Presentation Topics

Author, speaker, and agave fanatic Greg Starr regularly makes appearances throughout the Southwest United States. For over 25 years, he has spoken at venues such as the Desert Botanical Gardens, Ruth Bancroft Gardens, the Tucson, Central Arizona, Fresno, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Diego chapters of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America (CSSA), as well as the national convention of the CSSA, among many others. He is also a regular contributor to Pima County’s Smartscape training program, which “provides informative, research-based instruction designed to promote best landscape management practices for the urban Sonoran Desert.” Greg has a repertoire of several talks that he will customize for each audience. He can cover a range of topics from a general discussion of desert adapted trees and shrubs to a focused discussion of agaves to travelogs.

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Greg’s Top 5 Agaves

Description

If asked his top 5 favorite agaves on 5 different occasions, Greg would come up with a list of 25 different species. In a roughly 70-80 slide presentation, Greg describes in delightful detail a list of 5 agaves that happened to be his favorite on that day.

Each species is exceptional, contributing a wide variety of attributes to a water smart landscape, each with its own unique backstory and some may even say (depending on the length of time spent in the sun) its own personality. Greg vividly describes such gems as Agave ovatifolia, A. parryi, A. montana and more.

Overview

  • 70-80 Slides
  • 50-60 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Tohono Chul Park
  • South Coast Cactus and Succulent Society (August 12, 2012)
  • Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society (August 25, 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nature to Nurture: Enchanting Agaves for Cultivation

Description

Greg provides a discussion of the qualities a collector looks for when determining if an agave would be a great prospect for horticultural use. Those qualities could include but are not limited to: plant size, color, hardiness, matching the plant to the climate. 

Overview

  • 50-55 slides
  • 45-50 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • National Cactus and Succulent Society of America (April 28, 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

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Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers

Description

Why are agaves “living sculptures for landscapes and containers?” In this roughly 80-85 slide presentation, Greg insightfully explains his over 20 year passion for agaves and how they can serve as a focal point in a modern Southwestern style landscape.

Some people might say agaves all look the same, with many sharing general characteristics such as a rosette of leaves that consist of marginal teeth and a terminal spine. However, Greg expertly describes the individual characteristics that make each agave special in its contribution to the modern Southwestern landscape.

Overview

  • 80-85 slides
  • 60-70 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Ruth Bancroft Gardens (June 20, 2012)
  • San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society (January 12, 2013)
  • Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society (June 23, 2014) See Gerhard Bock’s blog post
  • Fresno Cactus and Succulent Society (April 2015)
 

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Juicy Succulents

Description

What are some of the most intriguing plants on planet Earth? That’s right, Juicy Succulents!

Why on earth would anybody want to grow these prickly plants with spines, stickers or thorns? Greg succinctly articulates the many reasons why, including but not limited to: they are just so cool looking, some have incredible flowers, the spines on cacti can be mesmerizing to look at up close, the teeth on agaves camake intricate patterns and shadows, and some are just big, tall monsters.

Overview

  • 30-40 slides
  • 40-50 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Tohono Chul Park (October 16, 2010)
  • Western Horticultural Society (April 2015)
 

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Travelogs

Description

Join Greg and his travel companion(s) through the deserts of Baja California, the high mountains of northeastern Mexico, the agave rich regions of western Mexico, or the arid regions of Puebla and Oaxaca to look for the next new cultivar, or unravel some of the taxonomic mysteries currently facing Agave. In this 75-85 slide presentation, Greg addresses in expert detail (accompanied by his shameless humor) the latest in plant hunting endeavors and answers to some of the most popular questions about agaves and other arid plants.

How are new agaves brought into cultivation? Where do agaves grow in habitat and what do they look like in the wild? What are the current taxonomic challenges for the genus Agave? These are only a few of the questions that Greg discusses in his various Travelog talks.

Overview

  • 75-85 slides
  • 50-65 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Cactus and Succulent Society of Southern Nevada (September 11, 2011)
  • Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society (April 2015)
  • Cactus and Succulent Society of America Convention (June 2015)
 

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Agaves and Yuccas in the Landscape

Description

In this roughly 50 minute presentation, Greg discusses the use, culture, and care of some of the best agaves and yuccas for desert landscapes in the southwestern US. Greg talks about the sizes, water use and planting location along with some of the most common pests to watch out for.

Overview

  • 90-95 slides
  • 50-60 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Desert Botanical Garden (June 2015)
 

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Terrific Trees for the Desert

Description

In this presentation, Greg covers 10 desert trees that are best adapted to the harsh, arid conditions of the desert southwestern United States. You might be familiar with Acacia, Parkinsonia (synonym = Cercidium), and Prosopis, but what about Ebenopsis, Havardia, or Lysiloma?

In a 30-40 slide presentation, Greg succinctly describes among other topics, how these often overlooked and underutilized trees can add tremendous value to a modern Southwestern landscape. Join in the discussion about these trees and what makes them such ideal desert landscape trees.

Overview

  • 30-40 slides
  • 40-50 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Tohono Chul Park
  • Green Valley Gardeners

 

 

 

 

 

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Spicy Shrubs for Desert Landscapes

Description

Join Greg while he paints a picture of your desert landscape using his 10 favorite desert adapted shrubs. Visualize a cacophony of color as you stroll through your yard full of tantalizingly perfect plants that have beautiful flowers that will attract a variety of wildlife including butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, maybe even the town drunk.

 

Overview

  • 30-40 slides
  • 40-50 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Tohono Chul Park
  • Green Valley Gardeners

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Madagascar – A World Renowned Island of Megadiversity

Description

The island of Madagascar just off the coast of southeast Africa is renowned for its breathtaking and one of kind plants and animals. Join Greg as he takes you on a photographic journey from Antananarivo (Tana for short), the capital of Madagascar, through the wet rain forest of Ranomafana National Park and then through the arid southwest to Toliara, and then up to Morondava and the tsingy in the west. In this approximately 110 slide presentation, you will see pictures of spectacular birds, lemurs, reptiles, insects, oh yeah, and some awesome plants including baobabs and pachypodiums.

 

Overview

  • 110 slides
  • 50-55 minutes

Sample Past Venues

  • Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society

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