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Pollinator Symposium – Session 2

January 26, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Inviting Biodiversity into Our Gardens will educate and inspire homeowners, horticulturists, botanists, naturalists, landscape architects and designers, educators, conservationists and anyone eager to learn about creating pollinator and wildlife habitats using native plants and trees to promote biodiversity, species richness and ecological resilience.

The free webinar series will feature five sessions intended to guide you from start to finish in creating gardens that benefit pollinators and other wildlife. Join us and explore the importance of restoring our increasingly fragmented and disappearing native habitats beginning in our own backyards—whether small or large.

Session 2:  From Lawn to Garden: Successfully Transforming Your Landscape for Increased Biodiversity
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
1:00 – 4:00 pm ET

The second of five, this session will address our devotion to lawns and the importance of rethinking these landscapes. Our presenters will address the long-term environmental effects of maintaining lawns and offer sustainable alternatives.

1:00 pm ET
Creating Captivating Biodiverse Residential Gardens: One Practitioner’s Path of Discovery

Nadia Malarkey, Designer, Nadia Malarkey Design

Forty-five million acres of US lawns account for more tons of toxic pesticides per acre than those used for agriculture. This suburban aesthetic and practice has produced large-scale habitat loss, reduced biodiversity, depleted soils and contributed to the degradation of our waterways. It has dramatically reduced bird, pollinator and keystone species, and accelerated climate change. Is it possible to rescue and regenerate suburbia from this pattern of ecological abuse while at the same time addressing human needs? Nadia will share her philosophy and examples of her projects where this is being achieved in collaboration with her clients. By integrating principles of spatial design, a native plant aesthetic serves as a foundation to create carefully designed plant communities so that former monoculture landscapes become beautiful and eminently useful.

2:00 pm ET
Gravel Gardening: A Sustainable Solution
Jeff Epping, Director of Horticulture, Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Earth-friendly gravel gardens require less of just about everything—water, mulch, energy, chemicals, and most importantly, labor—but give back so much more! Sustainable gravel gardens are as colorful as any perennial planting around, provide food and habitat for  pollinators and other insects plus require up to 80% less maintenance than a traditional perennial planting. Jeff Epping will show you step by step how he and his staff have designed, installed and maintained the gravel gardens at Olbrich using ecologically-minded gardening principles. Jeff will also show you how he has transformed his own small suburban lot with its typical bluegrass into an astonishingly beautiful low maintenance, no lawn garden that is teeming with life.

3:00 pm ET
Challenging the Subdivision Landscape Norm: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity with Native Plants
Kevin O’Brien, Principal, Lifestyle Landscaping

We may recognize that native plants are critical to support the life cycle of pollinators and wildlife in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem. But how can the average homeowner effectively incorporate native plants into an already existing landscape while possibly navigating HOA rules and regulations? Kevin engaged in that challenge and will demonstrate the steps he took to transform his front and backyard landscape, into an award-winning garden rich with species diversity and pollinators. Kevin encourages us to deeply look at our gardens and inspires us to begin our own journey to discover the beauty and importance of native plants in the web of life.

Speaker Biographies:

Nadia Malarkey
Designer, Nadia Malarkey Design 

Nadia Malarkey is a garden and landscape design professional residing in Yellow Springs, OH. She specializes in providing comprehensive and personalized landscape service throughout the Midwest and beyond. Nadia who incorporates environmentally friendly practices to produce landscapes that enhance biodiversity and biomass, address habitat fragmentation and climate change, while enriching our experience of the changing seasons. Many of Nadia’s gardens exemplify how regenerative design can be architecturally dynamic, aesthetically pleasing elegant, and enlightening, while addressing habitat fragmentation and climate change. Nadia’s work has been featured in magazines and news articles, and she is a frequent speaker at regional conferences. In 2015, Nadia’s project entitled “Regenerating Suburbia” was selected as a Finalist in the annual Society of Garden Designers in the category of ‘Planting Design’.

Jeff Epping
Director of Horticulture, Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Jeff Epping has been the Director of Horticulture at the Olbrich Botanical Garden in Madison, WI since 1992 where he oversees horticulture operations and the garden designs of more than fifteen inspirational garden areas showcasing the amazing plants hardy to Southern Wisconsin. Jeff began exploring gravel gardening after a visit to the renowned Beth Chatto’s famous Essex County English garden where she had converted a gravel parking lot into a beautiful, drought-tolerant garden more than 25 years ago. Jeff enlisted the help of another well-known Wisconsin plantsman, Roy Diblik of Northwind Perennial Farm, Burlington, WI who was also creating gravel gardens, to design the first gravel garden at Olbrich. Jeff now gives many presentations across the country on creating gravel gardens that are chock-full of tough, lush and, colorful plants that grow harmoniously together.

Kevin O’Brien
Principal, Lifestyle Landscaping

Kevin O’Brien designs and creates landscapes across northern Ohio where he has been practicing landscape design for over twenty years at Lifestyle Landscaping, Inc., North Ridgeville, OH. His projects have received over 30 state and national level awards and have been featured in garden books, industry publications and local Cleveland magazines. Kevin also teaches classes from the Ohio Landscape Design Association on design, rendering and creativity.

Advanced registration is required, a link for the virtual program will be sent upon registration.


January 26, 2022
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Renee Boronka