Plans are under way for the Gardening in the Valley Symposium in 2022.
Although the symposium was a completely virtual event in 2021, we currently anticipate an in-person event to be held on the campus of Shenandoah University on March 12, 2022. Proceeds from the symposium benefit the NSVMGA Memorial Scholarship Fund. Contact us with any questions. Please check back for updates about the 2022 symposium as they become available.
Symposium Sponsors and Donors
Topics and speakers for the 2021 Gardening in the Valley Symposium were:
Raised Beds vs. Traditional Gardens with Lynne Phillips
Ms. Phillips is the manager at Natural Art Garden Center (www.naturalartgardencenter.com) located in Toms Brook. Lynne grew up on a farm and is an avid vegetable and plant gardener. Lynne graduated from Virginia Tech in 1995 with a B.S. degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics. Her hobbies include knitting, reading, and kayaking. She is a Class A Virginia Contractor, ICPI certified, and a member of the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association.
Back to my Roots with Diane Kearns
Diane Kearns is a 4th generation orchardist from a German/English family that made the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia its home just after the Civil War. She was born in 1959 as the first of three daughters to a father who grew his grandfather’s apple orchard of 100 acres into an operation of 3000 acres. After getting a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree from Boston University, Diane returned to the family farm, Fruit Hill Orchard, in 1983 to be close to the land, learn from her father and continue the tradition. Fruit Hill now grows over 200,000 bushels of apples each year. The varieties they grow include York Imperial, Golden Delicious, Greenings, Jonagold, Ida Red, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Gold Rush. As the markets of today change, Fruit Hill is diversifying and changing with them. Winchester Ciderworks which produces hard cider entirely from Fruit Hill’s fruit, is a natural step and brings to the market a product that combines the uniqueness and quality demanded by today’s consumers with the tradition and history of a handcrafted beverage. Diane lives in Winchester, Virginia with her husband, Arthur, and enjoys climbing, skiing, and gardening.
Urban Beekeeping and Apiculture’s Role in Sustainable Urban Agriculture with Brad Garmon
Mr. Garmon is the owner and chief apiarist of the Commonwealth Bee Company (www.commonwealthbee.com), a Certified Naturally Grown urban apiary and apicultural services company located in Falls Church, Virginia. He provides locally raised honeybee colonies, honey, wax products, support services, and colony relocations. Brad obtained his B.S. from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island and his M.S.N. from the University of Virginia. He works as a pediatric intensive care nurse in Fairfax and is the father of four-year-old twin girls.
Herbs for Health and Cooking with Sondra Baker Johnson
Ms. Johnson was born in England and grew up in the Washington, DC area. Her English grandparents were gardeners, and her grandmother used herbs extensively, especially in cooking. The cookbooks she used were called “housekeeping” books and included information on caring for the sick. Many of these early recipes are the basis for her products. She began studying herbalism in the 1980s and put it to practical use with her family, pets, and farm animals. Her hobby turned into a Front Royal-based business, Natures Common Scents, LLC, (naturescommonscents.com).