Keynote Speakers

 Image of sunglasses focused on purple flowers

The 2021 Master Gardener College features three dynamic keynote speakers, one each day of the event.  These outstanding award-winning speakers are sure to ignite your passion for plants, help you weed out misinformation, and enhance your gardening successes.   

Jared Barnes, Assistant Professor, Stephen F. Austin State University

Keep Growing: Share the Love of Plants

Jared Barnes

Horticulture was the original social network, connecting cultures since the dawn of humanity.  Today, we need plants more than ever to bring us together as concerns over climate change, health and well-being, and social issues plague our society.  Dr. Barnes will share how Extension Master Gardeners can continue the tradition of using flora to teach and inspire others to cultivate a better world.  

Jared started gardening when he was five years old, and since then he has enthusiastically pursued how to best cultivate plants and cultivate minds. He currently fulfills those passions as an assistant professor of horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.  

He obtained his Ph.D. in horticultural science from North Carolina State University; he interned the summer of 2008 at The Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Pennslyvania; and he has traveled around the United States and into eleven countries to gain a national and global perspective of horticulture. His passion has been recognized by peers with being named the 2016 Perennial Plant Association Young Professional of the Year, recognized in the 2016 Greenhouse Product News Class of 40 under 40 and in interviews in Organic Gardening, Greenhouse Grower, AmericanHort Connect, Ken Druse’s Real Dirt, and Nursery Management, and his articles have appeared in Fine Gardening and Carolina Gardener


Linda Chalker-Scott, Professor and Extension Urban Horticulturist, Washington State University (WSU) Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Puyallup, Wash.

Evidence Based Information: Weeding Out Myths and Planting Seeds of Thought 

Photo of Linda Chalker-Scott

Extension Master Gardeners want the latest plant and soil science information to use and pass on, but how do you tell what’s science – and what’s pseudoscience? Dr. Chalker-Scott’s keynote will address how to differentiate science from pseudoscience and provide guidelines for objective evaluations of articles, books, and electronic resources. She will also demonstrate these methods using several products and practices of interest to gardeners everywhere.

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist.  She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. In 2020, she was named the new editor for the Western Arborist magazine. 

Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest book is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019), which has won several national awards since its publication.

 In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s educational contributions to science-based information have been recognized by such groups as Garden Communicators International, the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, and the International Association for Arboriculture.


Bryce Lane, Lecturer Emeritus and Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor, North Carolina State University

Separated at Birth: How Genetics, Environment, and Culture Affect Plant Growth

Image of Bryce Lane with hydranges

Mr. Lane will examine several variables that contribute to successful plant growth... and why sometimes, no matter how hard we try, plants just do not grow the way they are supposed to. (How many times have we asked ourselves, "Why doesn't it look like it does on the tag?!"). He will discuss how a plant's genetic makeup (genome) interacts with the environment (sun, soil etc.), and our cultural practices (watering, fertilizing etc.), ultimately resulting in its success or failure.

Bryce Lane discovered his passion for plants, and telling others about them while working at a small Massachusetts garden center through high school and college. After earning his BS and MS in Horticulture, he came to the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University as an Instructor and Undergraduate Coordinator. He spent 34 years teaching and advising over 20,000 students. Bryce retired in 2014, but still teaches part-time in the department. For 11 seasons he hosted and produced a three-time, Emmy winning, UNC TV public television show called “In the Garden With Bryce Lane”.  

 He now spends his time giving horticulture talks, doing leadership, and communication training, teaching part-time at NC State, and at the JC Raulston Arboretum. An avid gardener, Bryce has gardened on the same one quarter acre plot for 37 years.