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2023 AMGA Atlantic Master Gardeners Conference

 July 13 & 14, 2023

Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, Truro, NS

Backyard Ecology in Atlantic Canada - Working with what you have



Thursday, 13 July 2023,  MacRae Library

8:30    Pre-Conference Meet & Greet                 

          Tea & Coffee will be available at the MacRae Library Foyer.


9:00    Welcome from the AMGA President


9:10    Lloyd Mapplebeck          Creating A More Natural Landscape With Native Plants

In this presentation, we will first define the term ‘native plant’, followed

by giving the reasons why we have not used more native plants in the

past in our created Canadian landscapes. However, in more recent

years, interest in using native plants has finally been steadily increasing

although a number of major challenges still exist.  These will both be

discussed.  We will examine the benefits of creating a more natural

landscape with native plants.  Homeowners who decide to proceed with

this initiative first need to assess the area(s) of their property for such

things as soil type, light conditions, their hardiness zone, etc. They then

need to plan the type of project, i.e., a woodland garden, a bog garden,

or a meadow, etc., that they wish to proceed with.  The above factors will influence which plant species can be selected. Other factors, potentially including neighbours and zoning bylaws might also figure into the mix. Site preparation, planting and aftercare will then follow. If you ‘build’ (create) a more natural habitat; they will come; ‘they’ being the pollinators, the birds, and a menagerie of other creatures.


Lloyd is a retired Plant Science faculty member at NSAC/DalAC.  Over the years, Lloyd has given scores of presentations, workshops, and training courses throughout Atlantic Canada on a wide array of topics within horticulture and forestry, including the topics of native plants, pollinators, and non-timber forest products.


Lloyd and his wife, Lauranne, have operated Hillendale Perennials for 30 years. They produce container-grown landscape perennials, including some species native to Nova Scotia and many species native to North America. In addition, they also produce a wide array of potted herbs and salad greens, late season annual patio pots, and decorative Christmas products, along with various other crops and products. Their Christmas products are made from materials harvested from their own Acadian forest woodlands. They market their products at their retail nursery, at the Truro Farmers’ Market, and via perennial gardens that they design for clients. They also sell perennials to landscapers, municipalities, and other commercial customers.

10:30    Melanie Priesnitz                 Gardening for People and the Planet

Discover the beauty of the wild flora of the Wapna’ki Forest and learn why ecological gardening is essential for people and the planet.


Melanie is the Conservation Horticulturist at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens at Acadia University.  Melanie started working at the Botanical Gardens during the construction and planting phase and has continued growing alongside the garden for the last 23 years. She holds a diploma in Landscape Horticulture and certificates in Applied Plant Conservation, Organic Soil Management and Nature-based Leadership. A strong proponent of life-long learning, Melanie is passionate about sharing her love of native plants and the natural world with students of all ages.


11:30    Carol Goodwin                 Alumni Garden Tour

The Alumni Gardens site was originally a research nursery where Richard

Morton and Les Blackburn carried out species evaluation trials. The mature

trees and shrubs in the garden are the remains of the early collections. In

time, the site was turned over to the agricultural campus, and the Alumni

Association encouraged its development as a garden.


Over the years, the garden layout has changed as Landscape Horticulture

students implement projects designed by the teaching staff.  In 1999, the

Friends of the Gardens was created, and Bernard Jackson was brought in

as coordinator of the group. They have worked with the grounds staff to

help implement changes to the Alumni Garden that complement the teaching aspect of the garden while simplifying its management.

Carol is a retired Dalhousie professor; she is a vocal and active citizen volunteer helping to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of urban forest and community green space.  Her knowledge, enthusiasm and experience provide great benefit in helping to plan and manage valuable green infrastructure.


12:00    Lunch    Chef’s Salad Box

Grilled chicken or tofu, garden greens, bacon crumble, red onion, cucumber, carrots, hard boiled egg, cheddar cheese and side dressing. Includes a fresh fruit cup, gourmet cookie and a bottle of water.

1:00      Jenni Blackmore          Free and Easy – Twelve Natural Ways to Benefit your Garden

In this presentation, Jenni will discuss how natural elements and simple innovations can enhance productivity and help create a sustainable garden plan.  Readily available, but often overlooked or underappreciated components of the ecosystem are introduced as integral to a healthy garden infrastructure.  Among other things, she will talk about soil building, composting, creating additional sources of nutrients, effective use of space, attracting pollinators while dealing with their less-welcomed counterparts, and other affirmative actions.


