. Cox is the 2014 co-recipient of a National Geographic—Genographic Legacy Fund Grant to support his current cultural mapping initiative with the Ese'Eja hunter-gatherers living in the Amazonia basin of Peru. http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/12/the-eseeja-from-a-cotton-thread-in-the-sky-to-protectors-of-the-amazon/

Charles Cresson

Charles Cresson is a consulting horticulturist, writer, and avid gardener. Hedgleigh Spring, his personal garden in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, is known for its collections of rare plants, including many bulbs. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from the University of Vermont, studied at the University of Bath in England, and worked for the Royal Horticultural Society Garden at Wisley. Charles is the author of three books: Ornamental Trees; Rock Gardening; and Charles Cresson on the American Flower Garden.

William Cullina

William (Bill) G. Cullina became the the F. Otto Haas Executive Director of the Morris Arboretum in July 2019, and served as the President and CEO of the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden from 2011. During his tenure at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, Bill led the development of a 20-year master plan and launched a $50 million capital campaign to develop the first phase of the Master Plan. Cullina is a recognized authority on North American native plants. He lectures on a variety of subjects to garden and professional groups, and writes for popular and technical journals, and has published several books.

David Culp

David Culp is a well-known gardener, past president of the Hardy Plant Society, and a vice president with Sunny Border Nurseries, Inc., the largest perennial grower on the East Coast. David lectures throughout the United States, contributes articles to a variety of horticulture magazines, and has taught at Longwood for many years. He has received numerous awards, including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society's Award of Merit, and the 2014 Perennial Plant Association's Media Award. His book, The Layered Garden, was named overall book of the year by the Garden Writers Association.

Tanner Delvalle

Tanner Delvalle is a Commercial Horticulture Educator with Penn State Cooperative Extension for both Schuylkill and Berks Counties. His major focus areas include green industry, turf maintenance, weed control, vegetables, fruit, berries, and Christmas tree production. He received an M.S. in Agronomy from Penn State, a B.S. in Turfgrass Science from Penn State, and an A.A.S. in Logistics from the Community College of the Air Force. Tanner's professional experience includes golf course maintenance, a sales consultant for a green industry supplier, director of a lawn care company, and six years in the U.S. Air National Guard.

Frank DePietro

Frank DePietro is a realist painter living in Kennett Square, PA. He received his Bachelor of Art from Bloomsburg University and later studied at several art institutions in Philadelphia. He exhibits his work both locally and nationally, and has received various awards for his painting. Frank has instructed courses at many Greater Philadelphia art centers, Moore College of Art and Design, and currently teaches landscape painting at the Delaware Museum of Art.

Robert Dougan

Robert Dougan is a graduate of Temple University and has been concentrating on trees for his entire career. He works as grounds supervisor for Jeanes Hospital, where he cares for over 700 trees on a 34-acre campus in Northeast Philadelphia. Robert also teaches classes on Woody Plant ID, Residential Landscape Design, and Landscape Maintenance at Temple University. He has also presented programs on Tree Identification for the Penn-Del chapter of the ISA, the Montgomery County Penn State Cooperative Extension, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and Tyler Arboretum.

Anne Eder

Anne Eder is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose work takes place in the intersection where the natural world meets the narrative impulse. Interested in the ways in which nature inspires our core mythologies and folktales, her work includes sculpture in various media, alternative process photographs, and short stories. Her fantastical creations, created using plant and other natural materials, can often be found in public green spaces in the Boston area where she lives with her fabulous chihuahua, The Brain. She is currently faculty at Harvard University in the Harvard Ceramics Program and at Penumbra Foundation in New York City.

Maria Fadiman

Maria is an associate professor in the department of Geosciences at Florida Atlantic University and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She researches the human/environmental aspect of conservation throughout the globe, focusing on the rainforests of Latin America and the Savanna in Africa. She loves teaching and won the Excellence and Innovation in Undergraduate Teaching award and was a finalist for the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award. She received her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University, and a B.A. from Vassar College.

Tim Farrell

Tim Farrell, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, is a retail florist from Drexel Hill, PA. Tim has owned and operated Farrell's Florist since 1983 and is very active in the floral industry. He is a member of the prestigious Teleflora Design Team, teaching retailers across the United States, and is an educator at the Teleflora Education Center in Oklahoma City, OK. His work has been featured many times on the cover and in feature articles for FLOWERS& Magazine. Tim has designed for presidential inaugurations and Congressional receptions in Washington, DC. He has been designing flowers for the Academy Awards in Los Angeles since 2005, and represented the United States in the Teleflorist World Cup Competition in Tokyo, Japan, in 2007.

