Speaking Topics

Lorraine Ballato Speaker

I am available to speak to your group on a wide range of gardening topics.  Perennials, shrubs, and shade gardening are just a few. Each listed topic on this page gives you a thumbnail of the subject matter to help you better understand the content of my talk. 

Some comments from attendees

Some comments from attendees are, "...What a wonderful presentation yesterday..." "...Thank you Lorraine for sharing valuable information about Hydrangeas..." "I enjoyed the class this morning and I learned a lot..." 

Handouts for every attendee

I make sure that every attendee gets a comprehensive handout to follow along and follow up after each presentation. Attendees have commented that my handouts are "...a fabulous tool to help me be a better gardener..."

Virtual or live delivery

If a virtual or live delivery is a question for you, rest assured that I am delivering content virtually via Zoom and other providers. The best part of that is I can reach audiences all over the world. So please don't hesitate to contact me for your group's needs. I am also speaking to live audiences and just to make it interesting, some audiences are split between live and virtual.

Thumbnail descriptions

Listed below are thumbnail descriptions of many of the topics I cover.

Audience listening to speaker

Audience listening to speaker

However, there are many others which are not listed and several are usually in process. Also, I tailor my talks to each audience so details will vary as requested by the group as will my fees. You can also go to www.greatgardenspeakers.org to read reviews from a smattering of those who have taken the time to write those reviews for which I am always grateful.




Wouldn't you like to grow those plants that have been recognized to be the best in their class? The ones that have been bred to give you the best performance, more flowers, better resistance to insects and disease and all those other challenges we gardeners face? This talk will show you which ones have earned that award from Perennial Plants of the Year to the Cary Award winners to All America Selections to...you name it. Discover what all the fuss is about and decide which ones you want to add to YOUR garden!


Bambi was a very enjoyable movie and won your heart but that was BEFORE you were a serious gardener. Now she’s not so cute anymore. Want to find out how to keep her away from your prized and lovingly tended property? There are successful ways to do it that won’t break the bank and this talk will cover those strategies. You CAN grow hosta and tulips!


While introducing you to the many new shrubs on the market, Advanced Master Gardener and garden writer Lorraine Ballato will show you their fabulous foliage, discussing their low maintenance, and even deer resistance. Using some tried and true workhorses and these newer introductions, Lorraine’s slides will show you how easily you can transform your garden to a low maintenance, colorful space that will bring you pleasure for the entire growing season, sometimes without even a hint of a flower.


They're here! Shrubs now come in sizes from 12" to 24", just the right size to take the place of perennials in your borders and gardens. And that's just grand 'cause they can give you color with interesting foliage, flowering and almost zero maintenance. That means more time to do other things instead of all those chores. So join me as I show you these newer introductions and start phasing your gardens over to these beauties with a promising future.


I don't know about you, but I get a little tired of all the staking, deadheading, spraying and general fawning gardens demand. I would much prefer to enjoy my plants and maybe just putter and groom them every now and then. This talk will enlighten you about which plants require the least amount of maintenance. You'll be introduced to improved versions of familiar garden worthy plants in addition to newer arrivals that add color and interest with little or no work whether it be perennials, roses (yes, roses!), ground covers, annuals, and even vegetables. Time to work on shrinking the big "M" (Maintenance).​


No garden is complete without this queen of American shrubs. From 18-inch, container-sized, reblooming beauties to 8-foot explosions of multicolored zing, there is a hydrangea for every garden. Through slides and discussion, you’ll learn all about hydrangeas, including the many recent introductions that have hit the market, their proper care, and the hardy cultivars that perform well despite over-enthusiastic pruning and finicky weather. You’ll leave this talk never again having to ask the question, “Why doesn’t my hydrangea bloom?”


One of the most confusing chores for gardeners is what to do about pruning hydrangeas. This talk clears the air about that subject for big leaf and mountain hydrangeas through discussion and demonstration via slides and garden samples. Let's clear the air once and for all!​


This talk focuses on how gardeners can get the best from the large array of hydrangeas that can bloom multiple times during a forgiving gardening season. Attendees will also better understand what to do when the season is not so forgiving and how these rebloomers can make their gardens sing with later season color. Hint: Pruning isn't always the way to improve plant performance.


Gardening in zone 5 and colder can be a tricky business if you lust for big, blue mophead hydrangea flowers. Our fate has been to enjoy these flowers maybe once every three years. But there are measures we can take to improve those odds, starting with the right plant in the right place. But it's much more than that. This talk is all about what and how you can get closer to 100% vs. 33%.


Hear about some essential growing tips that can make a huge difference in getting the most from your hydrangeas. These fabulous plants can consistently deliver on their promise using techniques/ideas that may be a little different than what you have done in the past. If it’s flower production that’s got you down, or ugly leaf spot diseases, or being a better propagator, find out what you can do differently this year and going forward to have your hydrangeas be their best ever.


