Seminar Speaker Biographies

Greg Alder

Fruit Trees: Selection, Irrigation, and Care


Greg Alder started gardening in Africa while living there as a Peace Corps teacher. Greg and his wife now raise their children and much of their food on an acre just outside of San Diego. Greg volunteers as a Master Gardener in addition to growing a lot of avocados and writing about food gardening at his website,

Lynlee Austell

Beautiful Landscapes with Far Less Water


Lynlee Austell-Slayter, MBA, UCCE Master Gardener, Sustainable Landscape Expert. Lynlee inherited her love of plants and nature from both her parents and grandparents. Her mother was a botanist and science teacher. Her grandfather and father collected state fair ribbons for their horticultural talents. Her father also worked as a florist. Lynlee described what she wanted to do in her life when she was in undergraduate microbiology and someone told her she was naive. Yet, she now lives that intention by helping to preserve our natural environment and helping others see the joy in nature. Lynlee has been a UCCE Master Gardener since 2008 and completed additional training in Sustainable Landscape Principals and Integrated Pest Management.

Debra Lee Baldwin

Designing with Succulents


Whether your garden occupies an acre or a patio, succulents can serve as easy-care, low water problem-solvers. As Debra introduces these textural, intriguing plants–which come in every size and color–you’ll find inspiration and ideas to express your creativity and beautifully enhance your outdoor living spaces.

Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified, idea-rich bestsellers that have significantly impacted garden design in Southern California and beyond. Debra’s books are the first to show how to use these easy-care “plants that drink responsibly” as a living palette, rich in color, variety and texture.

Debra developed her appealing-yet-practical aesthetic during years of scouting and writing for and Sunset magazine and other publications. An in-demand speaker, she continually updates her presentations based on new and intriguing designs by top landscapers and creative homeowners.

Debra has presented at the Huntington, Denver, Berkeley and San Diego botanical gardens; garden clubs and horticultural societies nationwide; and major flower shows in Philadelphia, Seattle and San Francisco. Her own garden in Escondido, CA has been in Better Homes & Gardens, Sunset and San Diego Home/Garden, among other publications.

Linda Bresler

Carefree, Colorful California Gardens

Linda Bresler

Linda is the owner of Living Designs by Linda, a landscape design and consulting firm that specializes in colorful, water-wise gardens that look lovely year-round. One of Linda’s landscape designs was chosen as the Grand Prize Winner, 2012 Garden of the Year, by San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine. She recently acquired her license as a certified Landscape Contractor.

Tony Gurnoe

Tropical Looking Landscapes with Low Water Plants


Horticulture manager for San Diego Botanic Garden.

Roxanne Kim-Perez

Beautiful Gardens in Small Spaces

Roxanne Kim-Perez, a principal of Singing Gardens, is an award-winning residential landscape designer who specializes in Zen gardens, succulent gardens and container design. Her strength lies in creating high-style garden designs for real-life budgets—custom landscape design plans with exceptional plants. She creates unique, distinct designs to fit the lifestyle of her clients, and particularly enjoys designing and creating small space gardens which enhance their outdoor living. Her designs have won awards at the Spring Home/Garden Show Garden Masters. Her work has been published internationally.

Shellene Mueller

How to Hire a Landscape Professional

Shellene MuellerAward winning landscape designer, Shellene Mueller, grew up in the landscaping business and has seen it all—from landscaping disasters to award-winning home paradises that are easy to look at and maintain. She will help you understand just what type of professional you need for your own landscaping project. Learn why and when to hire professionals and what each type of professional can do for you. Understand how trying to save money in the wrong places can end up being more expensive.

Shellene Mueller is the principal Landscape Designer of Designs by Shellene. She is also a California State Licensed Contractor and runs a successful specialty landscape company, Rustica Garden Works, with her husband Carl. Shellene provides residential landscape design services to clients in the greater San Diego area. They specialize in drought-tolerant design/low water use landscapes with a timeless appeal. Shellene has won numerous awards for her drought-tolerant landscapes, and always strives to educate on the functionality, beauty and low maintenance aspects of this style of garden design. Shellene and her husband work closely in the creation and installation of custom garden structures and garden installations. This hands-on approach aide her greatly in the design process. Having construction knowledge is key in designing not only a beautiful garden but a realistic and functional garden.