Carol Gangemi

Carol Gangemi is a former professional graphic designer and illustrator and a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists. She has exhibited and sold her work in galleries and at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and has instructed art classes at the University of Delaware, Wilmington University, and Moore College of Art and Design.

Darcie Garcia, AIFD, CFD

As a 25-year veteran of the floral industry, Darcie Garcia has led design teams, shared her talents with audiences and continued to educate herself by learning from seasoned industry experts. For the last 23 years she has been the Head Designer at RichMar florist in Allentown, PA. In 2015, Ms. Garcia successfully completed the Professional Floral Design Evaluation and was invited to join the prestigious American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). She has participated in award-winning exhibits both at the Philadelphia Flower Show and on the Designer Studio stage there.

Karl Gercens

Karl Gercens, Conservatory Manager, is responsible for many of the changing displays in the Longwood conservatories. Originally from the Mississippi Delta, Karl has worked at Walt Disney World in Florida and Filoli Estate in California to experience horticulture from coast to coast! Karl has worked in the Conservatory for a third of his life and has visited hundreds of gardens in all 50 states. Karl catalogs his inspiration and ideas for classes at his website, www.KarlGercens.com.

Adam Glas

Adam Glas is currently a gardener at The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College. There he has been overseeing and performing the renovation of the Dean Bond Rose Garden. His is also primary caretaker of the International Clematis trial and the American Rose Trials for Sustainability program and trial. Glas also cares for the Arboretum's espalier collection. Prior to joining the gardening staff at Scott, he was the nursery manager at a local garden center. He is a graduate of the Professional Gardener class of 2006 and studied Horticulture and Landscape Design at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He is the current president of the Professional Gardener Alumni Assocation (PGAA) and vice president of the board at Chenoa Manor.

Jane Godshalk

Jane Godshalk, AIFD, is an exciting and internationally recognized floral designer with a uniquely American style, fresh and uncomplicated. Her new book, Flower Arranging Secrets—Natural Designs for Everyday Living, demystifies the art of floral design in an environmentally friendly way. Jane has been recognized with a National Medal in Flower Arranging from the Garden Club of America, as well as the American Horticultural Society honor for outstanding floral design education. She has represented the United States in the Chelsea Flower Show (London) and the World Association of Flower Arrangers (Dublin), and is a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD).

Mark Gormel

Mark Gormel is a frequent lecturer, professional photographer, and native plant consultant, with an emphasis on the design, installation and management of native plant wildflower meadows. Since 1990 he has been Horticultural Coordinator for the Brandywine Conservancy & Brandywine River Museum of Art, where he is responsible for the native plant horticulture programs that take place on the Chadds Ford, PA campus.

Richard Greenwood

Richard Greenwood is a fine arts photographer whose repertoire spans from macrophotography to landscapes. A photographer for over 45 years, he continues to grow and explore new modes of photographic expression. Frequently combining photography and writing assignments, his works are featured in magazines, galleries, and homes throughout the northeast.

Greg Griffis

Greg Griffis graduated with a degree in Music Education from West Chester University. He attended the 2010 Longwood Orchid Show where he purchased his first orchid. One plant quickly became twenty or so, and before long he was hooked. In 2010 he visited Parkside Orchid Nursery for the first time, and by Summer 2011 he was working part time for Tom Purviance and John Salventi. He studied under their tutelage while working for them, and when they sold the nursery in 2012, he was hired by the new owners as the Grower and Manager. He managed Parkside for one year, before leaving to grow orchids in Hawaii. He worked for Hilo Orchid Farm for more than a year, spending a large amount of time working with Paphiopedilum, as well as Intergeneric Oncidiinae and Miltoniopsis. At the beginning of 2015, Greg was hired as the orchid grower at Longwood Gardens.

Bob Gross

Having graduated with a degree in Visual Communications, Bob has 30 years of experience as a professional designer, photographer, and instructor. He's conducted classes and workshops ranging from beginner photography to advanced computer imaging. Currently, Bob is also serving as an adjunct professor at Drexel University, where he teaches a graduate course in biomedical photography. Bob loves creating images of nature, landscapes, and wildlife; but what really excites him is seeing a student's eyes light up when they say, "Wow, NOW I get it!"

Zach Hammaker

Zach Hammaker is the owner and principal landscape designer of ZH Design. He completed his education at Penn State University earning a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Contracting's Design/Build concentration, and a minor in Horticulture. After graduation, he moved to the Delaware Valley to work with Terrain at Styers before starting his own business in 2012 in Media, PA. Zach is the past president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD), PA-DE chapter. He is currently working on a dual Masters Degree from University of Pennsylvania in Landscape Architecture and City Planning.

Harriet Henderson

Harriet Henderson is a principal of Cushing & Henderson, a landscape architecture firm in Unionville, PA. She received a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University, was awarded the William F. Dreer Award for work/study of garden design during two years in Kyoto, Japan, and received a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Her residential and institutional landscape architecture practice emphasizes connections with horticulture and architecture, with design ranging from formal to naturalistic, and Western to Asian. She has taught a History of Gardens course at the Barnes Foundation for over 20 years, and has lectured widely on garden design topics at Haverford College, Morris Arboretum, Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, University of Pennsylvania, and other eastern arboreta and colleges.

Lauren Hill

Lauren Hill has been a part of the indoor display team at Longwood for five years. A graduate of Penn College, Lauren majored in Floral Design and Interior Plantscaping, which has helped train her eye for floral design and display in Longwood's Orangery and Exhibition Hall. Throughout the year Lauren changes the displays in the Conservatory to reflect the seasons and always works to maximize the design.

Robin Irizarry

Robin Irizarry is the Philadelphia Watershed Coordinator for the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership. He holds a degree in Landscape Architecture from the Temple University School of Environmental Design. He has worked as a landscape designer for Land Stewards Ecological Landscape Design in Bucks County and has served as a teaching assistant in several of Temple University's Master of Landscape Architecture studios. In his free time he enjoys drawing and wood carving and is the Owner/Craftsman of Fiddlehead Toys.

Steven Ittel

Steve Ittel started studying bonsai as a student of Dennis Donald over twenty years ago. He is a member of the Brandywine Bonsai Society and runs their web site. In addition to tending his bonsai collection, he also makes bonsai pottery and works with Longwood's bonsai collection.

Jeffrey Jabco

Jeff Jabco holds an M.S. in Horticulture and Plant Pathology from North Carolina State University. He is the Director of Grounds and Coordinator of Horticulture for the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College, teaches botany in Longwood's Certificate of Merit in Ornamental Horticulture Program, and is also an instructor in Longwood's Professional Horticulture Program. He frequently lectures on sustainability and gardens, serves on the council for the International Clematis Society, and is vice-president and co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic Peony Society. Jeff was named Teacher of the Year in 2009 by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Tim Jennings

Tim Jennings is a graduate of Longwood's Professional Gardener Training Program and is the Senior Gardener responsible for Longwood's outdoor Waterlily Display, Fern Passage, and Rose House. Tim teaches several popular water gardening courses at Longwood Gardens and can answer almost any question on waterlilies! Tim also serves as a lab instructor for various plant identification classes.

Patrick Joyce

Patrick Joyce is the Nursery Manager at Longwood Gardens. He oversees the woody plant production and procurement for the Gardens. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from West Virginia University and has been working in the Nursery Industry for over 11 years. When he isn’t working with plants he enjoys traveling, the outdoors, and being with his family. 

Nancy Kane

Nancy Kane is a Floriculture Manager at Longwood Garden, responsible for the Fruit Houses, Estate and Lower Production Greenhouses. Nancy has worked part-time as a horticulturist and served as the director of a program in Philadelphia for preschoolers with disabilities. She is a Christmas mentor and member of the Floriculture Research Committee at Longwood, a graduate of Certificates of Merit in Ornamental Plants: Series I and II, and has taught classes in the making of hanging baskets and living wreaths.

Martha Keen

Martha is a 2016 graduate of the Professional Gardener Program at Longwood Gardens, where she received the Wilhelmina du Pont Ross Award for student work that best exemplifies high standards of display. Previously, Martha has worked as a gardener in the historic restorations of the Frederick Law Olmsted landscape at Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn, NY, and as a collaborator with Apiary Studio Landscape Architecture in Philadelphia, PA. Martha holds a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM. She is currently the horticulturist and landscape manager at Wyck Historic House in Germantown, Philadelphia, the oldest rose garden in its original plan in the United States, which was created and preserved by a legacy of gardeners—all of whom were women.