Growing your own vegetables is one of the easiest things you can grow yourself, either from seed or using plants that have already been started. This talk is designed to take you through the steps you need to follow to successfully “grow your own.” From raised beds to earth beds to containers, we’ll cover all aspects of a wide range of vegetable gardening. From preparation to harvest, you’ll leave this talk with lots of tips and information about this fun seasonal activity for the whole family.


Wouldn't you love to grow your own salad greens and vegetables in some small spaces you have? Not everyone needs to have giant sized plots or 40 pounds of zucchini each year. Fresh cucumbers, sweet cherry tomatoes, everbearing strawberries, even those squash can be grown on decks and in planters in these progressive times. This talk will show you how it's done with the wonders of modern technology, using proper planting methods, soil mixes, and watering techniques. All you need is sun and you can have a productive, rewarding vegetable garden without digging up an inch of your yard. Let's get growing!


Ever wonder about these containers? Can a container actually water itself? Discover how a self watering container really works and how it can magically transform your plant while releasing you from the slavery of daily watering chores. This talk will take you through the design principles and horticultural requirements for growing plants in containers and specifically, those that "water themselves." You'll also get some insight into making your own self waterers using your current containers without a lot of expense.

NOTE: This can also be delivered as a workshop where attendees actually make a self watering container during a longer session with a limited enrollment.


Life is too short to spend it deadheading, weeding, staking, and doing so many other things in the garden that come under the heading of “drudgery.” Until someone invents the gardening equivalent of a self cleaning oven, we need to garden smarter. This talk will give you some ideas about how to change your garden and gardening techniques so that you will have less maintenance and more time for all those other things in your life.


Roses are such mainstays in a sunny garden. Who can resist their color, form and fragrance? If only you could keep up with the demands of trimming, spraying, and general fawning to keep them looking their best. Maybe that’s what has kept you away from them or maybe yours aren’t looking as good as they can and you don’t get the performance they’re supposed to deliver. Or maybe you think you have too much shade to grow them at all. This talk will change all that as you find out about the newer generation of hardy roses on the market which have been bred to deliver superb color, fragrance, and repeat blooms without all that fuss and bother. Grandma’ never had it so good!


Admit it - roses have a drug habit. This talk will show you how you can get yours off them and still have magnificent blooms with disease and insect control (they DO fly in) without the fuss and bother you may think they demand. Best of all, you'll learn how to grow them without all those chemicals that poison you, the gardener, and our precious planet. Imagine what you could with all that time!


This fun and informative talk will open your eyes to the array of current products and techniques available to deal with common flower and vegetable garden issues as well as safe solutions for sick trees and shrubs. We’ll cover multiple options to keep your landscape healthy and better able to deal with pests, diseases, the stresses of drought and other seasonal challenges with little or no toxic impact on children, pets, the environment and most importantly, you, the gardener. We will NOT cover lawns.


Your shady yard is more than a place to set up a hammock. Do you think you're cursed with shade and can't grow anything under that huge maple tree? Or maybe green isn't enough for you as you covet more color in your shady area. This talk will help you see your shade as the treasure it is: an area to take an evening stroll, to escape the heat of the summer sun, a source of calming beauty, or just a place to gaze at from your deck or kitchen window. Featured plants include perennials, flowering shrubs, annuals, bulbs and flowering vines


Does it secretly bother you that your garden looks kind of dull in July and August compared to earlier in the season? Do you wish it looked more lively and interesting in the later season, even as children head back to school when temperatures moderate and you're back out in it once again? Then listen and learn how you can add fabulous zing with low maintenance colorful tropical plants that you might be more likely to find in Florida than anywhere else. July and August will become dim memories as you enjoy the color and excitement of low maintenance tropicals.


6 Secrets for Stunning Hydrangea Flowers

Get my FREE mini-guide with 6 fool-proof tips showing how to grow hydrangeas that produce the most amazing flowers.

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Lorraine is an absolute pro. Well prepared. Great with technology (no power point glitches) thorough handout. Invitations to learn more on her free blog. Quick paced! Now I’m a hydrangea lover for life. Thx Lorraine!

Joanie D

New York

Very, very informative speaker Spoke knowledgeably and with humor. There was never a question she was learned in all things Hydrangea. Great Speaker. Loved it.

Jill Krech

Tacoma, WA

Lorraine clearly knows and loves hydrangeas--and has a gifted teacher's ability to communicate so much about varieties, their care, and cultural requirements. Her book, "Success with Hydrangeas", is an excellent companion that keeps me mindful of all I learned at her workshop.

Jennifer Dossin

New York, NY