Jenni has written two books on natural gardening techniques: Permaculture for the Rest of Us and The Food Lover’s Garden. She is a certified permaculture designer, and her articles on sustainable living, permaculture practices and related topics have

appeared in various magazines. Starting out as a single mom with a very limited budget, she was forced to use only what was free and readily available to create the now remarkably fertile garden beds of QuackaDoodle Farm. She loves to share the knowledge gained while turning a barren acre into a thriving homestead.


2:30      Sherry Chaisson               Creating a Backyard Rain Garden

Sherry, a retired instructor in the Dalhousie Master Gardener Program, will be explaining the what’s and how’s of rain gardens.


3:30      Carolyn Downie               When your Garden goes to Pot(s)

Carolyn has been involved in gardening for over 40 years. She maintained a flower garden at her home in Halifax and became a Horticultural Judge in 1999 through the Nova Scotia Association of Garden Clubs.  In 2009 she was in the second graduating class of the Master Gardener Program and served as an executive member. Carolyn now gardens primarily in containers and does volunteer work at the IWK gardens.




2023 Annual AMGA Banquet

The Inn On Prince Hotel

Thursday, 13th July

6:00       Reception

7:00       Buffet Dinner

8:00       Awards Ceremony

Buffet: Bone in Leg of Ham, 4 fresh salads, seasonal vegetables, potatoes, baked rolls, variety of desserts, coffee/tea.

              All dietary restrictions will have substitute entrée selected by chef


Friday, 14 July 2023,   Morning - MacRae Library, Afternoon - Collin Building

9:00    Rosmarie Lohnes                  Helping Nature Heal Workshop

Participants will be taken on an interactive journey where they will learn/experience the natural world like never before!

With a brief introduction in the morning as we gather and meet each other over coffee/tea, we will celebrate our deep connection to nature with a silent moment to recall joy in a natural setting. This moment will set the stage for what's yet to come: a hands, heart and mind experience that will engage all the senses.

I will use all of my varied education to immerse each participant in a hands-on thoughtful and creative approach to landscaping. We will learn about roots and fungi, scent and happiness, plant families and knitting the soil together.

Soil health, people health and our deep connection to the land: working through the lens of ecological restoration and landscaping, I will take you on a journey of sustainability and resilience - a day for introspection, learning and experience.

Rosmarie first helped grow food gardens as a small child and also looked to nature for play, interest, and understanding.  She has a B.A. in Conservation and Environmental Studies from York University with prior studies in Architectural Design and further training in Horticulture as Therapy, Ecological Landscape Design, Shoreline Erosion, the Master Gardener Program and Landscape Management.


She came to Nova Scotia’s Windhorse Farm in 1999 to do an internship in Ecological Forestry and Organic Gardening and fell in love with the fact that you could be in the forest and near the ocean at the same time.

After her internship she decided to stay in Bridgewater but could not find a job in her field so began gardening to support herself and, after a year, decided to start her own business; Helping Nature Heal was born.





12:00     Lunch    Honey Dijon Asparagus Salad Box

Grilled chicken or tofu, asparagus, garden greens, goat cheese, blueberries, sunflower seeds and side honey Dijon vinaigrette. Includes a fresh fruit cup, gourmet cookie and a bottle of water.


3:00       Thank you from the AMGA President

AMGA Conference Cost

An AMGA Member is a registered member of the Atlantic Master Gardeners Association

All other participants are considered Guests

AMGA Member        Guest (Non-AMGA Member) 

Thursday, 13 July    $100                     $125

Friday, 14 July         $100                     $125

2 Day Special          $150                     $225

Lunch Included 


AMGA Banquet         $40



Payments are to be completed via E-Transfer to

Arrangements can be made for those without E-Transfer access



Reservations are the responsibility of attendees


Inn on Prince Hotel & Conference Centre, 437 Prince St., Truro, NS

A block of rooms have been placed aside for AMGA Conference participants

  • Wednesday, 12 July to Friday, 14 July 2023

  • $179/night, single and double occupancy, breakfast included.

  • room block under “Atlantic Master Gardener 2023 Conference” or

    use the block code “2307ATLANT_001” ,  contact our front desk directly at 902-895-1651

  • Deadline date for reservations - 13 June 2023


Dalhousie University; Faculty of Agriculture, Truro, Nova Scotia

For more information on Dalhousie University Accommodation options

To Book a Room online -

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