Northwest Perennial Alliance
2018 Hardy Plant Study Weekend

Meet the speakers

Jimi Blake
Jimi Blake is a plantsman, gardening consultant, lecturer and creator of Hunting Brook Gardens in Wicklow, Ireland. Jimi was trained as a horticulturist in the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin and appointed Head Gardener at Airfield House in Dundrum, Dublin for twelve years before moving on to his current challenge. He is in the process of developing his vision of a dynamic and innovative garden on his 20 acres at Hunting Brook Gardens. The Gardens are one of Ireland's largest private collections of plants with many examples of the fiercely colorful and theatrically beautiful, large-scale planting combinations for which Jimi has become so well known. He continues to expand his plant collection, use his garden as a classroom and share his passion and knowledge with the public.   

June Blake
June Blake, former jeweler and sheep farmer, is a gardener and plantsperson with an international reputation. She is renowned for her skill with plants, combining them with joyous creativity and a meticulous attention to color, texture and form. Her planting schemes are ever changing and dynamic, flowing gracefully from one season to the next. She is continually experimenting, always keeping light and landscape as part of the equation. Her County Wicklow garden in Ireland, which receives visitors from all over the world, has been called “a piece of poetry in homage to her home place.”

Janice Currie
Janice Currie is passionate gardener, collector, traveller and plant lover who lives and gardens in Victoria, British Columbia. She is a long-term member and contributor of the Hardy Plant Group in Victoria and is currently the President of the Vancouver Island Rock and Alpine Society. As a frequent traveller, Janice believes that one must see and experience plants in their native environments and uses her travels as a source of new plants and plant combinations. She has spent the past four decades sharing her knowledge and passion with others. Living near the ocean for 25 years, she grew Southern Hemisphere plants in her ideal location. After a recent trip to the Czech Republic she sold her house and moved to the country to develop an amazing and innovative alpine crevice garden.

Dan Hinkley
Dan Hinkley is an author, speaker, teacher, consultant, plant explorer, nurseryman and creator of renowned Heronswood and the Gardens of Windcliff, where he resides and continues to realize his endeavor. He has written for a variety of horticulture periodicals, authored several books and appeared on television shows as a gardening correspondent. Dan has spent the past 22 years devoted to introducing rare and unusual plants to North American gardeners by travelling into the wilds of countries such as China, Vietnam, Bhutan, Nepal, South Africa and New Zealand.   

Nancy Kartes, emcee
Nancy Kartes discovered the joys of public gardens through internships as a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Ornamental Horticulture.  After graduation, Nancy joined the staff of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii. In 1992, she was hired by the City of Bellevue Parks & Community Services Department to transform the dreams of local community organizers into a flourishing botanical garden. Under her leadership, the Bellevue Botanical Garden has grown from a 36- acre property to 53-acres of curated living collections that operate in partnership with nine horticultural organizations. Nancy manages the partnership with the NPA to provide the award-winning NPA Perennial Border at BBG. She takes special delight in fostering this relationship and believes that the success of the NPA and other partner groups is essential to the phenomenal success of Bellevue Botanical Garden. Nancy recently joined the board of the American Public Gardens Association and is honored by the opportunity to serve in support of the APGA’s vision of a world where public gardens are indispensable.

Claudia West
Claudia West is a leading voice in the emerging field of ecological planting design. Known for her passionate advocacy of plant-driven design, Claudia is a widely sought out speaker and consultant who applies the technologies of plant systems to bring essential natural functions back into our cities and towns. She has worked on all sides of the green industry—as a designer, a grower, installer and land manager—grounding her innovative work in pragmatic solutions that address the realities of our urbanizing world. She is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book, "Planting in a Post-Wild World" (Timber Press, 2015).