The Mad Gardeners’ Symposium:


Housatonic Valley Regional High School, 246 Warren Turnpike, Falls Village, CT;

Saturday, March 3, 2018 – The Mad Gardeners will hold their annual symposium; Gardening with Wildlife: The Balancing Act, on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 8:30 to 4:00, with a Snow Day of Sunday, March 4, 2018. Pre-registration by February 27, 2018 includes lunch. Cost for the day is $85.00 for Non-members and $75.00 for members. For more information visit:

Critters are an important part of our gardening life. From bears in the peach trees to butterflies on the milkweeds, from hummingbirds feeding on lobelia to mites on the phlox, we are constantly aware of, interested in, and often frustrated by, critters in our gardens. This year we asked several experts to put together talks addressing many of our critter questions.

Heather Holm, an award winning author and speaker, will start the day off with a buzz sharing her passion for the fascinating world of native bees and the plants that support them.  She will address native plants that attract specific bees and beneficial insects, including predatory and parasitic wasps, beetles, flies, true bugs, and lacewings and how the predator-prey relationships in the insect world help keep problem insect populations in balance.

Kathy Diemer, photographer and garden blogger, created a slide show to run during registration and breaks. Kathy’s slides cover the many critters that inhabit her back yard, from the frustrating to the cherished, including insects, birds, and many mammals, as well as the plants that provide them with food and housing.

Karen Bussolini, a nationally known garden photographer and speaker, will provide dozens of beautiful images to illustrate the good plant choices and restorative land practices she will be discussing to create gorgeous, wildlife-friendly gardens.

Donna Ellis, Senior Extension Educator from the University of Connecticut, will address identifying some of the newer insect and mite pests in the garden and how the Integrated Pest Management methods to help control them can be implemented. Donna has worked with the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture for 28 years.

Tom Wessels is a terrestrial ecologist and professor emeritus at Antioch University New England that will share his knowledge of the woodland and woodland edge biodiversity. With humor and wit, Tom will cover woodland co-evolution and the justification for native plants that will enhance and boost biodiversity, while using examples that can be incorporated into designed landscapes.


*Recertification Credits Possible: Please visit for more details. Contact: Kathleen Nelson

(860) 355-1547 or