DMG Bios

Tracey Smyth - Coordinator
Tracey is a passionate gardener who lives in Oshawa, Ontario, and is one of two Coordinators of the Durham Master Gardeners. She is also a member of the Atlantic Master Gardeners. Tracey is a certified Master Gardener and continues to upgrade her horticultural and design skills through seminars and online courses with Guelph University and with the Dalhousie Agricultural College in Truro, Nova Scotia. Recently retired from a successful policing career, she is a partner in Durham Garden Coach, a company providing garden design, maintenance and assistance to gardeners with horticultural problems.

Shalini Asha Bhaloo
Shalini is a passionate Master Gardener in Training. She is a rose, tree and vegetable connoisseur and tree seed propagation enthusiast. Gardening inspires her core values of Growth, Freedom, Beauty and Joy."


Norine Blyth
Norine has been gardening for most of her adult life. She loves the peace and quiet that gardening brings to her. She is working on her Master Gardener Certificate from Dalihousie University. Walking with and without dogs is another passion of hers.


Elaine Davidson
Elaine has been gardening for over 60 years. Her first plants were Nasturtiums that she grew for the flowers and were used by her mother in salads to add flavour. Since that time she has kept a keen interest in using the herbs and flowers grown in her garden for cooking, taking many courses along the way to help improve her herbal knowledge. Elaine’s garden while small, is a mixture of flowers, vegetables and herbs all grown alongside one another. Elaine is a member of 5 regular garden clubs including Durham Master Gardeners and over 7 specialty garden clubs serving on the Boards of several of them.

Sherry Dodson
Sherry has completed the Horticulturist Certificate from the University of Guelph, and has been an active member with the Durham Master Gardeners since 2011. Sherry completed a Certificate in Horticultural Therapy in 2016. She is committed to gardening in harmony with nature, supporting birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Her interests include native plants and creating therapeutic and sustainable landscapes.

Robynne Dunn
Robynne started gardening with her father at a very young age while growing vegetables in their backyard. Her love of gardening has continued throughout her life. Robynne has a Certificate in Landscape Design from George Brown College and is continually looking for new ways to expand her knowledge and share her passion for gardening. Joining Master Gardeners has been a fantastic opportunity to do both, and to meet some amazing people who share her enthusiasm for getting outside and marveling at all that nature has to offer.


Karen Durnin
Karen has been with the Durham Master Gardeners since 2011 and has a Certificate in Horticulture from the University of Guelph. Her passion for gardening began early. She grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario where she learned how to grow, harvest and preserve a large variety of fruits and vegetables. She has carried this tradition on in her own gardens, growing many heirloom vegetables and a wide assortment of herbs. In the last number of years, her focus has expanded into the area of naturalized gardens and a love of native plants. She has become increasingly aware of how essential it is to provide habitat for birds and pollinators in an urban setting. As a master gardener, Karen has enjoyed the opportunity to help new and experienced gardeners learn how to grow their own food and create pollinator friendly gardens.

Ingrid Janssen
Ingrid Janssen is a horticulturist, speaker, blogger and master gardener. She has been gardening for most of her life and is a passionate, some would say “crazy gardener”. She is an inspirational speaker who has appeared on Rogers TV Durham and has spoken at Canada Blooms several times. She has both ornamental and food production gardens on her country property and has been a dedicated native plant enthusiast for over 30 years. Ingrid received her Horticulturist Diploma from the University of Guelph and is an active member of several horticultural and plant societies. She has been a member of the Durham Master Gardeners since 2012.

Ann Joyner
Ann has spent her working and private life devoted to protecting our natural spaces and ecosystems.  For twenty years, she has lived with her family on a farm property where she grows vegetables, hops and flowers as well as field pollinator plants for her active bee hives.  Her career as an urban planner focuses on sustainable approaches to planning our cities and rural areas.  As she completes the Master Gardiner training at Dalhousie University, she has become fascinated with the intersection between our pollinators and garden design as well as opportunities for co-planting as a way to improve garden health and resiliency. Ann has a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from York University where she also provides guest lectures and course instruction in Land Use/Environmental Planning.

