Karl Gercens  ~  Longwood Gardens

Thursday, June 20                       Salon E

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

In Search of the Ultimate Hosta Haven

Karl Gercens has traveled the world capturing inspiration from 32 countries and over 3000 gardens seeking the best in plantsmanship and design. Let’s see what regions of the United States are hotspots for Hosta hunters! We’ll explore not only the places which use hostas to great effect, but nearby gardens that offer a complementary experience to provide a week’s worth of garden exploration when you visit.

Karl Gercens is the Conservatory Manager at Longwood Gardens and has been influencing the glasshouse displays there for half his life. Originally from Mississippi, Karl has trained at Walt Disney World in Florida and Filoli Estate in California before settling down in the Philadelphia region, aptly named America’s Garden Capital. Karl lectures around the country and teaches classes locally. His ultimate goal is to inspire others to find beauty and inspiration in your own backyard or someone else’s!


Suzanne Mahler

Saturday, June 22                         Salon E

3:00 – 4:00 pm

Gardening in the Shade

In addition to opening up her naturalized gardens during the Thursday garden tours, Suzanne will be sharing her experience in shade gardening. “The key to a successful garden is to analyze your site and match plants to the light, soil type, and exposure your growing conditions offer.” Suzanne’s presentation will be full of helpful information, photos and excellent shade gardening advice.



Paul Cook – Master Gardener & Self-proclaimed Plant Addict

Friday, June 21

During the Garden Tour at Cochato Nursery

In 2023, after 32 years as a Pharmacist, Paul Cook made the leap to his lifelong dream of working with plants by starting his own container gardening and design business: TANGLED ROOTS.

Container design allows for endless creativity through both plant choices and the infinite variety of container choices. Not sure where to start? Paul recommends considering small shrubs, tropicals, perennials (thinking Hostas yet?), annuals, and even houseplants! Then select a suitable container. If you only have a few plants, consider a flower pot or a window box. Want a really unique display? How about using a wooden wine crate, or an old bucket or watering can. Or, what about that old Easter basket you have tucked away – or even an old boot that’s no longer serviceable. Then, of course, there’s the old birdbath tucked away behind your shed.

The key is to get creative and put together something that is both beautiful and uniquely yours.

Bring your imagination and join Paul in 2024 at the AHS National Convention to explore some unique ways to incorporate more Hostas into your gardens, container plantings or those barren areas around your property.


Marie Chieppo

Friday, June 21                       Salon E

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Plastic Plant Pots and the Horticulture Industry: Finding Sustainable Solutions

Marie has done extensive research regarding the overwhelming waste of plastic plant pots finding that the majority of them wind up being disposed of in landfills. Marie is “an environmental advocate who is looking for answers at a time when plastic pollution is front and center” and wants to find solutions to end this waste that “poses dangers to wildlife, people and our waterways as they degrade”.


As a member of the Healthy Pots Healthy Planet (HPHP) initiative, Marie hopes to “raise awareness of the health concerns relating to petroleum-based plastic pots as well as seek the public’s support for sustainable materials”.

See more about this very important issue at www.sustainableplantpots.org