Online registration is now closed but don’t despair!!!

Late registration can be done in person on Saturday morning. Please see the agenda below for start times and the events of the day.

When: Our Georgia Master Gardener Conference will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 promptly at 8:30am

Where: The Museum of Aviation Century of Flight Building, Warner Robins, Georgia

Who: The 2019 Garden Conference is open to all Master Gardeners, Gardeners, Green Industry Professionals and Consumers. Master Gardeners and Industry Professionals can receive educational credits. There are three credits for Forestry Category 23; three credits for Ornamental / Turf Category 24; and 2 credits for Private Pesticide.

This Year’s Agenda Includes Several Free Tours and Activities:

  • Friday, October 18th

    • The Friday Reception will be held at The Farmhouse from 5 to 8pm. This is a must attend part of the conference and for those of you who thought it was only on Saturday, October 19, 2019 – think again! The Farmhouse is at 95 Chantilly Dr, Warner Robins, GA 31088. GPS users may want to use 417 S. Houston Lake Rd., Warner Robins, GA 31088. The Farmhouse is on Chantilly behind McCullough Funeral Home. Parking is the back lot of McCullough and the designated parking area next to the Farmhouse.

    • Also on Friday, there will be a free tour of the must see “Native Plant Garden” at the Macon Museum of Arts and Science (4182 Forsyth Rd, Macon, GA 31210) from 11am to 3pm. In 2013, the garden received the Native Landscape Award at the South Georgia Native Plant and Wildflower Symposium. Come see this special garden!

  • Saturday, October 19th

    • We have a packed agenda for the Saturday conference (please see the next section on this page for a full agenda). In addition to our packed agenda, the GMGA Conference Garden Market will be open on Saturday, October 19th from 8:30 – 4:30pm.

    • For the Conference Garden Market, we have top notch growers including Japanese Maples from Mr. Maple, Native trees, shrubs and plants from Ernest Koone, owner of Lazy K Nursery, the largest grower of native azaleas in the U.S.; Donna Vincent, Vincent Gardens and Greg Lewis, Flat Creek Natives. Tim Bell, Bell’s Daylily Gardens, will offer Georgia grown daylilies and Tim Lewis, Lewis Farms Nursery will have perennial plant at the market. Linda Fraser, renowned native plant artist will show and sell native plant art and prints.

  • Sunday, October 20th

    • The day after the conference, Sunday, October 20th another real treat is in store for conference attendees. All attendees will receive free admission to Massee Lane Gardens (100 Massee Ln, Fort Valley, GA 31030), a designated International Camellia Society’s “Garden of Excellence”. Massee Lane will be open from 1pm to 4:30 pm.

    • Not far away, in Elko, Georgia is another treasure. Mary Royal, owner of “Royal Gardens” has invited all conference attendees to tour the gardens at no cost! Ms. Royal will be on hand to answer questions about the gardens during the self-guided tour between the hours of 9am to 2pm. Royal Gardens is located 2541 Elko Rd. in Elko, Georgia. The reception and garden tours are free. Come join us for a great conference and a taste of Southern hospitality! 

The Full Agenda for Satuday, October 19th:

  • 8:30 Presentation of the Colors - Military Honor Guard

  • 8:40 Good morning and Welcome - Larry Julian, M.C.

  • 8:40 Welcome to Warner Robins - Mayor Randy Toms

  • 8:50 GMGA Direction - President George Jeburk

  • 9:10 “Plants & People: Connections for the Future” - UGA Sheri Dorn

  • 9:30 “Georgia’s Landmark and Historic Trees” - Mary Lynne Beckley, Ga Urban Tree Council

  • 10:15 Break

  • 10:30 “Trees Gone With the Wind – Big Wind and Ice Storms Making Proper Tree Care Even More Important” - Dr Kim Coder

  • 11:45 Lunch

  • 12:45 “Trialed and Proven, New and Better Plants” - Mark Maher, Southern Living

  • 1:45 “A Shared Passion for Japanese Maples” - Nichols Brothers, Mr Maple

  • 2:45 Break

  • 3:00 “75 Years of Gardening. The Endless Quest for the Next Great Garden Plant” - Dr Michael Dirr

  • 4:00 Wrap Up and Final Door Prizes

Our Conference Speakers include:

“75 Years of Gardening. The Endless Quest for the Next Great Garden Plant” — Dr. Michael A. Dirr

Michael A. Dirr, professor emeritus, horticulture, University of Georgia, is widely acknowledged as one of the leading experts on trees and shrubs for landscapes and gardens. He holds BS and MS degrees in horticulture from The Ohio State University and the Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts. Dirr has introduced over 200 woody plants to cultivation and holds 29 patents with the UGA Research Foundation. With two partners, he established Plant Introductions, Inc., a breeding and introduction company in 2006, selling it to Bailey Nurseries in 2015. Dirr continues to work in lockstep with the American nursery industry to introduce and promote new trees and shrubs.


“Trees Gone With the Wind – Big Wind and Ice Storms Making Proper Tree Care Even More Important” — Dr. Kim D. Coder

Professor of Tree Biology and Health Care, and Hill Fellow for Distinguished Public Service and Outreach, at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, USA. He has degrees from Iowa State University in forestry, tree biology, and forest ecology. Dr. Coder was elected world President of the International Society of Arboriculture, and served as President of the Southern Chapter of ISA, the international Arboriculture Research & Education Academy (AREA), and the Georgia Urban Forest Council. He was appointed to the USDA-Secretary’s NUCFAC, advising on community forestry issues. Dr. Coder is author of over 500 technical publications and articles. He is an international lecturer and consultant to private citizens, corporations, attorneys, and communities on tree health care, tree anatomy, abiotic tree stress, lightning & tree protection, storm damage, biomechanics, and community forest ecology.


“Georgia’s Landmark and Historic Trees” — Mary Lynne Beckley

Executive Director of the Georgia Urban Tree Council. Her mission is to sustain Georgia’s green legacy by partnering with organizations, individuals and communities.


“A Shared Passion for Japanese Maples” — Mathew and Tim Nichols

Matt and Tim Nichols are the co-owners of and Their nursery is located in East Flat Rock, NC. While most of their business is online sales, a visit to the nursery can be scheduled. Both brothers are accomplished grafters and work to continuously improve their process. They travel extensively for research. Matt and Tim have lectured at universities around the south. They have presented their academic article on Japanese Maple Propagation to the Southern Region of the International Plant Propagator’s Society.


“Trialed and Proven, New and Better Plants” — Mr. Mark Maher

Mark Maher has worked in the horticultural industry for over 30 years. He has a degree in Landscape Management from UGA and is a Certified Landscape Professional. He worked at Pike Nursery for15 years and is now in sales for Flowerwood Nursery a wholesale nursery and grower of such brands and the Encore Azaleas and the Southern Living Plant Collection.


“Plants & People: Connections for the Future” — Sheri Dorn

Sheri Dorn joined University of Georgia’s Department of Horticulture as Extension Horticulturist for Consumer Ornamentals and Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Program Coordinator in June 2012. Sheri fully appreciates Master Gardener Extension volunteers and their role as education partners with Extension, having worked with MGEVs in her position as a former state coordinator for the Virginia Master Gardener Volunteer Program (1996-1999) and as an Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent in Roanoke, Virginia (2008-2012). Additionally, Sheri brings to her UGA roles nearly ten years of industry experience, having co-owned a small retail nursery and landscape contracting firm (1999-2008). Sheri’s research centers on the relationship between people and plants, particularly the capacity of horticulture to expand communities through volunteerism.