Susan Miller (two presentations)

Topic #1: Lessons Learned Under the Trees

Topic #2: A Designer’s Tapestry: Weaving Together Color, Texture, and Structure in the Garden

Susan Martin is a native Michigander who enjoys sharing her passion for plants, gardening and the business of horticulture with fellow plant enthusiasts across North America.  She is a freelance horticultural marketer, writer, and speaker who has spent over two decades in the horticulture industry in marketing, sales, new plant development, and consulting.  As someone who works with people at every level of the business, from the breeder to the consumer, it is her mission to connect those producing plants to the people making the final purchase. Susan is an avid gardener who doesn’t just talk the talk—she walks the walk in her own zone 6 garden which has been featured in print and online and has received visitors from around the world.

Aaron Steil and Lisa Nunamaker

Topic: Shade Lost and Found

Aaron began working as a consumer horticulture extension specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in 2021.  He previously worked as assistant director at ISU’s Reiman Gardens and taught a horticulture lab course for a decade.  He also does outreach through “Gardening with Steil” on Iowa PBS and on Iowa Public Radio’s “Talk of Iowa,” which provides horticulture advice every Friday.

Lisa is a garden design educator, writer, illustrator, and speaker. After ten years of practicing as a landscape architect she realized that even though she adored designing, she loved inspiring others to design even more.  She loves learning and teaching from new angles, while unraveling the mysteries of landscape design.  With her design experiences in hand she began a shift towards teaching.  Teaching took many forms that included a position as the education coordinator and then assistant director at a public garden, the creation of an award-winning garden design website, the publication of an ebook, many presentations to garden groups across the US, and then finally landing her dream job in 2011…teaching landscape design in the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University.


Mark Dwyer

Topic: Ferns and Mosses with Hostas

Mark’s hobbies include gardening, reading, traveling and photography (with horticulture being an emphasis for all four of these activities!).  His true passion involves anything with plants and helping share the importance of horticulture in our daily lives with everyone in any circumstance, setting or venue.  His professional experience includes time spent working at a garden center and nursery (Appleton, WI) followed ultimately by a rewarding transition to public horticulture.  In addition, he has consistently been involved with private landscape design (residential and commercial) for over 25 years and enjoys keeping current in landscape design and the use of innovative plant materials and design features for beauty, form and function.


Bob Solberg  

Topic: TBD

Bob has introduced more than 50 hostas to date and has plans to add five or so to that number each year.  Bob has been very active in the American Hosta Society, serving as the Editor of The Hosta Journal (1988-1990) and as Vice President for The Genus Hosta (1998-2001).  He was the recipient of the 2003 Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Award.  Bob is a nationally known lecturer on the subject of hostas and writer of many articles on hostas.  He has edited the “Green Hill Gossip” for the past 13 years and the “Gossip Jr.”, a twice yearly subscription newsletter since 2004.  When the hostas are up and glowing in the garden you may find him on the road, bringing hostas and hosta stories to a town near you.


Ed Lyon   

Topic: The Other Lilies

Ed Lyon is Director of Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa.  He has worked at several major public gardens in various roles.  Ed wrote a book published by Timber Press in 2015 called Growing the Midwest Garden.  He has written for magazines including Fine Gardening, Wisconsin Gardening, Iowa Gardener, Chicagoland Gardening, Nursery Management Pro, and American Nurseryman.  He wrote the “Ask the Expert” column for Wisconsin Gardening and a regular regional report on southern Wisconsin for Chicagoland Gardening as well as feature articles for both magazines before moving to Iowa.  Ed teaches and lectures and has served as featured/keynote speaker for a number of conferences.  He is emphatic about focusing on gardening with regionality as a primary focus.