Connect With Kerry Ann

First Fall Great Plants Symposium

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center, Sturbridge, MA

This new exciting fall Symposium is patterned after its sell-out ‘sister’ symposium, The Great Gardens and Landscaping Symposium, held each spring.

Special Bonus

In addition to the full day of programming on Friday, there is a special 'Double-Header' Flower Gardening Class!

Thursday, October 5 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

This session in NOT part of the symposium programming, it is as additional offering.

The Symposium Features

  • Five info-packed lectures led by nationally and regionally renowned professionals in their fields
  • Terrific handouts, door prizes and garden gifts
  • Special overnight room rates for symposium attendees at The Host Hotel & Conference Center
  • An exquisite setting - The hotel is located in central Massachusetts, just one mile from the famous Old Sturbridge Village, a living museum that re-creates life in rural New England during the 1790s through 1830s. Sturbridge is near the intersection of I84 and the I90 (the Massachusetts Pike)
  • Fall Foliage and Columbus Day Weekend – the symposium backs up the Columbus Day weekend when foliage should be at, or near peak in this lovely New England setting.
  • An opportunity to connect with enthusiastic gardeners from around the Northeast

Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 5 - Special Pre-Symposium Class

Kerry Ann Mendez1:00 – 4:00 p.m. 'Double-Header' Flowering Gardening Class. Presenter: Kerry Ann Mendez, an award-winning speaker, writer and garden designer in Kennebunk, Maine. This lively and info-packed session features two of Kerry Ann's popular gardening lectures.

  • Switcheroos – Plant This, Not That! Get more bang for your buck with these amazing annuals, perennials and flowering shrubs that provide strikingly more color than the commonly planted options. Plus these underused beauties are low-maintenance and in many cases require less water. Presentation includes design tips.
  • Garden Therapy: Tips for Reducing Stress, Improving Health and Growing Gorgeous Gardens. This eye-opening presentation will introduce you to remarkable plants and time-saving gardening products & tools that benefit your health, as well as the wellbeing of the planet, while also beautifying your gardens!

Registration Fee

The three-hour class fee is $49 per person and includes a refreshment break and lots of handouts and garden catalogs.

Group rate: $45 per person for 5 or more registered together.

Master Gardeners: $45 per person.

Class fee is additional to the symposium fee. Class registration is at the bottom of this page along with the symposium registration options.

Friday, October 6 - Symposium Starts!

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Symposium Registration
. Coffee and Tea


8:30 a.m. Unique and Interesting Ways to Display and Decorate with Flowers, Plants and Foliage.

Presenter: Joanne Palmisano-Author Designer, Stylist and Salvage Specialist.

Joanne will lead this lively, fun-filled presentation that includes some easy and interesting Do-It-Yourself projects for plants, flowers and foliage. She will also show you some unique ways homeowners have incorporated pieces into their home design and decor.

Joanne Palmisano is an award-winning interior designer. She is a Contributing Designer for DIY NETWORK and a DIY Content Contributor. Joanne is the author of two internationally acclaimed interior design books: Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & Décor and is working on her third book. Joanne is also a Lifestyle/Prop Stylist for many catalogs, magazines, product lines, hotels, and other companies, including Gardener’s Supply Company. For more about Joanne, visit

9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Refreshment break featuring fresh fruits and pastries. Book signing with Joanne Palmisano


10:00- 11:00 a.m. Combat Cabin Fever with Your Garden!

Presenter: Kathy Purdy – winner of the Garden Writers Association 2015 Silver Award for Excellence in blog writing.

If winter starts too early and spring doesn’t come soon enough OR if you find yourself pacing indoors and gazing out windows hoping to see something other than snow, you need to design a breathtaking winter landscape to enjoy from indoors. Kathy will introduce you to some tips, techniques and great plants to create a winter wonderland and brighten your world.

