2018 Home Gardener Day Speakers

Trista Imrich

Trista Imrich is the Restoration Coordinator for Lynnhaven River Now and owns a conservation landscape design business, Wild Works of Whimsy. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Trista attended The Ohio State University for undergraduate studies as part of the Navy ROTC program. During her six and half years as a Naval Surface Warfare Officer, she completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy & Management, and left the Navy to pursue environmental interests. Trista is a Virginia Certified Horticulturist and Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional with a passion for conservation landscape design, habitat restoration, and stormwater management. She lives in Virginia Beach with her husband, Chris, a Virginia Beach native and veterinarian, and their two dogs, Jones and William. Trista recently helped write and edit the native plant guide Native Plants for Southeast Virginia.

Les Parks

Les Parks is the Director of Horticulture at Norfolk Botanical Garden. He received his Landscape Design Certificate from The George Washington University, and became a Virginia Certified Horticulturist in 1994. Before joining the botanical garden, he spent many years in retail garden centers where he enjoyed matching people with plants. He writes the coastal report for Virginia Gardener magazine and publishes two blogs: A Tidewater Gardener and A Tidewater Paddler.

Dr. Robert Lyons

Dr. Robert Lyons is the former Director of the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture and currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Delaware. He received a B.A. in Biology from Rutgers University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Horticultural Science from the University of Minnesota.  Previous positions include the J.C. Raulston Distinguished Faculty Chair and Directorship of the J.C. Raulston Arboretum at N.C. State University, and Professor of Horticulture and Co-Founder/Director of the Hahn Horticulture Garden at Virginia Tech.  He is a Fellow in the American Society for Horticultural Science and has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Minnesota and the Award of Merit from the American Public Gardens Association.  Dr. Lyons has taught herbaceous plant materials for over 30 years and has been a photographer for over 35 years.  He has exhibited nationally and received awards from the Garden Writers Association of America.

Colston Burrell

Colston Burrell is an acclaimed lecturer, garden designer, award winning author and photographer. A certified chlorophyll addict, Cole is an avid and lifelong plantsman, gardener and naturalist. Cole is a popular lecturer internationally on topics of design, plants and ecology. He has shared his encyclopedic knowledge of plants and his abiding respect for regional landscapes with professional and amateur audiences for 40 years. He is principal of Native Landscape Design and Restoration, which specializes in blending nature and culture through artistic design. In 2008 Cole received the Award of Distinction from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers for his work promoting sustainable gardening practices.

Cole worked as curator at the U.S. National Arboretum and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. He has devoted a lifetime to studying native plants in the wild and in gardens which lead to undergraduate degrees in Botany and Horticulture. He has an M.S. in Horticulture from University of Maryland and a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Minnesota. He is a lecturer in the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, where he teaches about plants and their ecological connections to natural systems and cultural landscapes.

Cole’s latest book, Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide, coauthored with Judith Knott Tyler, received the 2007 American Horticultural Society Book Award. He is author of several popular titles, including Perennial Combinations, Revised 2008, Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants, Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Perennials—10th Anniversary Edition with Ellen Phillips, Perennials for Today’s Gardens and A Gardener’s Encyclopedia of Wildflowers, which won the 1997 AHS Book Award. Cole’s articles have appeared in Horticulture, Landscape Architecture, Fine Gardening, American Gardener and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. His writing reflects a love of plants, and he champions their use in artistically designed, environmentally friendly gardens.

Mike Likins

Since 2002, Mike has been the Director and County Agent for Chesterfield Cooperative Extension where he is responsible for agriculture and horticulture.  He attended the University of Memphis, graduating with honors with a BS in Botany, and then enrolled in the graduate Plant Pathology program at West Virginia University, graduating with an MS in forest pathology.  Immediately following graduate school, he was employed as an Assistant Extension Specialist with WVU Cooperative Extension where he oversaw pesticide applicator training, plant diagnostics, and integrated pest management.

In 1990, Mike was selected as the State Plant Pathologist for the Commonwealth of Virginia, serving in the Office of Plant & Pest Services for the VDACS.  During 12 years with the Department of Agriculture, Mike served concurrently as the State Endangered Species Coordinator (for plants & insects), and as supervisor of the Beneficial Insect Rearing Laboratory for 3 years.

Trevor Buckley

Trevor is a landscape planner and designer with a keen interest in bringing ecological design principles to bear on projects at all scales.  His education and research have taken him across the American West, Europe, and Southeast Asia.  After graduating from the College of William & Mary with a B.S. in Geology, he pursued farming and gardening for several seasons. This work led him to the Conway School’s graduate program in sustainable landscape planning and design, where he earned a M.S. in Ecological Design. As a member of the landscape architecture studio at Timmons Group, based in Richmond, Virginia, Trevor works on a wide array of public and private sector projects in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.