Gardening Seminars


JRC and Prime Ark 45 August Arkansas 2017

Arkansas’ own distiguished plant breeder, Dr. John Clark, will present a Gardening Seminar at 10:00 on Saturday, March 3, on Blackberries for the Home Garden: An Excellent Choice!  

We’ll have a great selection of educational presentations at our in-depth Gardening Seminars on Friday and Saturday in the Farm and Ranch Building at the Fairgrounds. Admission to all the Gardening Seminars is included with general Show admission.

Download Our Seminar Schedule

Friday, March 2, 2018

10:00   Integrated Pest Management in the Vegetable Garden – Patrick Byers

Pest management in the home vegetable garden is much more than hitting the problem with a spray!  Learn the steps of IPM – identifying problems, determining if the level of damage is worth the worry, selecting  which vegetable cultivars have the best level of pest resistance, using the amazing arsenal of biological controls, growing vegetables in a way that wards off pests, and using the correct pesticides properly.  Gardeners will learn that using multiple strategies will help manage problems in the vegetable garden while minimizing any adverse impact on humans, beneficials and the general environment.

11:15   Home Landscape Problems and Solutions  –  Allen Owings

Most issues with ornamental plants in the landscape can be traced to cultural practices. Are we planting the right plant in the right place?  Are we aware of our soil conditions? When do we plant compared to when we should plant? Is dead-heading needed? Have we evaluated our sun and shade situation? Do we build landscape beds correctly? Do we mulch correctly? What about diseases and insects? How can we make container plants last longer? All this and more will be addressed to help you to enjoy success and have no problems, or at least have fewer problems in 2018.

12:30   Drought Tolerant Plants for Your Garden  –  Patrick Byers

Everyone is talking about waterwise gardening!  Using good landscape design, choosing the proper plants, and managing the landscape well are important steps in developing a garden that is beautiful while also water conscious.  The Master Gardeners of Greene County, MO, developed the Waterwise Garden ( in 1992 as a premier site to demonstrate gardening with minimal water input.  Gardeners in this session will learn from 25 years’ experience in the Waterwise Garden how to develop and maintain beautiful gardens while making wise use of water resources.

1:45   Don’t Be a Garden Snob – Carol Mendel

With all the new plant introductions on the market today don’t snub the plants that your grandparents planted.  And just because a shrub can grow in the middle of a busy intersection doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be in our garden.  We need to look at these old plants in a new and innovative way.  And the same goes for garden decor… a little “kitsch” can add a lot of garden interest.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

10:00   Blackberries for the Home Garden: An Excellent Choice!  –  John Clark

Did you know that one of the largest blackberry breeding programs in the world is conducted by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture? Come hear about blackberry varieties developed in Arkansas with this presentation that highlights some of the major attributes of the best variety choices for the garden. Plus, get tips on how to grow these blackberries.

11:15   New Flowers for Your Spring Landscape – Allen Owings

The world of flowers and bedding plants sees many new and exciting varieties each year. Dr. Allen Owings provides you with a thorough overview of exciting annual bedding plants and herbaceous perennials for gardening success. Petunias, coleus, ornamental sweet potatoes, begonias, vinca, torenia (wishbone flower), marigolds, salvia and many more species are highlighted. Emphasis is placed on plants for reliable spring through fall performance.

12:30   Basic Back Yard Garden – Jill Forrester

Successful Arkansas farmer and restauranteur, Jill Forrester, discusses seed starting, how to add nutrients to your soil, the use of plasticulture, or landscape fabric in the garden, and drip irrigation.  She reviews the top 10 crops and varieties that do well in Arkansas, provides companion planting tips, and explains how to get rid of pests organically.

1:45   Easy Care Annuals and Perennials – Janet Carson

Do you love to tend your garden and enjoy its beauty? Janet Carson shows you how to make gardening easier and more fun by planting annuals and perennials that are both easy to care for and will add interest and beauty to the garden.  Janet advises us to garden smarter with these less pampered plants.

Seminar Speaker Bios

Patrick Byers is Regional Horticulture Specialist with the Webster County office of University of Missouri Extension, based in Marshfield.  Patrick joined MU Extension in 2008, and his current position includes outreach programming for commercial horticulture in 9 southwest Missouri counties. His educational background includes multiple degrees in horticulture and job experience includes 3 years at the University of Arkansas Fruit Substation and 18 years as Fruit Grower Advisor at the MSU State Fruit Experiment Station where he worked with fruit research programs and provided outreach training for fruit growers.

John R. Clark is a distinguished professor of horticulture at the University of Arkansas. His research responsibilities are his primary appointment and he has worked in the University’s Division of Agriculture fruit breeding program since 1980. He works with a range of fruit crops and has developed more than 50 varieties of various fruits. Dr. Clark has cooperative breeding activities at several locations in the United States and in addition has sites in Europe, Mexico, South America, and Australia. His work in blackberries is recognized worldwide.

Janet Carson’s official title is University of Arkansas Extension Horticulture Specialist for consumer horticulture and State Master Gardener Coordinator for Arkansas, but anyone involved in gardening in  Arkansas appreciates her as the articulate, interesting, knowledgeable “go-to garden guru” in our state. Her weekly column in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette is widely followed as are her frequent television spots. Janet has a Bachelor of Science in Urban Horticulture and a Master’s Degree in general agriculture/horticulture from the University of Arkansas. Janet has worked for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service since 1980

Jill Forrester is a self-taught farmer and floral designer.  Jill and her husband have built two businesses, Whitton Farms, which is Certified Naturally Grown; and a farm to table restaurant, Trolley Stop Market, located in Memphis.  Both Jill and her husband are former public school teachers and have been specialty crop farming for 14 years.

Carol Mendel is an “out of control plant person” and a lifetime Master Gardener with a background in interior design.  After gardening in rocky soil with a heavy deer population she has discovered a passion for the time-tested and common garden plants.

Allen D Owings is professor emeritus of horticulture at Louisiana State University. He retired in 2017 from the LSU AgCenter with 25 years’ service.  He provided statewide extension service programming for nursery growers, landscapers, garden centers, Master Gardeners and to home gardeners.  He was coordinator of LSU AgCenter Louisiana Super Plant program.   He has been recognized by the Louisiana and National Agricultural County Agents Associations with their achievement award and distinguished service award. He is a life member of the Louisiana Nursery and Landscape Association and Louisiana Society for Horticultural Research.