Meet our instructors. These presenters regularly deliver talks, workshops, or course content for the Society.
Andrew Britton moved to Calgary from Vancouver Island in 2004 and struggled with the local growing conditions and short season.
When he started learning about hydroponic gardening techniques, Andrew knew he’d found the solution to battling the elements or only reaping small, once-a-year harvests. Now, he could now grow anything year-round in just a few square feet in his basement.
Wanting to share his success with others, Andrew founded Gecko Grow, a Calgary-based hydroponic supply company that ships professional-grade hydroponic nutrients and other growing supplies to commercial and home growers across Canada.
Amy earned a Diploma of Environmental Horticulture from Olds College of Agriculture & Technology in 2010. She majored in Arboriculture and began working in the tree care industry while in school. She has extensive training and experience in tree work, plant health care, and pruning consultation. Amy brought a history of providing exemplary tree care when she joined Bartlett Tree Experts in 2022 as an Arborist Representative.
An ISA Certified Arborist and Certified Tree Risk Assessor, Amy provides her residential and commercial clients with scientifically based tree care advice.
Ann Van de Reep
Ann has been involved in horticulture in Calgary for many years, both professionally and as a volunteer. She has been a Master Gardener since 2001 and has a Prairie Horticulture Certificate from Olds College. Ann has worked as a garden designer and consultant, as project coordinator of the Alberta Perennial Trial program and taught Landscape Design and Perennial Plant ID at the Calgary Zoo. She is now mostly retired and volunteers with the Horticultural Society, the Calgary Zoo and at Reader Rock Garden.
Arden is the A in the DNA Gardens. Arden and her husband Dave have been fruit farming for 45 years and are the oldest, longest grower of saskatoons in the WORLD. They ran a plant tissue culture lab successfully for many years and helped introduce many exciting, new varieties of plants. They retired and sold all the fruit equipment, plant tissue culture lab and nursery stock. But not liking retirement too much, they now maintain their 25 acre fruit orchard and have started a winery with a still and now have 2 fruit harvesters again.
Catherine is a Landscape Horticulturist, Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor, with a passion for edible landscapes. She studied Sustainable Landscapes with the University of Guelph and graduated from Olds College of Agriculture and Technology with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Horticulture. She recently graduated as a Master of Urban Forestry Leadership through the University of British Columbia’s Forest Resources Management department in the Faculty of Forestry. Catherine enjoys learning about policies, strategies, and frameworks that involve trees and land-use planning and operates a business that focuses on edible and naturalized landscapes, including microforests and food forests, and is a Bee City Canada Business Partner.
Paintbrush Garden Design and Consulting
Elaine Rude is a Master Gardener, a garden designer, instructor, and writer. She gardens on four acres NW of Calgary growing vegetables, fruit, numerous perennials, shrubs, and trees. Elaine is very aware of the challenges we face gardening in the Chinook Zone but paying attention to our site, choosing the right plants, and growing them in a sustainable way will ensure we can have gorgeous gardens. There are so many opportunities to create great prairie gardens we just need to believe it’s possible.
Jane Reksten (pronounced Rexton) has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria in Microbiology and Environmental Studies and a Diploma in Horticulture from Olds College. She worked in the landscape maintenance and development industry for five years before joining the Calgary Zoo and Botanical Gardens, first as the Schoolyard Naturalization Project leader, and then the Botanical Education Coordinator and Manager of Continuing Education. Jane joined Olds College in 2011 and managed the Botanic Gardens and Greenhouses until 2020. She is now an independent consultant, and the Head Gardener for Lougheed House. Jane is a regular writer and speaker on a variety of gardening topics and has a particular interest in perennials and design.
Janet Melrose is ‘Calgary’s Cottage Gardener’. Garden consultant, coach, educator, and Horticultural Therapist. Her motto is ‘Grow, Nurture, and Bloom’.
She shares her passion for gardening and knowledge through workshops and writing for ‘The Gardener for Cold Climates’ and ‘Calgary Gardening’ magazines. She also co-authors with Sheryl Normandeau the Guides for Prairie Gardeners series of books which has just released two more books.
Jennifer Hoglin has been getting her hands dirty in the garden since before she could walk but has been gardening in the Calgary area for over 15 years. She is the owner of Gooseberry Gardens, a gardening website, blog, and landscape design company. It was a long winding road to horticulture. She started off as a professional cook in her early years, switched it up by earning a science degree in environmental biology, and then switched it up again with a diploma in architectural technology. Along the way she also stumbled into permaculture. The result is a passion for food gardening and garden design all encompassed in Gooseberry Gardens. In her spare time during the summers, she also loves to talk gardening with customers at her local garden centre.