Greg Rubin

The Drought Defying Garden


Greg Rubin, CEO of California’s Own Native Landscape Design, Inc. started working with native plants back in 1985, while renovating his parent’s home in Chatsworth, CA. Soon, he was landscaping for friends and family on weekends and holidays. Demand continued to rise, and by 1993, Greg was able to start his successful and unusual landscaping business. Since that time, his company has designed over 400 native landscapes in San Diego County. Greg has been featured in a number of periodicals including the North County Times, Union-Tribune, and magazines such as Sunset, San Diego Home and Garden, San Diego Reader, and California Gardener. Media coverage includes appearances on KGTV, KUSI, and KFMB. He has also been a repeat guest on KPBS radio’s These Days with Tom Fudge. Greg regularly gives presentations on native plants to garden clubs and other organizations throughout San Diego County.

Greg is the author of two books with Lucy Warren, The California Native Landscape: Homeowners’ Design Guide to Restoring its Beauty and Balance, and The Drought-Defying California Garden: 230 Native Plants for a Lush, Low-Water Landscape, both published by Timber Press.

Stephanie Shigematsu

Africa Rocks Plants

Stephanie Shigamatsu

Stephanie Shigematsu, Curator of Horticulture, San Diego Zoo.

Stephanie Shigematsu serves San Diego Zoo Global as curator of horticulture at the San Diego Zoo, where she is responsible for the Zoo’s prominent botanical collection of more than 700,000 plants, spread throughout the 100-acre facility. In addition to the immense plant collection, Shigematsu and her team—consisting of managers,  arborists, plant propagators, plant registrar and many horticulture experts — oversee the Zoo’s critical browse program, growing plants for animal health and welfare.

Stephanie is a 35-year veteran of the horticulture profession, serving 18 years as the director of horticulture at SeaWorld before joining the horticulture management team at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2012. Of the numerous projects and garden installations at the Park, Shigematsu was deeply involved with the Tull Family Tiger Trail project. This outstanding immersive exhibit won the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ top honors for exhibit design in 2015—the same year she moved into her current position as curator of horticulture at the San Diego Zoo.   She was instrumental in completing the largest project in Zoo history – Africa Rocks.  With 15 exhibits and over 62 species of animals, Africa Rocks covers more than 8 acres and includes over 33,000 plants.

Shigematsu credits her mentors for her professional success, and for a passion for plant knowledge and native habitats, designing natural settings and implementing effective plant conservation strategies.

Nan Sterman

Hot Colors Dry Gardens

Nan StermanCalifornia native Nan Sterman is host and co-producer of the award winning public TV show, A Growing Passion, which celebrates all the ways that San Diego “grows,” from farms and nurseries to backyards ands schoolyards, to native habitats and more.  Nan is author of California Gardener’s Guide vII and Waterwise Plants for the Southwest.  She leads international garden tours (this fall to the south of France) and designs gardens for San Diegans who desire beautiful edible, low water, and sustainable gardens. For information, visit  and

Marcia Van Loy

Attracting Birds and Butterflies to Your Garden

Marcia Van Loy ResizeMarcia Van Loy has been a volunteer with the Master Gardener Association for 13 years. She has gardened for over 30 years in the Clairemont area of San Diego and in the past coordinated their Town Council’s annual garden tour for nine years. After many years of collecting rustic birdhouses, she now teaches Master Gardeners how to build them as a way to raise funds for their educational programs.

Marcia is a sought-after speaker and has shared her depth of knowledge with many regional gardening organizations. Her insights and techniques are verified and easy to understand and will give you a head start in attracting hummingbirds and butterflies into your garden. Her garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat and was featured in the San Diego Home and Garden Magazine’s April 2013 edition. Growing plants for hummingbirds and butterflies in her hillside garden is one of Marcia’s favorite subjects to share with others.

Roy Wilburn

Spring Veggies and Organic Tomatoes 


Roy Wilburn, aka Farmer Roy, was a commercial grower of row crops in Baja, CA, for 20 years and an herb grower in Oceanside, CA, for three years. For the past 5 years, he has been the Horticulture Manager for Sunshine Care, A Community of Assisted Living Homes in Poway, CA. (

When he is not in the greenhouse and gardens of Sunshine Care, producing organic fruits and vegetables for the residents and families in need in the Poway/Rancho Bernardo area, he is spreading his knowledge to groups and clubs throughout San Diego County so that members may be successful in growing their own produce. Helping school gardens, community gardens, and food bank gardens are his passion.

Roy is currently a member of the Farm Bureau and on the Executive Boards of the San Diego Horticultural Society and the San Diego Community Garden Network. He is also Co-President of the Poway Valley Garden Club, Horticulture Chairperson for the Bernardo Gardeners Club and a Master Composter.