Robert Bowden is the Director of Leu Gardens and author of Florida Top Ten Garden Guide by Sunset Books and Guide to Florida Fruit and Vegetable Gardening by Cool Springs Press.

Lee Butler has been involved in the Natural Health Field for 18 years. As an herbalist, she has owned herb shops and taught throughout Central Florida. She has used journaling as a helpful tool personally and within her business. Now a stay at home mother to her toddler, she enjoys sharing this class at Leu Gardens. “Through the busyness of life, taking the time to quietly put pen to paper can help one gain a deeper sense of who one is and the lessons and accomplishments learned along the way.”

Frank Dasse once bought an orchid for his wife for Valentine’s Day, discovered how easy they are to grow, and has been enthusiastically growing orchids ever since.  Mr. Dasse is a financial planner and professor at the Crummer School of Business, Rollins College and has a PhD in Economics from the Univ. of Florida.

Kelly Greer is currently the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Residential Horticulture Program Agent for UF/IFAS Orange County Extension.  She received a B.S. in Agriculture Horticulture from University of Missouri Columbia and a M.A. in Management and Leadership from Webster University Orlando.  She previously was employed at Sea World as a Horticulture Supervisor.

Milton Heiberg ( started his own studio in NYC and founded and taught at the NYC Audubon Society from 1982 until 1998. He has done assignment for McGraw-Hill, HarperCollins, Time Warner, Penguin, and National Geographic; is the author of seven books; teaches at the Crealde School of Art and is a frequent lecturer. 

Keri Leymaster is the Assistant Director of Harry P. Leu Gardens.  She has worked for UF/IFAS Extension in Orange County as well as the SeaWorld theme parks where she developed her knowledge of landscape maintenance, plant selection, and adding color to Florida landscapes.  She earned her master’s degree from the University of Delaware in conjunction with Longwood Gardens.

Pinky Ormand is a horticulturist at Harry P. Leu Gardens and maintains the Idea Garden, White Garden, Butterfly Garden and the Camellia Collection. Pinky attended the University of Central Florida where she graduated with a B.A. in Art and has also earned a Landscape & Horticulture Technology degree from Valencia College.

Melanie Palmrose is a Master Gardener, a horticulture professional by training, and has a passion for gardening and "playing in the mud".  A workshop at Leu several years ago introduced her to the benefits of the versatile hypertufa containers.  She has since made and sold hundreds and enjoys passing the technique on to others.  She also has a clean side to her business, Tea Bagz.   A love of herbs led her to plant some of her planters as herb gardens and now that same love of herbs had started her blending and bagging her own herb and tea blends. (

Kristin and Stephen Pategas are co-owners of Hortus Oasis ( in Winter Park.  They provide services in garden design and consultation, garden writing and photography, as well as horticultural education.  Stephen is a registered landscape architect and a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  Kristin is a Florida Certified Landscape Designer and a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. 

Albert Pfeiffer received his degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in New York.  He then was employed by Knoll’s Showroom in the United Kingdom, has taught at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design, was a former curator of Knoll Museum, has been a lecturer at various schools of architecture and interior design and is a guide and a former curator at the Leu House.

Jennifer Hochell Pressimone is a holistic aromatherapist, herbalist, international educator, author and owner of JennScents, Inc. She holds a B.A.  in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and is a Diplomate and Certified Teacher in Spiritual PhytoEssencing. Jennifer is the founder of the JennScents Institute, a NAHA Level I and II, and NCBTMB approved aromatherapy school. She specializes in holistic therapeutic aromatherapy for a variety of health concerns, skin care, women and children’s health, animal care and emotional healing.

Herb Piper, a volunteer docent at the Harry P. Leu Museum House, is a retired physicist/ engineer who spent his entire working career at the Eastern Missile Range (Patrick AFB, Cape Canaveral, and the downrange tracking stations). He is an accomplished researcher, data organizer/analyzer, technical editor/writer, and topic presenter. Herb is also an advanced amateur photographer.

Ray and Kathy Roberts are co-owners of Central Florida Ferns and Foliage, a wholesale business growing exotic and tropical ferns of all kinds and many unusual and funky house plants. Not only have they been growing foliage commercially for over 22 years, but they also are avid collectors themselves and love talking about their treasures. They also are enjoying working with terrariums, mini-gardens and fairy gardening which are very popular right now.

Eric Schmidt is the Botanic Records Specialist and helps maintain the Palm Garden and conifer, tropical and vine collections at Harry P. Leu Gardens.  Eric obtained his Associates Degree in Horticulture from Valencia Community College, and his knowledge and interests includes palms, cycads, bamboo, tropicals, ferns, conifers, vines, native plants and xerics.

Christopher Stalder is a graduate of the University of Florida and has worked with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.  He is also an environmental scientist, a butterfly gardener, a backyard beekeeper and a member of the Florida State Beekeepers Association.  He offers natural history programs around the state on many subjects including herpetology, butterfly gardening and beekeeping. 

Ed Thralls is an Extension Agent with the University of Florida and Orange Co. Extension Service.  A graduate of the Univ. of Florida, Ed has been providing residential gardening and landscaping advice since 1998.  He writes two monthly garden articles for the Orange Co. Homeowners Association Alliance, and the Master Gardener “pH News” newsletters.

James (Jay) Thurrott is an environmental chemist and Manager of Treatment Operations for Daytona Beach.  He grows over 700 varieties of bromeliads at his home, is a longtime active member of the Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society, serves as president in his local society and vice-president of the Bromeliad Society International, and is also a BSI accredited judge.

Dena Wild is a retired urban designer with degrees from the Univ. of Georgia, Univ. of Oregon, and post graduate work in landscape architecture at the Univ. of Colorado. She is both a master gardener and backyard organic gardener who has also been hooked on herbs and has lectured and published articles on growing and using herbs.

George Wilson was born and raised in Massachusetts and now makes Central Florida his home. A self-taught photographer, his professional career soon brought editorial work with organizations such as The Springfield Union News and The Associated Press. He is now in the process of creating a body of work dedicated to the wilderness areas of Central Florida needing protection, and also teaches classes at Walt Disney World and for the City of Orlando.