Calgary Horticultural Society
Joanna Tschudy is the Society’s Community Development Coordinator and a landscape designer who thoroughly enjoys combining her education in horticulture and visual arts with years of industry know-how. Whether it is in person, on the radio or television, Joanna loves sharing her expertise and helping Calgarians use their outdoor spaces to their fullest potential.
Calgary Horticultural Society
Kath Smyth is a horticulturist with extensive experience in the horticultural industry. She brings a wealth of knowledge and her unique humour to radio and television appearances, public presentations and client consultations. She is passionate about helping gardeners achieve gardening success and is currently working as a Horticulturist for The Calgary Horticultural Society.
Kath regularly appears on CBC Radio Calgary Eyeopener, Alberta at Noon and Global News Morning Calgary.
Zone 3 Vegetable Gardening
Krista Green lives on 4 acres in southern Alberta with her husband and 3 children. She is an avid vegetable gardener and garden blogger, desiring to teach and inspire others wanting to grow their own food in the northern climate. As well as being a life-long gardener, Krista worked at Vale’s Greenhouse in Black Diamond for several years. Krista works locally as a paramedic and her husband as a firefighter. Together they love learning about homesteading and permaculture.
Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed is a botanist, herbalist and educator who has been working with plants for over 15 years. She is the co-owner of ALCLA Native Plants, a native plant nursery based in Mohkinstis (Calgary, AB), that supplies nearly 200 species of wild-sourced plants and seeds. Latifa is passionate about sharing her plant knowledge, her favourite topics include identification, cultivation/propagation, harvesting and processing, seed collection and cleaning, and edible and medicinal usage. She is a former faculty member at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC where she taught Botany and Horticulture, and Wild Plant Nutrition. Latifa is formally qualified with a BSc in Botany from the University of Calgary and an MSc in Herbal Medicine from Middlesex University, London, UK.
Lisa Range is the owner and founder of “Feeding Our Roots”, a Calgary-based gardening education business through which she shares her knowledge, creativity and passion for growing both edible and ornamental plants. She has developed season-long workshops and engages with participants to coach them on growing their own vegetable and cut flower gardens without the trial-and-error. A love of the culinary arts complements her passion for gardening.
Lisa is an ardent promoter of local small businesses and food artisans. Her garden and workshops are built around the tenets of environmental sustainability. She has a Bachelor of Health Sciences from the University of Guelph, an MBA from the University of Calgary, and she completed her Master Gardener certification with the Calgary Horticultural Society in 2021. Lisa and her husband live on an “urban homestead” in Renfrew and have three young children.
The Arborest Expert Tree Service Ltd.
Marcia is a landscape designer with The Arborest Expert Tree Service in Calgary.
She specializes in creating sustainable garden designs for her clients, which are low maintenance with low water use – while providing year round visual interest and habitat for wildlife.
She completed her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2013 and obtained her Master Gardener designation in 2020. She honed her landscape design skills with Eco-yards (a company that specializes in converting lawn into low maintenance landscapes), and deepened her appreciation for native plants and the important role they play in habitat creation while at Bow Point Nursery (a native tree farm in Springbank, AB).
Calgary Horticultural Society
Michelle Edworthy is the Master Gardener and Programs Coordinator for the Calgary Horticultural Society. She has a background in agriculture, despite being a city girl from Vancouver, and is passionate about spending time in the outdoors whether gardening or hiking. She has been an environmental educator since 2006, working in various roles in and around Calgary. She uses journaling regularly, as a means to reflect and develop observation skills and is excited to share her knowledge.
He loves food! Grocery stores just cannot match the tastiness from my Grandma’s garden.
Many people from his generation have missed out on precious skills that were not passed down. We have to find other teachers.
Starting with a Gardening class put on by the Calgary Horticulture Society, he became immersed. It continued with his Permaculture Design Certificate, SPIN Farming, Greenhouse Design, Compost Facility Operators Certificate, and mentoring in Soil and Soil Microbiology. He is currently working on his Soil Food Web Advisor role with the Life in the Soil program put on by Elaine Ingham, and sits on the board of Calgary Permaculture Guild. He is also working with Highfield Farm to explore and produce quality compost and has a company that provides microbially-rich nutrient sprays for yards.
Tara is a conservation biologist with a keen interest in permaculture, local food systems and community building. Although she works primarily with endangered wildlife, Tara is deeply intrigued by fungi and excited to collaborate with others to learn how to continue to integrate fungi into our food systems, ecosystems and lives.
Growing up on a farm with gardening parents Verne literally grew up gardening. Verne left the farm to study fine arts and then history. She spent her first part of her career in the corporate world but about 10 years ago escaped, took Master Gardener, and entered the Horticultural business with her own gardening company.