Rose Kramer

Rose graduated from Penn State University with a chemical engineering technology degree and worked in the pharmaceutical industry. While taking a few years off from her career to raise her children, her love of textiles took off. First came textile workshops, then handmade felt, and finally she blended textile making to her love of gardening with her latest series of classes on natural dyeing and eco-printing.

Brian Kunkel

Brian graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology and continued his education in turfgrass entomology at the University of Kentucky (M.S.) and The Ohio State University (Ph.D.). He was the research entomologist for TruGreen ChemLawn South region prior to their closing of the research division. Now he is the ornamentals IPM extension specialist at the University of Delaware. Many projects have examined insecticide efficacy and others have focused on host plant selection, biological control, or cultural control of various pests.

Donni LaBrake

Donni LaBrake is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Art and Design. She pursued a speciality in watercolor and enjoyed a career as a free-lance commercial artist. In past years she created and sold wildlife paintings. For many years she has specialized in botanical art. Donni was invited to participate in the 11th Annual Exhibition of Botanical art at the Hunt Institute in Pittsburgh and subsequently received a formal request to have one of her paintings for inclusion in The Hunt's permanent collection. For the past 15 years she has exhibited at the annual Philadelphia Flower Show.

Ginny Levy

Ginny Levy worked in the Horticulture Division of Longwood Gardens for 15 years in several permanent display areas and special projects throughout the Conservatory. She teaches floral design and horticulture classes, including the Conifers course. She is an active member of the Garden Club of America—serving as the Horticulture representative for Pennsylvania and Delaware, as the zone vice chair, and currently as president of the West Chester Garden Club. Ginny holds both Certificates of Merit in Ornamental Plants and the Certificate of Merit in Floral Design.

Danilo Maffei

Danilo Maffei is a professional landscape designer and horticulturist who believes the way to a better life is through a balanced approach to the creation, use and maintenance of our built and natural environments. He specializes in conceiving and creating outdoor experiences that are meaningful, relevant and responsive to the specific conditions in which they are set, with an emphasis on sustainable plant selections. With a background in design, public horticulture, landscape contracting, business and civic leadership, he brings to each project a positive and practical perspective on the way gardens enrich our experiences and engagement with people and places. He sits on the board of directors for the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) where he serves as President in 2018.

David Mattern

David Mattern holds a degree in Landscape Contracting with an emphasis on design and a minor in Horticulture from Penn State University. He is also a graduate of Longwood's Professional Gardener Program. David is an avid gardener, and has spent the past several years working in horticulture and landscape design. He is currently an assistant horticulturist at Chanticleer Garden.

Valerie McLaughlin

Valerie McLaughlin is a freelance floral designer working out of her home in Wallingford, PA, where she lives with her five sons and husband. She earned a Certificate in Floral Design from Longwood Gardens. The flower business suits her, adding a bit of femininity to an otherwise masculine household. Even Rudy the dog is a boy. Valerie creates custom arrangements within a budget. Her designs reflect her own joy and passion for living.

Preston Montague

Preston Montague works at the intersection of art, education, and landscape architecture to strengthen relationships between people and their environment in the interest of improving public health. He has a bachelor's degree in fine art and horticulture and a master's degree in landscape architecture. Ultimately, he is driven to encourage people to be curious about the outdoors and how their actions shape the world we share.

Cres Motzi

Cres Motzi, AIFD, is a graduate of Longwood Gardens Certificate of Merit in Floral Design and an internationally trained floral designer. She was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers in 2010. Graduated from Boerma Instituut in Holland with diplomas in professional and advanced Dutch design, Cres has been a full-time designer who now works as a freelancer for events and weddings. She is a floral design demonstrator and has written tutorials and articles for By Design, a quarterly publication of GCA. Her works have been published in Green Scene, a publication of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society; Flower Arranging the American Way; International Floral Art Annual 2010/11; and the Jubilee Edition of International Floral Art 2014-15. She successfully completed a European Masters Certification program with Tomas de Bruyne of Belgium in May 2012, received her certification in September 2013, and is now an AIFD Certified Floral Evaluator/Judge. Cres is a 4th-grade Sogetsu Ikebana teacher.

Greg Nichols

Greg has been in professional horticulture for over 30 years. He is an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, and is currently on the Phladelphia Board of Directors of Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). Greg is vice president of GreenWeaver Landscapes, an environmentally friendly landscape firm that serves the Delaware Valley. Greg started in landscaping by mowing lawns while attending George Mason University. Greg worked as assistant director of Facilities for Grounds at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, PA, from 2004-2008.

Jennifer Nichols

Jennifer Nichols founded GreenWeaver Landscapes in 2008, when after years in the traditional landscape industry, the need for an environmentally sensitive approach to landscaping became apparent. She is a consultant and lecturer and has studied horticulture and design at Longwood Gardens and Landscape for Life through the Sustainable Sites Initiative. Prior to founding GreenWeaver, she was vice president of Twin Oaks Landscaping, Inc. of Fairfax, Virginia.

Mitch Oswald

Mitch is a passionate Arborist who has been at Longwood Gardens for two years. He graduated from Penn State Mont Alto with an Associate's Degree in Forest Technology and worked for Bartlett Tree Experts on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts for three years, developing skills and a love of tree pruning and plant health care.

Melissa Palmer

Melissa Palmer trained under Gregor Lerch in Germany and attended the Boerma Institute in the Netherlands in Dutch Master Design. She owns her own business, Florum Flowers and Petaling Posies, and grows flowers on her New Jersey farm. She is a frequent speaker at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Ann Perry

Ann Perry is a student of the Ohara School of Ikebana. She was introduced to Ikebana in 1968 while living in Tokyo, Japan, and was fortunate to have studied with several Masters of the Ohara School. After receiving her Master's Certificate she returned to the U.S. where she continues her study. She has demonstrated, taught, and has exhibited at the Philadelphia Flower Show, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Longwood Gardens.

Colvin Randall

Colvin studied architectural history at the University of Virginia and botanic garden management in the Longwood Program at the University of Delaware. From 1977 to 2004 he was Longwood's PR Manager and subsequently became the Gardens' historian. In 2008 he was named Longwood's first P. S. du Pont Fellow. He has studied all aspects of Longwood's history since 1973 and has designed Longwood's musical fountain displays since 1980. He has written or produced books, CDs, and DVDs on the Gardens, including the Longwood Gardens—The First 100 Years centennial volume and Longwood Gardens Christmas.

Eileen Rosen

Eileen is an instructor of drawing and painting with a focus on the natural world. She has twenty-plus years of teaching experience at various institutions such as Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, Jenkins, Scott, and Morris Arboretums, Mainline Art Center, and the University of the Arts. She has also led workshops in Spain and Belize and has done murals and paintings in private homes.

David Sanford

David Sanford is an associate professor of horticulture at the Berks Campus of Penn State University, where he is coordinator of the agricultural program at the campus. He has earned degrees from Cornell University, Michigan State University, and North Carolina State University—all in horticulture. He has over 30 years of experience teaching courses in general horticulture, plant propagation, greenhouse production, landscape management, and herbaceous and woody plant identification. He also has an appointment with Penn State University Cooperative Extension as a specialist in ornamental horticulture. He has served on the board of directors and as president of both the Eastern Region of the International Plant Propagators' Society and the national Perennial Plant Association.

Rachel Schnaitman

Rachel Schnaitman is the IPM Manager at Longwood Gardens. She oversees the plant diagnostic work in greenhouses, interiorscapes, and outdoor gardens. She is a certified pesticide applicator and completes and oversees applications in outdoor landscapes, greenhouses, and interiors capes. Before starting at Longwood she graduated with her M.S from the University of Oxford and her B.S from the University of Delaware.

Chris Scott

Chris Scott is a 2008 graduate of the Professional Gardener Program at Longwood Gardens. Since completing the program Chris has gone on to be a greenhouse grower in Chester County. He lives in Delaware with his wife and three children.

Emma Seniuk

Emma feels very fortunate to have an occupation which is constantly nurturing and explorative. She feels it is a joy to be a gardener! Emma has received training at Mt. Cuba Center, Longwood Gardens and Great Dixter Gardens. She has worked as a horticulturist at Chanticleer and is currently loving her job at Doe Run Farm, an expansive and ever evolving private estate in Chester County.

Linda Shanahan

Barefoot Botanicals is a labor of love for Eric VanderHyde and Linda Shanahan, bringing together their combined years of experience in herbalism, nursing, engineering and agriculture. Having grown vegetables, flowers and herbs for over a decade, Eric and Linda are now specializing in certified organically grown medicinal and culinary herbs.

