2022 AMGA Conference

7 & 8 July 2022

Dalhousie University, Agricultural Faculty

College Road, Truro, Nova Scotia

2022 AMGA Conference Program

Thursday, 7th July 2022

08:45     Welcome                           Registration


09:00     Gerald Gloade                    The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre


10:30     Tour                                  Mi’Maqi Lunar Garden


11:15     Keith Williams                    Back to the Future: Indigenous Knowledge and

                                                     Three Sisters gardening

12:30     Lunch                                                


13:30     Paul Manning                     Insect Identification


15:00     Frances Dorsey                  Plant Kingdom, an Exhibition and Pollinator Garden

                                                     for Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS.

18:00     AMGA Reception

19:00     Banquet & Ceremony    


Friday, 8th July 2022

08:45     Welcome                             Registration


09:00     Julie Moir Messervy               Home Outside - Garden Design Workshop

Conference Cost

                      AMGA              Guest

                         Member   Non-AMGA Member  

Thurs., 7 July      $100                $125

Fri., 8 July           $100                $125

2-Day Special      $175                $225

Lunch                 Included Thursday & Friday      

AMGA Banquet   $40   Thursday evening


Program Description

Thursday, 7 July 2022

9:00       Gerald Gloade                  The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre (MDCC)

Mi’kmaw Calendar

Our ancestors’ survival depended on seeing signs and patterns in nature to tell them when it was the best time to hunt, to plant or to prepare for winter. Many of these signs can be seen today, like the silence of crickets preceding the start of fall weather. Our ancestors knew that when the crickets stopped singing, it was time to dry fish for winter, because the humidity was out of the air. Gerald is focused on passing traditional knowledge he has learned from his parents and grandparents and many other Mi’kmaw knowledge holders.


10:30     Mi’Maqi Lunar Garden Tour

Before the arrival of Europeans, the native peoples of Canada and the Mi’kmaw people used natural celestial and seasonal cycles to gauge the passage of time and organize their activities.

The rising and setting of the Sun governed the daily cycle.  Over a yearly cycle, the variation of the day length and maximum elevation of the Sun drove the weather patterns and events in the natural world  around them and in between the daily and yearly cycles, the Moon waxed and waned through its phases over a 30-day period.  A new landscape art installation on the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus represents the Mi’kmaw lunar cycle and is organised to showcase educational knowledge of the 12 months and moons within the four seasons.


11:15     Keith Williams                  Back to the Future: Indigenous Knowledge & Three Sisters Gardening

The Three Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) are central to multiple Indigenous cosmologies on Turtle Island. In this talk, Keith Williams outlines Haudenosaunee cultural understandings of the Three Sisters, recent scientific work, and speculates on that role of the Three Sisters (and Three Sisters thinking) in addressing contemporary sustainability concerns.  Keith Williams is a gardener and forager who enjoys preparing (and consuming) the foods that he grows and collects from the wild. Keith is of Scottish, Mohawk, and Dutch ancestry and recently finished a Ph.D. from St. Francis Xavier University dealing with the potential for food systems change through Indigenous-run higher education.


13:30    Paul Manning                   Insect Identification

Dr. Manning is an assistant Professor in the Department of Plant, Food, and Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie University, Faculty of Agriculture.  Dr. Manning's research aims to better understand the  importance of biodiversity (specifically insects) to the health and functioning of agricultural ecosystems. His research interests are focused on: entomology, citizen science, community ecology, and natural history.  Much of his work looks at dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea) as a model system for understanding the vulnerability of agroecosystems to environmental disturbances. 

15:00     Frances Dorsey                 Plant Kingdom, an Exhibition & Pollinator Garden for Dalhousie, 

                                                          Halifax (Studley Campus), NS.

During the planning of the exhibition “Plant Kingdom” there were many conversations about bringing the art gallery out of the white box into the world. The pandemic presented an opportunty to put ideas into action. We undertook to create a pollinator garden on the campus designed around a Mi’kmaq glyph which says  “Jiksituinen” or “Listen to Us”, planting mostly native plants that would feed insects, birds, mammals…..  As the garden evolves it invites us to consider in a broader way the purposes and nature of art and gardening. This gives a way for every gardener to understand that they are their own artists.  Frances Dorsey, Master Gardener, lives and gardens near Halifax, where she taught at NSCAD until retirement. For some time she has been working with local plants, clays, ferrous rocks, etc to investigate a palette of local colour. Her current work investigates the seed as metaphor as well as object, and the woods as subject as well as idea. 

Program Description

Friday, 8 July 2022

Julie Messervy         Home Outside, Garden Design Workshop


Julie Moir Messervy is the founder & principal designer of JMMDS (Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio), with over three decades of design experience and nine published books. Messervy was the landscape designer of the award-winning Toronto Music Garden, a collaboration with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the City of Toronto. Messervy studied landscape design with eminent Japanese garden master Kinsaku Nakane in Japan.  Messervy’s vision for composing landscapes of beauty and meaning is furthering the evolution of landscape design and changing the way people create and enjoy their outdoor surroundings. She launched the Home Outside® landscape design app and award-winning Home Outside online design service.


9:00       Pleasure Principles

Julie introduces the day’s events, discusses her thinking about “home outside,” and summarizes her landscape design process with its key “pleasure principles.”


9:30       Lay of the Land

Julie introduces a process for analyzing your existing site and your ideal site. By studying the conditions on your site, including the soils, sun, wind, slope, circulation, vegetation, and views, you’ll have a clear picture of what you want to keep and what you want to change. From there, you can start to imagine your ideal site, using Julie’s signature “Designer’s Personality Test” and other exercises that examine your aesthetic preferences, activity options, and favorite vantage points.


10:00    Big Moves

Julie helps you organize the spaces around your house using four basic layout choices and three different aesthetic arrangements. Using a series of design exercises, she helps participants learn to identify a theme, style or “big idea” that pulls together a vision for your property.


10:30    Comfort Zones

Julie examines the areas around your house as four separate “zones.” The “Surrounding Zone” is the larger area a person considers “home” – whether your neighborhood, town or entire region. The “Welcoming Zone” makes up the important area in front of a home, while the “Neighboring Zone”

encompasses the area surrounding the home that sets it apart from the neighbors. “Living Zones” are areas around the house that feature amenities related to outdoor activities.


11:15    Making It Flow

Julie helps participants explore ways to enhance the flow of a property through three different types of motion: moving, pausing and stopping. Using case studies and diagrams, she shows how to determine “Paths to Follow;” “Places to Pause;” and “Spaces to Stop.”


11:35    Group Exercise


12:15    Lunch    A buffet-style lunch will be provided on-site


12:45    Placing the Pieces

Julie talks about ways to compose the elements of your property into a coherent whole by using the “four Cs: concentrating, connecting, conveying, and containing. She explains how to conduct an “energy audit” to uncover positive and negative energy on your site, and discusses how you can place focal points on your property—the objects that stand out as the center of attention, and vertical and horizontal frames--structures that surround something that’s special such as a focal point or a view.


13:15    Design Exercise


14:15    Sensory Pleasures and a Joyful Process

To end the workshop, Julie leads the group in discussing how to create the conditions of a joyful landscape design process and answers questions that have come up throughout the day.