Nate Bremer

Nate Bremer is a Wisconsin hybridizer, plantsman, teacher and lecturer specializing in northern hardy Paeonia (peony).  He is a past President of the American Peony Society and has served on the Board of Directors since 2017.  

Receiving his degree in science education from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Bremer taught science for 31 years and retired in 2015. Solaris Farms and the American Peony Society now occupy his time year-round.  

Through a long-time collaboration with internationally recognized peony hybridizer Bill Seidl, Bremer expanded his hybridizing work into herbaceous hybrids and woody (tree) peonies after many years of work with orchids and daylilies. Today, Bremer’s nursery, Solaris Farms, boasts one of most diverse collections of peonies in the United States and serves as a genetic resource for his hybridizing programs. His peony introductions are recognized worldwide as some of the finest in the industry.

Nate Bremer will be presenting The Silent Revolution: The Art and Science of the 21st Century Peonies


Jeff Epping

Kenneth Darsney

Ken Darsney is the Manager of Gardens and Grounds for Nemours Estate, the former home of Alfred I. duPont.  Ken and his team oversee the care of the 300-acre property, which ranges from large-scale French-style formal gardens to native woodlands, and everything in between. Prior to this position, Ken was the Horticultural Supervisor for the State of Delaware’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, overseeing the stewardship of the landscapes of over 40 historic properties throughout the State.

Kenneth Darsney will be presenting as part of Garden Voices: Grace Among the Grandeur: Cultivating Well-Being at Nemours.

Abra Lee Headshot _1

Janet Draper

Janet Draper has been the sole gardener for Smithsonian’s Mary Livingston Ripley Garden for 26 years.   This tiny 1/3 of an acre garden is located on the National Mall and is open 24 hours a day to visitors from around the globe. 

After earning a bachelor’s degrees in horticulture from Purdue University in 1987, she worked at Mt. Cuba Center, Kurt Bluemel’s nursery in Maryland, Countess von Zeppelin Perennial Nursery in Germany’s Black Forest, and Beth Chatto’s nursery and garden in Elmstead Market, England. She also helped co-found the Annapolis Horticulture Society.

Janet Draper will be presenting as part of Garden Voices: Playing in the Dirt on the National Mall.


Eric D. Groft

Eric D. Groft is renowned for his diversity in residential, commercial, and institutional work. He prides himself on a sense of regionalism, attention to the vernacular, and his work with cultural landscapes.  

His commissions include landscape master planning and design efforts for residential gardens on the east end of Long Island and the northeastern United States. His institutional repertoire includes the American Museum & Gardens in Bath, UK, the Federal Reserve Campus in Washington, DC, and the renovation of the White House Rose Garden. Eric is widely recognized as an industry leader in ecological sensitivity, environmental/wetland restoration, and shoreline stabilization/revetment. He has a passion for horticulture and is dedicated to shepherding the evolution of OvS’ New American Garden Style.  

Eric D. Groft will be presenting  Beyond Bold: Inspiration, Collaboration, Evolution.

Tim Richardson

Harland Patch

Dr. Harland Patch focuses his research on many aspects of pollinator biology from genes to landscapes. His current research is on understanding the biological mechanisms associated with bee nutrition and how nutrition, in turn, affects bee health. Dr. Patch is working with collaborators to understand the underlying factors that contribute to pollinator host plant choice, including the role of annual and perennial cultivars to support pollinator populations. This includes developing an easy-to-use digital tool to determine which cultivars support pollinators and machine learning based insect monitoring systems. He is scientific advisor and Director of Pollinator Programming at Penn State’s Bird and Pollinator Garden, a recently built 4-acre garden based on scientific research. He is also involved in ongoing projects to determine the causes of pollinator declines in the US and in Africa. Dr. Patch has taught Molecular Ecology, Pollination Biology and an undergraduate course on honey bees, among other classes.

Harland Path will be presenting The Future of Biodiverse Landscape – Lessons from Research and Practice.


Carrie Wiles

Communications and marketing professional, Carrie’s encouraging voice lends a method to connecting horticulture and ecology. During her tenure as marketing manager of North Creek Nurseries—renowned industry leader in native plant propagation—Carrie shared in translating the impact and benefit native plants play in ecologically-rich environments. Today, Carrie serves as Interim Executive Director of the Delaware Center for Horticulture—where collaboration inspires individuals and communities through the power of plants. Carrie holds a degree in ornamental horticulture from Pennsylvania State University, and volunteers time as Treasure/Secretary of the Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association Board of Trustees.

Carrie Wiles will be presenting Paradigm Shift: Growing for Ecological Endurance.

May 5 2016 RHR 093

Join Us for this Year’s Conference!

Here’s what you need to know about the event: