Garden Symposium

Gardening in the Valley Symposium 2017

The Symposium will be held Saturday, April 1, 2017 from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm at the Thompson Conference Center at Lord Fairfax Community College, Middletown, VA. This public gardening event will be $60.00 per person.  Lunch is included and parking is free.  


Organic Soils and enriching the garden: The opening speaker will be Alex Hessler, Director, Dining Services Farm, Virginia Tech, a six-acre vegetable farm that supplies fresh vegetables to Virginia Tech dining halls.  He will speak about organic soil and enriching the garden.

Mid-morning breakout sessions:

Organic Gardening: Jim Douglas was a county extension agent for 30 years in three states including Alaska.  He has taught numerous classes and is an expert in his field.  He will answer audience questions on a variety of organic gardening topics.

Green Infrastructure for Water Quality:  The role of rain gardens, community gardens, and other water related projects in maintaining water quality will be addressed by John Eckman, Executive Director of Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.


During the lunch break, attendees will have an opportunity to chat with speakers and other gardeners.

Afternoon breakout sessions:

Gardening with Native PlantsNative plants for your garden  Julie Borneman, owner of Watermark Woods in Hamilton, VA, a nursery that grows native plants in a pesticide-free environment will address using native plants in your garden.

Bugs… the New and the Invasive:  An update on new and invasive pests in Virginia that are of concern to home gardeners will be presented by Chris Schmidt, Arboretum Specialist at Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum in Boyce, Va.

Closing Session:

Magic of Monarch Butterflies: In the closing session, Nicole Hamilton will speak.  Ms. Hamilton is one of 19 Monarch Watch Conservation Specialists and Executive Director of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.  In 2013, she spearheaded the Loudoun Monarch Butterfly Campaign, an outreach effort to expand Monarch habitat.

Preregistration for the Symposium must be submitted no later than March 15, 2017.    To print a registration form, click here. To submit the form electronically, click here.

Payment of $60 may be made via check by mail. Make checks out to NSVMGA  and send to: Bob Gail, 1200 Rodes Circle, Winchester, Va 22601. Payment may also be made via PayPal following the link on the NSVMGA homepage.

Walk-in registrations will be accepted on the day of the event, but lunch cannot be guaranteed.  For more information, contact Bob Gail (