Description of talk: Join Gary for a trip Down Under to explore an out of this world flora you have likely never even dreamed of – a world of banksias and feather flowers, donkey orchids and spider orchids, eucalypts and myrtles and, of course, kangaroo paws and grass trees. In this talk you’ll see wonderful photography from his trip as well as learn about why this area of the world is considered a biodiversity “hot spot.” About the speaker: Gary Lewis began botanizing his local fields and forests around the age of four (first in Germany, then in Nova Scotia and Ontario), began collecting houseplants at the age of 10 and began gardening at the age of 15. He holds a MSc in Plant Ecology from UBC, training which, with its focus on the botany and ecology of wild plants, greatly informs his horticulture. Gary became the owner of Phoenix Perennials in 2004 on his 28th birthday. Since that time he has greatly expanded the nursery to include one of the largest and most exciting selections of perennials in Canada with over 4000 different plants each year. He strives to include cutting edge new perennials, tried and true garden stalwarts, and the rare and unusual in his plant offerings. In 2013 Phoenix Perennials launched mail order across Canada to bring their unique selection of plants to a broader audience. Gary is the Canada Region Director for the Perennial Plant Association, the North America-wide industry association that brings gardeners the Perennial Plant of the Year. He is on the Advisory Committee for E-Flora BC, an online atlas of BC native plants. He also serves on the Perennial and Bulb Selection Committee of Great Plant Picks, an educational awards program of the Miller Botanical Garden that works to build a comprehensive palette of outstanding plants for BC and Pacific Northwest gardens. In 2014 Gary was selected as one of Canada’s “Top 10 Horticultural Professionals Under 40” by Greenhouse Canada magazine. Phoenix Perennials was selected for the 2015 “Revolutionary 100” honouring the 100 best cutting edge garden centres in North America. In 2013 Gary was selected as Communicator of the Year by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association, an award for which he was nominated in 2012. In both 2012 and 2013 Phoenix Perennials won the category of “Growing Gardeners”, part of the Canadian Garden Centre of the Year Awards. These awards recognize Gary’s work to educate and inspire the gardening public through speaking engagements, nursery workshops, special events and diverse online content including e-newsletters and alerts, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.