Nancy Gingrich Shenk

Nancy Gingrich Shenk is a graduate of Rittner's Floral School in Boston, MA, and the Dutch Masters' Design School in Lisse, Holland, and has a Praktijkdiploma from Stoas College in Holland. She has owned a custom design studio for over 25 years. Nancy was a member of the floral design teams for two former presidents' inaugurations, and her work has been featured in several magazines. She was named Teacher of the Year in 2008 by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Tom Smarr

A native of Pennsylvania, Tom grew up exploring and gardening within the wild woodlands of the northcentral part of the state. His degrees are in environmental studies and urban horticulture along with a professional career leading horticulture management at botanical gardens and urban public parks such as the High Line in NYC. As the Executive Director at Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens in Devon, PA, Tom is working to connect people to the beautiful naturalistic designed gardens with an abundant collection of rhododendrons and native plants.

Tim Smith

As a child, Tim Smith moved around a lot and had the opportunity to live in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Baja Mexico. His culinary career started at the age of 14 as a dishwasher at the Chadds Ford Cafe, which led to cooking cheesesteaks. Tim attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia where he obtained his Culinary Degree. Tim and his wife Kristin renovated a bank in West Grove and founded Twelves Grill and Cafe. He is now at Restaurant Associates at Longwood Gardens, where he is The Café Chef.

Judy Stevenson

Judy Stevenson is Archivist in the Library and Archives at Longwood Gardens, where she manages and catalogs Longwood's historical archives and cultural object collections. She holds a B.A. in History from Moravian College and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Drexel University. Previously, she has worked in the Pictorial Collections Department at Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, DE, and in the Library and Archives at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, PA.

Ian Stewart

Ian grew up in Newcastle, England and gained a doctorate degree from the University of Leicester studying a variety of birds. He spent several years at the University of Delaware conducting research on tree swallows and bluebirds before being employed as an Ornithologist at the Delaware Nature Society. Ian's work involves public bird banding sessions as a form of educational outreach along with research into how the society's land management activities are affecting bird numbers and diversity at different times of the year.

Jim Sutton

Jim Sutton graduated from Penn State with a degree in ornamental horticulture and has worked at Longwood Gardens for 10 years. He has also worked as a private estate gardener and floral designer for parties, weddings, and large charity events. He has completed the Series I Certificate of Merit from Longwood, is an avid home gardener, and loves to bake and entertain.

Leona Swiacki

Leona Swiacki is a 2004 graduate of Longwood Gardens Certificate of Merit in Floral Design. She then found her second career working in retail and corporate design settings serving Philadelphia, Wilmington, and NYC and has since retired from Hoffman Design Group in Folcroft, PA. Leona is currently a free-lance designer and Floral Design Instructor at Delaware County Community College, Tyler Arboretum, and Longwood Gardens.

Stephen Talabac

Stephen Talabac has been an amateur nature photographer for more than 40 years. His primary subject matter interests are landscapes, flowers, and wildlife. A member of the Central Maryland Photographers Guild, Stephen has served as its Director, Assistant Director, and Education Coordinator. He organized the Guild's DSLR Users Group. Stephen's photographs have been published by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and by Outdoor Photographer magazine in its 2015 national photo contest book, The American Landscape. He has given talks on digital camera principles of operation, led hands-on workshops on how to photograph birds in flight, and provided in-the-field instruction to help amateur photographers expand their knowledge and improve their skill. His work can be viewed at SJTPhotography.com.

Midori Tanimune

Midori Tanimune, a Japan native, holds diplomas and high ranking teaching certificates from the renowned Sogetsu School of Ikebana in Tokyo. Midori is held in high regard by the International Ikebana community. She has taught Ikebana courses at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Philadelphia Horticulture Center, and the US National Arboretum, and has done demonstrations and workshops in Richmond, VA, San Antonio, TX, Wilmington, SC, Washington DC, and throughout PA. Midori has attained the Komon degree, only one step below the top rank of Ikebana artists.

Harold Taylor

Before his retirement in 2019, Harold Taylor was the Section Gardener for Longwood's Idea Garden, specifically working with vegetables, herbs, fruits, annuals, and perennials. He is a graduate of the Longwood Professional Gardener Program. Harold worked at Longwood for over 30 years and is an avid home gardener. He was named Teacher of the Year in 2010 by the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

Joshua Taylor

Joshua Taylor, Jr. brings a background of over thirty years of experience in photography. Josh has presented workshops throughout the mid-Atlantic. He speaks at camera and garden clubs, judges photographic competitions, exhibits his works in gallery shows, and is a Canon camera instructor.

