University of Maryland Extension

Speakers' Bureau

Master Gardeners are available to speak on many topics for your garden club, church, business, community and neighborhood organizations.  An honorarium of $100 is suggested. Click on this link to download the lastest Speakers Bureau brochure. 

Or look at the classes listed below.

Please email Mary Clark ( for more information.

Bay Wise

Bay Wise Landscaping
Did you know that everyone in Maryland lives within half a mile of a stream, river, or storm drain that ultimately leads to the Chesapeake Bay? The practices we use in maintaining our lawns and landscapes can affect the health of our local waterways and our environment. Learn about the Maryland Bay-Wise Program along with gardening and landscaping practices anyone can implement in order to have a positive impact on the Chesapeake Bay.  

Native Plants in the Landscape
What are native plants, and why should we include them in our landscapes? This presentation will define and describe native plants and explain why they are beneficial to wildlife and local ecosystems. Gain a basic understanding of gardening with natives, including information about selecting and purchasing Maryland native plants and incorporating them into your own garden and landscape.  

Invasive Plants - What Can We Do?
Some species of non-native plants have established themselves in our area and become invasive problems, threatening the biodiversity of our natural ecosystems.  Learn about common invasive plants in Maryland and how to identify them.  We’ll discuss the history of how they arrived on the scene, the characteristics that give them a competitive advantage, and the negative impacts on our local ecosystems.

Landscaping with Native Ferns (Versions range from 1 hour to 1 ½ hours)
Do you want to fill your landscaping with lush masses of beautiful native ferns?  Would you like to discover which species thrive in the shade or part sun, in moist or dry soil?  Are you looking for showy ferns for your summer garden, maybe even some that will also provide winter interest?  How can you choose the right species for your landscaping?  This talk covers reasons to plant native ferns and details on more than a dozen species, including growing requirements, aesthetics and landscape uses.  

Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants
Some of the non-native plants that have become invasive species in our area are plants that were actually brought here intentionally, for horticultural purposes.  They have escaped cultivation, spread to natural areas, and are degrading wildlife habitat and diminishing biodiversity.  Many of these are still being sold for landscape use.  Learn about some beautiful native alternatives that fill the same needs in your garden as these problem plants and the benefits of using them.  

Let It Rain - Native Plants for Wet Areas
Many homeowners have areas in their landscapes where storm water collects or needs to be managed in some way.  Sometimes a rain garden is a good option to deal with this problem.  Other situations call for a shrub or tree that will be happy with “wet feet.”  This presentation will identify native plants that thrive in and beautify wet areas of your landscape.

Who Polluted the Chesapeake?
In this activity, children of all ages participate in a 20-30 minute interactive story to learn how rivers become polluted over time as human populations have increased and land uses have changed. This example demonstrates that just as we each contribute to the problem, we can also each be part of the solution.

Grow It Eat It

Vegetable Gardening Basics
A range of topics related to growing vegetables, including starting your first garden through advanced techniques and tips to extend the season, preventing and managing pests and diseases, growing food in containers, and get the most from your garden.  Speakers can easily tailor this presentation to thoroughly cover your group’s particular needs/interests.  
Vegetable Gardening - Beyond the Basics
Advanced techniques in any aspect of vegetable gardening. Speakers can easily tailor this presentation to thoroughly cover your group’s particular needs/interests.

Waking up Your Garden
This session is designed for presentation in late winter and early spring (February - early May).  The speaker will share the best practices that will give plants and gardens the best start for a strong growing season.  

Putting Your Garden to Bed
This session is designed for presentation in late summer and early autumn (September November). The focus is on applying best practices to ensure soil and plant health through the winter for minimal work and fewer pest and virus issues in the spring.

Raised Bed Gardening
Why should gardeners install raised beds? This presentation shows the advantages of using raised beds for both the garden and the gardener.  Raised beds extend the growing season, bring order to the garden, and keep problems away from the vegetables. Explore the different types of materials to use to create raised beds, and get great ideas for your garden. Directions for building your own raised bed are also included.  

Introduction to Home Composting
Come learn about the environmental benefits of composting and how you can easily reduce waste at home. Let BCMG educators instruct you on different types of composters and composting. Learn how to make a worm-composting bin and how to compost with green waste (grass clippings, young weeds, etc.) and brown waste (twigs, paper, dead plants, leaves, straw, etc.).


