Keynote speakers


Prof Tim Entwisle (Melbourne, Australia)

“Sprinter and Sprummer: Australia’s Changing Seasons”

ENTWISLE Tim phoyo_4JG8507Professor Tim Entwisle is a highly respected scientist, scientific communicator and botanic gardens director. He took up the role of Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens in March 2013, following two years in a senior role at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and eight years as Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney. Tim is an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Botany at The University of Melbourne and a Visiting Professor in the School of Biological and Biomedical Science, Durham University. He is an expert in freshwater algae (a genus, family and order of algae were named after him last year) but has a broad interest in all plants and related life forms (e.g. he edited and wrote for the 4-volume Flora of Victoria). Tim blogs, tweets, and looks for any opportunity to promote science, plants and gardens. Tim has been a regular contributor to ABC radio and its website, and a frequent guest on Australian radio and television – over summer 2014/15 he will host RN’s first gardening show, Talking Plants. He has written for a variety of science, nature and garden magazines and maintains an active social media profile (including his popular ‘Talkingplants’ blog).

Prof Stephen Hopper (Western Australia)

“Evolution and conservation of biodiversity in the world’s oldest landscapes: science-based solutions to maximise future commercial opportunities”

Hopper Steve with Hakea victoria FItzgerald River NP 2013 N McQuoidSteve Hopper is a conservation biologist, widely travelled, with extensive publications in evolution, phylogenetics, ecology and taxonomy. He has named some 300 plants new to science. He has specialist expertise in botanic gardens, eucalypts, the plant family Haemodoraceae (containing kangaroo paws), orchids, plants of granite outcrops, threatened plants, ethnobotany and pollination of plants by birds and mammals.

A graduate with a BSc (Hons), PhD and Hon DSc from UWA, since 1977 he has worked sequentially in the Western Australian Government, at UWA, and been Director of two world class botanic gardens (Kings Park and Kew), while maintaining an active field research program right up to the present day. He has received several awards and honours, culminating in 2012 with a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) and induction into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame.

Currently, he is establishing a research and teaching program on sustainable living with biodiversity at UWA’s Albany campus, focussing on the evolution, ecology, conservation and indigenous knowledge systems of temperate global biodiversity hotspots, especially those with the world’s oldest, climatically-buffered, infertile landscapes.

Mr Pete Kruger (USA)

“New plant innovation – transforming dreams to reality while looking after customers”

KRUGER Pete  imagePeter (Pete) Kruger has been involved in the nursery business since age 16. He was hired as a labourer and sales associate for a local garden centre and nursery in southern California and soon thereafter began designing landscapes for retail customers. These activities also enabled him to attend California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, where Pete received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business Management.

Pete worked in various sales functions at wholesale nurseries in Irvine, California and San Antonio, Texas until joining Ball Horticulture as a sales representative for Ball Seed in northern California in 1990. In 1995, Pete became involved in product development emphasizing Australian and South African plants for Ball Seed, which led to his current role as General Manager of Ball Ornamentals – a North American woody plant distribution company. Ball Ornamentals markets new varieties of woody plants to both growers and consumers in North America and Europe, including oversight in production of young plants and creation of marketing materials and strategy for them.

Ball Ornamentals has an extensive worldwide sourcing network of breeders and plant finders that give it access to a wide scope of genetics. All plants are trialled in secure trialling facilities in numerous places in North America. All of these activities are also supervised by Mr. Kruger. Pete and his family reside in northern California and in his spare time, he can be found gardening, hiking, reading, playing with his dogs or looking for ways to contribute to animal conservation.

Dr Gerhard Malan (South Africa)

“The protea industry – origins, development and future prospects”

MALAN Gerhard photo IMG_1Dr Gerhard Malan joined the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Fynbos unit, in 1983. He obtained an MScAgric (Horticulture) at the Stellenbosch University in 1986, and a PhD on Leucospermum flowering mechanisms in 1993. He participated in the development of the ARC Fynbos research unit at Elsenburg from 1986. His research includes propagation, establishment, pruning and fertilization of protea. He surveyed the then existing industry and consulted with producers. As a result of successes at the Fynbos research unit in breeding, propagation and cultivation practices, the distribution of ARC selected protea rooted cuttings increased from 2 ha of plants sold during 1991 to 80 ha sold during 1997, leading to a blossoming Fynbos Industry. This was the beginning of the successful intensive 1100 ha Fynbos Industry of today. Gerhard went into the industry as fulltime consultant in 1997, consulting for the last 17 years to most of the Fynbos producers in South Africa and in countries producing protea cut flowers commercially in the Africa/Europe lateral. He is world renowned for his knowledge of the cultivation and marketing of Proteaceae and his experience achieved over the years under inconceivably different climates, soil-types and growing conditions is extensive. He published a book on protea cultivation entitled: ‘Protea cultivation: From concept to carton’ during 2012.