Kathy Purdy has been writing for over thirteen years at She has written for Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and The American Gardener. She lives with her husband and children on ten acres in Chenango County, NY. Kathy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She gardens in a cold climate because she hates hot weather more than snow, but concedes that winter is a tad too long. Her garden philosophy is: "If it's not fun, don't do it--or figure out how to make it fun!"


11:00 – Noon The World of Roses and Hydrangeas.

Presenter: Heather Lynn Poire, professional sales associate with Bailey Nurseries.

Heather is delightful plant geek who has been immersed in the plant industry for the past 17 years. Roses and Hydrangeas are two of the shrubs she adores – especially those that perform well in the Northeast. Heather’s inspiring presentation will feature the most popular roses and hydrangeas in the market as well as pruning and fertilizing techniques for thriving specimens.

Heather has been involved in Horticulture for most of her life. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Horticulture and became the Sales Manager for Proven Winners. For twelve years she oversaw the distribution of Proven Winners annuals, perennials and shrubs to garden centers in the Northeast. For the past five years Heather has been in sales with Bailey Nurseries, a premier wholesale company based in Minnesota. A true gardener at heart, when she’s not working you can find her in her garden spending time with her friends.

Noon – 1:00 p.m. Luncheon Buffet


1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Designing and Decorating with Salvage, Vintage and Recycled Materials.

Presenter: Joanne Palmisano.

Joanne will continue to entertain and inspire you, showcasing unique and stunning home design ideas and decorating tips that incorporate salvage, reclaimed and vintage materials. Joanne will also talk about easy ways to find and use reclaimed materials for your own Do-It-Yourself Projects.


2:00 – 3:00 p.m. A Thrifty Gardener’s Guide to Luxurious Gardens.

Presenter: Kerry Ann Mendez - award-winning speaker, author and garden designer.

Kerry Ann will share some of her designer trade secrets for acquiring great plants for less, as well as design tips and smart choices that create longer blooming, more sustainable gardens that are prized by gardeners and pollinators alike. This presentation is based on her newest book coming out in February 2018.

Kerry is the owner of Perennially Yours, a garden lecturing, design and consulting business located in Kennebunk, Maine. She focuses on time-saving gardening techniques, workhorse plant material and organic practices. Kerry has been in national magazines including Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Garden Gate, and Better Homes and Gardens. In 2014 she was awarded the Gold Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. She is the author of three gardening books of which her most recent top seller is The Right-Size Flower Garden. Her fourth book is expected out in February 2018. For more about Kerry and her work, visit

3:00 p.m. Closing Remarks


Registration fee for Great Plants Fall Symposium includes:

  • Five dynamic garden lectures
  • Saturday morning coffee, mid-morning refreshments and lunch buffet
  • Handouts for each lecture
  • Garden gift
  • Door prizes!

Rates for Symposium (Friday, October 6)

Regular Rate: $93 per person

Group Rate: $88 per person when 5 or more people register together. *PAYMENT BY CHECK ONLY. PRINT REGISTRATION FORM BELOW.

Master Gardeners Rate: $88 per person.


Rates for Pre-Symposium Class Only (Thursday, October 5)

Registration fee includes:

  • a refreshment break
  • handouts and
  • garden catalogs.

Regular Rate: $49 per person

Group rate: $45 per person for 5 or more registered together. *PAYMENT BY CHECK ONLY. PRINT THE REGISTRATION FORM BELOW

Master Gardeners rate: $45 per person.


Payment Options

Pay By Check

For the Great Plants Fall Symposium AND/OR the 3-Hour Garden Class, download the Registration Form below, complete the form and mail it in to arrive before October 5, 2017.

Payment by check is required for Groups.  No discount will be given if paying by credit card.

Pay By Credit Card

Great Plants Symposium

$93 regular registration
$88 Master Gardener registration

Thursday 3-Hour Gardening Class

$49 regular registration
$45 Master Gardener registration


Special Overnight Room Rates
for Registered symposium attendees at The Host Hotel & Conference Center.

$112 per night, single or double.

To make reservations, please call (508) 347-7393 and request the special garden symposium rate.