Katherine Mathewson - Co-Coordinator
Katherine joined the Durham Master Gardeners in March 2014. Since then she has joined the Master Gardeners of Ontario executive as the Central Region Director, acting as representative for Durham, Toronto, Etobicoke and Mississauga Master Gardeners. As a person committed to social change and environmental sustainability, she finds the Master Gardeners a perfect fit for her current goals. The focus of her interest is gardening with native plants, creating wildlife habitat and sustainably growing food for personal use. She works seasonally at Native Plants in Claremont, a local native plants nursery where she learns new and exciting ways of appreciating nature every day. Of course she loves working in and experiencing the glorious refuge of a thriving ornamental garden, too. Who doesn’t love a magnificent peony?

Pam Love
Pam Love has been an active member of the Durham Master Gardeners for over 12 years and serves on the Board of the Master Gardeners of Ontario Inc. Pam has a Horticultural Certificate from the University of Guelph. She describes herself as a “generalist” gardener. Following a long banking career, Pam gained practical gardening experience operating her own gardening services business until 2014. Now Pam concentrates on sharing her gardening knowledge and finding ways to enjoy and make her garden easy to manage.

Judy Rivers
Judy has enjoyed gardening for over 30 years and completed the Landscape Design Program at Humber College. She joined Durham Master Gardeners in 2017. Judy worked at a large local nursery for over seven years providing advice and assistance with plant selection and landscape designs. Active in her community, Judy was a member of the Whitby In Blooms committee for three years and assisted with the town sponsored annual homeowner garden tour and Speakers Series. She is also a palliative care volunteer with VON/Durham Hospice. Judy is presently enrolled in the Horticultural Therapy program being offered through the Toronto Botanical Gardens - combining her love of plants and serving others within her community. In her spare time, she enjoys creating unique terrariums and planters using succulents.

Gini Sage
Gini has over 30 years of gardening experience in urban and country settings. She is an active Master Gardener, volunteering with Master Gardeners of Ontario, Inc. for over a decade, as well as a member of local garden societies. Her primary interests are expanding the use of native plants in the urban landscape, as well as the incorporation of vegetables and herbs in ornamental gardens. Gini graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry, and earned an Ontario Diploma in Horticulture Certificate in Landscape Design from the University of Guelph. After retiring from a full time career in Automotive Engineering, she now operates her own business, Spirit of Spring Design, which provides garden design focused on developing creative solutions for landscape problems, and aims to help bring gardening knowledge to the home gardener in their own environment.

Amanda Steinberg
Amanda recently traded in her combat boots and cadpat for a trowel and secateurs. She retired from the military intent on pursuing a low stress life. Having inherited the green thumb gene, she is currently putting that thumb to good use as she finishes the Horticulture Technician program at Durham College. She is a Master Garden in Training with keen interest in the bug world, perennial plants, xeriscaping and teaching her children to respect nature and water.

Amy Urquhart
Raised in Oshawa and a resident of Bowmanville, Ontario, Amy has been a home gardener for fifteen years, with a special interest in growing herbs and vegetables, especially. She also enjoys growing perennials in her back yard in Bowmanville, Ontario. Other interests include teaching kids how to grow food as well as community gardening and school gardens.

Helen Vander Byl
Helen is new to Durham Master Gardeners and is very excited to join the group. Helen grew up on a farm in Eastern Ontario where her love of the outdoors was nourished. Since retiring in 2015 she has been spending a lot of time in her gardens in Whitby and at the cottage in the Algonquin Highlands. Helen has started her first horticulture course through the University of Guelph and is looking forward to deepening her gardening knowledge.


Cori Whittington
Cori has been with Durham Master Gardeners since 2013, and has loved gardening and caring for nature and the environment since childhood. After a career in teaching she is enjoying spending her days outside volunteering and working at a stable, farm and native plants nursery.

Isia Yeo
Isia has a love for the outdoors; hiking, camping, canoeing and or course gardening. Gardening offers her the opportunity to create and share her knowledge of plants with her grandchildren. She has her Sustainable Landscape Certificate from Guelph University and is working on completing her Horticultural Certificate.

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