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31st Annual


October 24-26, 2011

Royal Plaza Hotel
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

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General Session Speakers

General Session 1: Robert Bowden


Robert Bowden has been the Director of the City of Orlando's beautiful Leu Gardens for eighteen years and earlier served as the Director of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Director of Horticulture at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri.

Throughout the U.S., Robert's delightful photographs and enjoyable essays can be seen in a wide variety of gardening magazines and professional journals. He is the author of several books including the Guide to Florida Fruit and Vegetable Gardening and the Florida Gardener’s Resource Guide both by Cool Springs Press and the Florida Top Ten Gardening Guide by Sunset Books.



General Session 2: Lance S. Osborne


Lance S. Osborne



  B.Sc. University of California (Davis) 1974 Entomology

  Ph.D. University of California (Davis) 1980 Entomology


Employment Experience:

1981-1986 Assistant Professor of Entomology, University of Florida,
     Agricultural Research and Education Center in Apopka

1986-1998 Associate Professor of Entomology, University of Florida,
     Agricultural Research and Education Center in Apopka

1998- present Professor of Entomology, University of Florida,
     Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka

Current Position Experience: 50% Research, 10% Teaching, 10% Administration and 30% Extension  


General Session 3: Erin Alvarez and Steve Kelly


Erin Alvarez is a public gardens and landscape instructor for the Environmental Horticulture department at the University of Florida. Her extension program focuses on sustainable landscape management. She works closely with the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology and the Florida-Friendly Landscaping program.

Erin holds undergraduate degrees in English and Public Gardens Management, as well as a Masters degree in Environmental Horticulture--all from UF. She currently teaches courses related to landscaping and public gardens, and these days she’s also working on the development of the UF/IFAS Teaching and Research Botanical Gardens. Before teaching, Erin worked as a landscape designer and contractor, a retail garden center manager, and a garden coach.

Like most gardeners, Erin is an amateur plant explorer and is always on the lookout for new and exciting plants. She’s a Florida native with a touch of Georgia peach, and does her best to leave no stone unturned, no smile unreturned and no plant unshared.


Steve Kelly, Ph. D.
The Scotts Company
Manager, Southeast Research & Development Field Station
Apopka, FL 

  • Steve obtained his B. S. Degree in Agronomy from Mississippi State University in 1985.

  • Retuned to graduate school in 1990 and obtained his M. S. and Ph.D., also from Mississippi State University, in Weed Science, conducting research in cotton, corn, grain sorhghum and turfgrass weed control. 

  • Steve and his colleagues conducted much of the research that lead to the labeling of many of the products available to consumers today, such as Halts, TB Halts, Greenview Fertilizer w/ Weed Preventer, and Manage/Sedgehammer.

  • Prior to joining Scotts, Steve was an Associate Professor and Extension Weed Specialist with the LSU AgCenter with responsibility for weed control research and education programs in cotton, corn and soybeans. 

  • In June 2006, Steve became the manager of the Apopka, FL research station.  The Apopka station is the focal point of all southern product development for The Scotts Company, conducting critical research on such problems as weed, disease and insect control, and nutrient management in consumer lawn and gardens, and professional horticulture. 

  • Research at the station supports the entire family of Scotts® products, including ORTHO®, MiracleGro®, Osmocote®, Roundup® and EcoSense® brands.

General Session 4: Leah Diehl and Lesley Fleming

Leah Diehl, RLA, HTM, is a master horticultural therapist, a licensed landscape architect, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. She has written numerous publications, including a chapter on healing gardens in Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind. Leah has lectured nationally and internationally on healing gardens and garden design, horticultural therapy, and related research. Her latest project as a master gardener has been the design and implementation of the gardens for the Honor Center, a domiciliary for veterans in Gainesville.




Lesley Fleming, MA, HTR, is a registered horticultural therapist, the past president of the Florida Chapter of the American Horticultural Therapy Association, and recipient of national and state awards for her work in the field. She delivers therapeutic horticulture to children, seniors, and inmates, and consults for several botanical gardens in the U.S. and Canada. Lesley’s published work includes "Botanical Gardens: Fertile Soil for the Practice of Horticultural Therapy" in the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture. As a Florida master gardener for 10 years, she has been instrumental in integrating horticultural therapy concepts into the master gardener paradigm.



General Session 5: Tom MacCubbin

Tom MacCubbin is known to gardeners in Florida through his radio, television, and newspaper contributions. A retired extension environmental horticulturist with the University of Florida in Orange County, MacCubbin has degrees in Horticulture from the University of Maryland. Readers are familiar with his question-and-answer gardening columns and feature articles for The Orlando Sentinel, while others may recognize him as a co-host of Orange County Gardening on cable television and weekly horticulture reports on Central Florida News 13. His radio program Better Lawns & Gardens is broadcast over twenty Florida stations.

The National Association of County Agriculture Agents has recognized his media contributions with numerous awards, including awards for the best state personal column, best news photo story, best news column, and best television program. Most recently, his Better Lawns & Gardens radio program was judged best in the nation for 1998 & 2000; in 1999, he was presented the AT&T Communications Award in the Best Videotape/Television category as a regional winner for his role as co-host of Orange County Gardening; in 2001 he received an ‘Award of Excellence’ for work as a county horticulture agent and for effective involvement with media programming, from the National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. He has been honored with the Best Horticulture Writer Award by the Florida Nurseryman and Growers Association, and was granted the Garden Communicators Award by the American Nurseryman’s Association. In June 2007 Tom was recognized nationally as the teacher of the year by the American Horticultural Society.

MacCubbin is the author of many books:

Florida Home Grown: Landscaping - 1987 - Rev 1997
Florida Home Grown - 1997
Florida Home Grown 2: The Edible Landscape - 1998
Month by Month Gardening in Florida - 1999 – revised 2006
My FL Garden: A Gardener’s Journal - 2000
The Perfect Florida Lawn - 2004
The Florida Lawn Guide - 2007
Florida Gardener’s Resource (co-author) - 2010

He is co-author of the Florida Gardener’s Guide - 2002

Contributor to the Sunset National Garden Book - 1997

In March of 2007 Tom was promoted to the distinguished position of Extension Agent Emeritus with the University of Florida upon his retirement after 36 years of service.

Active in their community, MacCubbin and his wife Joan live near Apopka.

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