MG Speakers

Oklahoma Master Gardener Speaker Information

David Redhage, Keynote Speaker

Topic: Native Plants for Native Pollinators

Bio: David came to the Kerr Center in 1993 after receiving an M.S. in Ag Econ from U of Missouri-Columbia. He is now serving as the President of this sustainable agriculture research and education program. His responsibilities include coordinating the annual grant process, reviewing and approving final grant reports, and reporting bi-annually to the Southern Region SARE Administrative Council.

Topic Description: While native pollinator habitat has been studied and promoted in different regions of the United States, limited work has been done in the eastern Oklahoma region. We are helping to fill that gap! In the last few years, the Kerr Center has stepped up its efforts to conserve and create habitat for pollinators. These include honey bees as well as native pollinators — native bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, and hummingbirds.

Carla Grogg, Speaker

Topic: Garden with a Purpose

Bio: Carla is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. A desire, not a degree, has driven Carla and Kelly to open Grogg’s Green Barn. Proudly celebrating the grand opening in 2011, Grogg’s is Tulsa’s premier local, organic and sustainable plant and landscape nursery. Behind the name stands a passion for growing organically, community involvement, and a desire to educate others on why sustainability matters in agriculture. At our retail location, they produce what they preach. The retail facility encompasses over 12 sustainable features, including: a 5000 gallon rain water tank, backyard chickens, composting, observatory beehive, rain garden and much more. Carla drives a company with new ideas and products. Keeping the company unique and bringing the latest trends in urban gardening is the number one goal.

Topic Description: There are many great things we all have in common! Together, we make choices that are important, impactful and move our industry forward to meet the demands of consumers. Taking a step towards sustainable practices and making intentional decisions can be both rewarding and fulfilling. Let's garden with the purpose for 2017! 

Lisa Merrill, Speaker

Topic: What’s the Big Deal about Heirlooms?

Bio: Lisa Merrell is an Oklahoma native who relocated to Seattle. She returned to Tulsa in 2004 to learn and work with her dad, Darrell Merrill, the Tomato Man. She's had many interests along the way, but she chose to continue her father’s work of preserving genetic diversity within the heirloom seed movement. For over 20 years, her family saved seeds, allowing them to sell several different varieties of vegetable plants at their family land in West Tulsa, purchased in 1930.  

Now known as the Tomato Man’s Daughter, Lisa felt fortunate to have worked on her grandparents’ home place. However, the plant collection is growing, so Lisa made the decision to move operations to her farm. Additional green houses were added, allowing her to better serve her customers by offering more varieties of heirloom plants. The Tomato Man’s Daughter Heirloom Plant Nursery will open this year, 1 mile south of the original location. More details can be found on Facebook – tomatomansdaugher. We are so proud to offer gardeners the best plants possible keeping tradition alive.    

Topic Description: What's the big deal about heirlooms? Flavor! Flavor! Flavor! Many gardeners plant with the hopes of growing the tasty fruits and vegetables that they remember from childhood, or with the hopes of improving on grocery store produce. But many varieties don’t stand up to the test of time like heirlooms do. The heirloom varieties may have been handed down by family or maintained in a culture for generations. The taste is delicious, and often accompanied by amazing stories of their history! Saving seeds is vital for heirloom plants. Without these seeds, we would have no “old-time” varieties! My dad, Darrell Merrill, of Jenks, OK, helped to enlighten thousands of gardeners and brought the heirloom tradition into the modern times. He was considered a pioneer in the heirloom movement.

By growing heirlooms in backyards we can play an important role in saving America’s culturally diverse garden heritage, and experience great eating as well!  The Tomato Man’s Daughter, Lisa Merrill will be sharing some of the inspirational stories behind heirloom tomatoes, peppers and garlic. 

Kenda Woodburn, Speaker

Topic: Walking on the Wild Side – Foraging Tips and Observations

Bio: Kenda Woodburn was raised in Florida and North Carolina by her horticulturist, turned marine biologist, dad, Ken Woodburn. Her mother Bonnie is a preservation artist. Mixed in was her true guitar ace brother Lance, who had garage bands, but is now a financial planner. Her youthful summer days were spent swimming in sinkholes, exploring coastlines, riding horses, rescuing turtles and snakes, stopping at fruit stands, picking loquats and oranges and saving historical buildings. These activities put lots of thoughts in her head! One such was, when wandering various topographies, that there was no convenient store or restaurant nearby, what can one eat? Being too slow to catch a rabbit, and being a turtle lover, she turned to the plants.

In order to learn more about delicious edible fruits, she attended Abraham Baldwin Ag College in Georgia, Clemson University in South Carolina, and then received an MS in horticulture from the University of Florida, her home state.

Kenda has worked for the University of Arkansas for 15 years in fruit breading, but in 2012, she felt called to the Oklahoma prairies and hills. She currently works as a horticulture extension educator for OSU in Osage and Tulsa Counties.

Topic Description: With the help of Kenda’s Cherokee friends and Eule Gibbon type friends, and of course her Irish grandma, she learned what could be eaten happily, what could be eaten in a pinch and what shouldn't ever be eaten!

Beth Teel, Speaker

Topic: Garden Style

Bio: Beth Teel's garden has been on the Tulsa Garden Tour, “Open Garden’ Tours, and Tulsa’s Herb Society's Annual Member Tour. Recently, her garden was featured in the Oklahoma Gardening Magazine and discussed on the PBS show Oklahoma Gardening.

Topic Description: Designing vignettes in her garden which involve balance, texture and color, adds detail to Beth's midtown Tulsa home. There are many ways to style a garden that will add character and quaintness. “I not only love making my garden a place to visually enjoy, but also a place that is an extension of my home”, says Beth.

Beth will discuss gardening style using favorite plants, a variety of plant materials, pots, and vintage inspired items. She'll talk about tips, tools and tragedies in the garden. 

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