Matt Taylor

Matt Taylor obtained a B.S. in Horticulture from Penn State University, an M.S. in Horticulture Science from The University of Florida and a Ph.D. in Horticulture Science from North Carolina State University. He has also been a grower for Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses in Zionsville, PA and was the head grower for Woodring's Greenhouses in Bellefonte, PA. Matt is currently the Research Manager at Longwood Gardens and carries out research in many different areas including: plant trials, plant breeding, tissue culture, plant propagation and optimization of cultural techniques for Longwood's plants. He also oversees Longwood's integrated pest management program, soil and compositing operation, plant conservation efforts and the plant exploration program.

Chris Thorogood

Botanist and plant hunter Chris Thorogood is the Deputy Director and Head of Science for the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum in the UK. Chris is a best-selling author of specialist and non-specialist titles including Weird Plants and the children's book Perfectly Peculiar Plants. Chris's research focuses on the evolution of parasitic and carnivorous plants, and plant diversity in the Mediterranean Basin and Japan. Chris is a passionate communicator and ambassador for public engagement with plant sciences, and has made regular international TV appearances, including shows in the UK, Germany, China, and Canada.

Mary Tipping

Mary has been the Curator and Plant Recorder at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA since 2015. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Temple University and a Master of Science degree in Crop Sciences from the University of Illinois. She is also a Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist, an ISA Certified Arborist, and Nomenclature Chair for the Philadelphia Flower Show.  She is particularly passionate about witchhazels, conifers, deciduous azaleas, and ferns.

Shannon Toal

Shannon Toal, AIFD, CFD, PFDE, is a professional special event floral and event designer, bringing over twenty years' design experience. Shannon has partnered with the area's premier design companies and designed at the most elegant venues in the Philadelphia area. She has created everything from weddings to corporate events across a wide spectrum of styles and size. Shannon has also used her talent and passion to help educate budding floral designers through her adjunct professor position at Bucks County Community College, Longwood Gardens, the Philadelphia Flower Show, and the Northeast Regional Chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). In addition, Shannon is a frequent participant in the Philadelphia Flower Show and has contributed to numerous award winning exhibitions with AIFD and excellent florists.

Renee Tucci

Renee Tucci has more than 18 years of progressive floral design and leadership experience in the retail and event marketplaces. Ms. Tucci has participated by invitation only as a key team leader at the Philadelphia Flower Show for the past 10 years working for award-winning exhibitors. Most recently at the 2017 Flower Show, she coordinated the execution of the grand entrance exhibit, as designed by PHS. Ms. Tucci achieved credentialed status in the industry and was inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD)in 2016.

Mara Tyler

California native turned Pennsylvania flower farmer, Mara Tyler grew flowers in small spaces for 20 years in her home state. She now farms in Southern Chester County, on a 12-acre farmette that was historically used for dairy and sheep farming. Fenced pastures with meadowed flatlands seemed perfect for brightly colored flowers, and the idea of The Farm at Oxford was born. The farm's cut flower business specializes in locally grown peonies, dahlias, roses, spring bulbs, and companion perennials.

Eric VanderHyde

Barefoot Botanicals is a labor of love for Eric VanderHyde and Linda Shanahan, bringing together their combined years of experience in herbalism, nursing, engineering and agriculture. Having grown vegetables, flowers and herbs for over a decade, Eric and Linda are now specializing in certified organically grown medicinal and culinary herbs.

Scott Wade

Scott Wade is a graduate of Penn State, with a degree in Liberal Arts. Scott is a certified arborist, working at Longwood Gardens. Volunteering as the state coordinator of the Champion Tree Program with the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, he has found and measured many champion trees.

Scott Weidensaul

Scott Weidensaul is the author of more than two dozen books on natural history, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist Living on the Wind, about bird migration; The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery and Endurance in Early America; and the Peterson Reference Guide to Owls of North America and the Caribbean. Weidensaul is a contributing editor for Audubon, a columnist for Bird Watcher's Digest, and writes for a variety of other publications; he lives in the mountains of eastern Pennsylvania, where he studies the migration of owls and hummingbirds.