Growing Herbs Indoors
This nuts and bolts seminar discusses how to successfully grow herbs indoors by seed, tip propagation, or transplant. Topics include proper containers, appropriate growing mediums, necessary environmental controls (temperature, humidity, air circulation), lighting options, and a healthy water/fertilizing regimen.  

Mother Nature’s Pharmacopeia
This presentation explores the history of pharmacology and the use of herbs as medicine both in the past and in the present. Truth be told, science has done much to validate what the ancients practiced all along. The everyday herbs we cook with are as healthful as they are tasty.

Herbs Native to North America
Herbs native to North America were (naturally!) used by Native Americans. Interestingly, while Europeans developed a strong culinary herb tradition, Native Americans primarily used herbs as medicine. This seminar explores the herbal legacy of North America, a landmass as rich as it is wide in useful plants. Full of lore and legacy, this chat is as entertaining as it is informative. And that ain’t no sassafrass!


Ask a Master Gardener - Special Victims Unit
Slide presentation and discussion on any particular topic a group might request.  

Container Gardening
All you need to know about containers: types of containers, fertilizers, compost, type of soil-less mixes, watering, how to plant, and what to plant.

Interesting Plants for Shade Gardening
Are you interested in lighting up a shady corner of your garden? Learn about many different plants that can bring structure and light to areas that otherwise go unnoticed.  Many new perennials and shrubs are covered in addition to the high performers that no shade gardens should be without.  

Simple Plant Propagation
Learn the basics of seed starting, layering, cultivating self-sown seedlings, division, and soft woodcuttings to create more plants for your garden or to share with friends. Division is also necessary for most plants over time, so this presentation will help you keep your garden healthy, expand your beds, and give you more plants to share.

Gardening for Kids
A hands-on program for kids age 5 to 11 that presents the parts of a plant, what a plant needs to grow, how plants grow from seeds, and which parts are edible.  Kids get to decorate a pot, fill it with soil, and plant a seed, seedling, or small plant to take home and watch grow.   


Deer and Vole Control for Homeowners
Have you ever installed a wonderful new plant only to have it disappear underground . . . or have it mown down by foraging deer?  This presentation explains the difference between moles and voles, reviews the best techniques to keep munchers at bay, and suggests deer-proof and deer-resistant plants for sun and shade.

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) in the Vegetable Garden
Learn the best organic gardening practices to improve production and combat pests in the garden. It has four components: cultural, physical, biological and chemical strategies.

Plant Identification

Trees in the ‘Hood
In this presentation, you will become acquainted with thirty-five trees commonly found in Greenspring Valley, Baltimore County, learn identification techniques, and be introduced to Latin naming conventions.  Other topics to be addressed include ornamental features, suitability for use in a landscape, potential diseases and insect problems, commercial uses, and how to distinguish natives from look-alike non-natives.

Weeds in the ‘Hood
This presentation identifies about 20 common lawn weeds and discusses various approaches to lawn care including the use of herbicides.

Pollinator & Beneficial Insects

The Monarch Butterfly
This talk will answer the following questions: What makes Monarchs so unique? Why are Monarchs at risk? What are the Life stages and the different generations of Monarchs each season? How do you rear Monarchs? What can we do to help the Monarchs?

Pollinators in the Garden
This talk looks at what is pollination; what are the benefits? Who are the pollinators; why are they in danger? How can we help them?  How can you attract pollinators to your garden? Learn this and more in our lively and timely presentation.

Water Management

Water Management in Your Landscape
Learn the basics of storm water from understanding how water moves and acts in the landscape, assessing the cause and effect of problems in your site, and determining appropriate solutions that you can implement.  
Rain Garden Basics
Learn the basics of rain gardens including how they work, where to locate them, size and shape, planting, and maintenance.

Rain Garden Design & Construction
Learn how to design and construct a rain garden including assessing your site, determining the right location, size and shape for the garden, selecting the appropriate plants, and the requirements of garden maintenance.

Rain Gardens - Not the Solution for Every Storm Water Problem
A rain garden may not be the right solution for your storm water problem. Learn how other techniques can be used to solve specific issues in your landscape including Bay-Wise landscaping principles, pervious surface materials, rain barrels, disconnecting downspouts, diverting runoff from paved surfaces, and modifying surface runoff patterns in the landscape.

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