Speakers

The 2017 Aiken Garden Show will feature interesting and informative speakers and demonstrations. Plan to join us in the ballroom at Banksia to learn the best way to design, grow, maintain and enjoy your garden.

Friday, May 19th ~ 4:00 pm ~ in the Ballroom

Don't Miss This!

At 4:00 pm on Friday in the Ballroom, we are pleased to present a panel discussion with 4 "Know-it-Alls" to answer all your gardening questions. Before or after touring the gardens and visiting the vendors, you are bound to have lots of questions that our panel can answer. Landscape design! Sun or shade! Perennials and annuals! Trees and shrubs! Good and bad bugs! Bring it on – our panelists have the solutions.


Panelist: Vicky Bertagnolli

Vicky Bertagnolli is the Consumer Horticulture Agent, Master Gardener Coordinator, and local ‘bug geek’ in Aiken County. Prior to joining Clemson as an Extension Agent in January 2008, Vicky spent seven years as a Research Technician for Auburn University's Alabama Fire Ant Management Program and also worked part-time for a pest control company. Vicky's areas of expertise are Imported Fire Ants and Management, Insect Identification, and Urban Pest Management using Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Vicky conducts Master Gardener Training Courses in Aiken and Lexington Counties, is the Private Pesticide Applicator Training Coordinator in Aiken County, is a Coordinator for the Commercial Pesticide Applicator Licensing Prep Course, and makes regular appearances on SCETV's Making It Grow.

Vicky holds a B.S. in Wildlife Sciences from Auburn University and was awarded her M.S. in Entomology from Auburn University August 6, 2016.


Panelist: Todd Stilp

Todd Stilp, President of Enviroscape, has been a proven leader in the Aiken community for over 30 years. From the early days of mowing lawns and rototilling gardens for neighbors to more recent extensive Estate planning projects, Todd has distinguished himself as a dedicated landscape professional without exception. He developed Enviroscape as a landscape company that emphasized several key factors: proper horticultural practices, a finished product that would 'add value to the property' and exceptional customer service.


Panelist: Michaela Berley

Michaela Berley's interest in plants, gardens and how they relate to people started when she was studying agriculture in high school. She continued her studies at Augusta Technical College where she earned a Certified Horticultural Therapist Degree. Along the way she designed the Christmas display for Hopelands Gardens and for the last 6 years has been working for Cold Creek Nurseries as a well known source for knowledge and inspiration working with perennials.


Panelist: Sid Mullis

Sid worked for the University of Georgia Extension Service for over 34 years until his retirement last September. He worked in Richmond County for over 31 ½ of those years. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Economics. He then went on to earn his Master's Degree in Public Administration from Brenau University. During his time with Extension in Richmond County he wrote a weekly garden column for the Augusta Chronicle. For over 18 years, he also wrote a gardening article for the Augusta Magazine. He continues to provide answers and information for the Georgia Gardening Magazine’s, “Ask The Expert” column. Sid co-hosts Augusta’s weekly radio call in talk show, The Lawn & Garden Hour, on WGAC 580 AM on Saturday mornings. In November, he came out with his book, Sid Sez…. Grow It in Augusta, which he debuted with a book signing at Sacred Heart Cultural Center open house in November. Sid is a member of the Exchange Club of Augusta and First Baptist Church of Augusta. He is married and has three children.


Saturday, May 20 ~ 9:00 am ~ in the Ballroom

Mr. Pearl Fryar, Topiary Artist

Mr. Pearl Fryar, nationally known topiary artist, will discuss the art of topiary as he creates a sculpture in front of the audience. Mr. Fryar's creation will be auctioned off at the end of the presentation. Following that, Mr. Fryar will be available to sign the beautiful book, "Outstanding American Gardens" in which his garden in Bishopville, South Carolina is featured.

Born in 1939 in rural North Carolina, the son of a sharecropper, Pearl Fryar has overcome obstacles in his personal and professional life largely as a result of his positive attitude. He came of age in the racially segregated South, attended college, served in the military, and worked 39 years as a production-line engineer for a soda can factory. But it is his garden which has brought him the most satisfaction.

In 1984 Pearl began honing his topiary skills after he and his wife, Metra, bought their first house with a yard. After working a 12 hour shift, he would come home and cut plants under the illumination of a street lamp. Many of the plant materials in his garden were cast offs, nurtured by Pearl into incredibly expressive topiary structures. His hard work was rewarded by his local garden club with the Yard of the Month award. More than 20 years after he was so honored, Pearl and his garden have now been featured in dozens of magazines and newspapers, as well as national television programs. The garden has been named a Preservation Project of the Garden Conservancy, a national nonprofit agency that preserves exceptional American gardens.

Just as Pearl looks for the potential in each plant and encourages the growth and creativity within, he hopes that the over 5000 visitors to his garden each year are inspired to look for the potential within themselves. Guests who attend his presentation at the Aiken Garden Show on May 20 will definitely be inspired as they watch Mr. Fryar create a topiary sculpture while sharing with the audience his personal learning journey.