Hattie Weselyk

Hattie Weselyk is a self-taught jewelry artist who has been making jewelry since she retired as a professional ballerina to begin her family. Seeking a creative outlet after professional dance led her to an unexpected path—Hattie purchased a beginner jewelry-making book from a local craft store and established an immediate connection and passion for artisanal work. "Being self-taught as a jewelry artist has allowed me to cultivate my own unique style without undue outside influence." Hattie's jewelry is on sale in the Longwood Gift Shop as well as other national outlets.

Tom Wessels

Tom is a terrestrial ecologist and professor emeritus at Antioch University New England, where he founded the Master's degree program in Conservation Biology. He is the author of numerous books; his latest is Granite, Fire, and Fog: The Natural and Cultural History of Acadia. Tom has conducted workshops on ecology and sustainability throughout the country for over three decades.

Barbara Wheeler

Barbara Wheeler is a Longwood Fellow and is here on sabbatical from Dunedin Botanic Garden, New Zealand, where she serves as Collections Supervisor managing the day to day operational management of the plant collections. Barbara has worked in public horticulture for 28 years and holds a Dunedin Botanic Garden apprenticeship trade certificate, Longwood Gardens International Gardener Program Certificate, and Royal Horticultural Society Wisley Practical Diploma in Horticulture. She is passionate about New Zealand’s flora and how plants are used in the landscape and garden design.

Chad Wlazelek

Chad Wlazelek, a graphic designer with a passion for flowers, enjoys bringing two-dimensional inspirations to life with floral design. Chad received his Certificate of Merit in Floral Design from Longwood Gardens in 2012 and continues his design journey with Continuing Education classes at Longwood Gardens.

Bridget Wosczyna

Bridget Wosczyna gardens in southeastern Pennsylvania and considers it the epicenter for American horticulture. She came late to horticulture but wasted no time jumping in with both feet. Her first love is and will always be aroids, specifically Arisaema, but she also enjoys growing rare woodland plants as well as Turkish and Greek bulbs in her rock garden.  Bridget is a former small garden maintenance business owner but now spends all her spare time (and money) on her personal garden.

Susan Yoder

Susan is the Executive Director of Seed Your Future—a national movement to promote horticulture in the US and encourage more young people to pursue careers in horticulture. She joined Seed Your Future in September 2016 and brings with her more than twenty-five years of experience working with nonprofit organizations. She is passionate about the outdoors and the positive impact it can have on physical and emotional health. She is dedicated to finding more opportunities to move the traditional classroom outside, thus providing youth with the opportunity to learn about—and in—the natural world.

Betty M. Young

Betty M. Young is a 2012 graduate of Longwood Gardens' Certificate of Merit in Floral Design Program. She is presently the Continuing Education Assistant responsible for flower and foliage processing and material preparation for all Floral Design classes. Retired from the Pharmaceutical Industry of 39 years, Betty is an avid home and community gardener who enjoys floral design and organic vegetable gardening for her family, her friends, and her church.

Pandora Young

Pandora Young is a Senior Gardener in Longwood Garden's Outdoor Eastern Section since 2005, specializing in native plants and caring for a historic arboretum. In her home garden the rules are: it has to be native or edible, ideally both (with the exception of Lily of the valley). She earned a B.A. in Japanese studies, with a minor in Biology from Earlham Collage, IN. Public horticulture combines her passion for art, science, the great outdoors, and connecting with people from all walks of life.

Peter Zale

Peter Zale, Ph.D, earned his doctoral degree from The Ohio State University, where he studied plant germplasm collection development, breeding, and genetics. As Curator and Plant Breeder at Longwood Gardens, he is responsible for curatorial activities, the plant breeding program, the plant exploration program, and the recently initiated plant conservation program. He has published over 20 articles in trade, specialist, and peer-reviewed journals and has designed and participated in over 20 plant exploration expeditions throughout the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Republic of Georgia.

Kevin Zuidervliet

While working on organic farms in Australia and New Zealand, Kevin Zuidervliet found his passion for plants. When he came back to the United States he joined AmeriCorps VISTA and was responsible for running a community garden at Bucknell University to help fight food insecurity in the area. Kevin began his career at Longwood Gardens as a Professional Horticulture student and discovered his interest in growing woody plants. He currently works as a Nursery Horticulturist at Longwood Gardens where he has gained experience with irrigation techniques, growing plants, pruning, in addition to many other unique skills.