Jennifer Jewell

Host, Cultivating Place

Jennifer Jewell is a professional garden writer and avid home gardener based in Northern California, where she lives and gardens with her husband, two daughters and two dogs. Her writing about gardens and gardeners around the world has been featured in Edible Shasta-Butte, Gardens Illustrated, House & Garden, Natural Home, Old House Journal, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles and mountainliving.com. She is a member of the Garden Writers Association. She is the host of Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden. That program, and more of Jennifer's work, can be found at Jewellgarden.com.

Photo courtesy of Eliot Coleman

It is mid-January. It is deep mid-winter, even in my relatively mild USDA zone 9, Sunset zone 8. While I am fortunate enough to have a year-round Saturday farmer’s market available to me, my own home garden is looking spare. Which is at it should be this time of year, but it could be looking a little less spare while still remaining seasonally appropriate. One of MY New Year’s resolutions is to strive to do a little better on this front. After the calendar year 2016, I would like to feel a little more self-reliant.

Jennifer Jewell

As a celebration of the many ways that one’s cultivation of place can benefit not only the individual cultivator – gardener or naturalist – this week on Cultivating Place I’m joined by John Carlon, president of River Partners, a nonprofit organization working to create wildlife habitat for the benefit of people (economically and environmentally), water (quality and conservation), wildlife and the wider environment (including benefitting agricultural productivity and quality) by restoring successional riparian corridors throughout watersheds of the Western United States.

Happy New Year! For over 100 years Sunset magazine has been inspiring gardens and gardeners in the American West. This year marks the first full year for Sunset’s gorgeous, innovative new demonstration and display gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma. Join me this week when Cultivating Place converses with Sunset’s Garden Editor Johanna Silver - inspiring New Year’s resolutions for garden living. Join us.

There is something inherently satisfying about a full circle – a completion – a beginning brought to its fullness and coming to its natural end, which leads right into the next beginning. This full circle satisfaction is true for cycles of the moon, cycles of the seasons and cycles of the field and garden. For me this is especially apparent at the Winter Solstice and, of course, the full circle of a calendar year. 

Photo courtesy of Michael Kauffmann

In this season of the winter solstice — marked by the beauty and appreciative contemplation that mark the celebrations of winter holidays the world around, I very much wanted this week's Cultivating Place to acknowledge the diversity, value and fragility of our native plants and their communities. 

No matter where you garden or cultivate place now, or where you might have done so throughout your life, the native plants of any place are what signify, identify and root that place as its own. 

The famous British gardener and writer Vita Sackville-West stated that no room is ever complete without flowers. This week on Cultivating Place we explore this idea with Vietnamese-born New York Based photographer and writer Ngoc Minh Ngo. Her most recent book “In Bloom – Creating and Living with Flowers” beautifully portrays the imaginative and surprising ways in which 11 different artists and thinkers around the world weave their love of flowers into their everyday lives.  

courtesy of the Emily Dickinson Museum, Amherst, MA all rights reserved.

Emily Dickinson references plants, flowers, nature or her garden in more than one-third of her known poems, with many more references in her extensive correspondences with family and friends. Flowers and nature provided her with both “inspiration and companionship.” In celebration of the poet’s upcoming birthday, this week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by Jane Wald, executive director of the Emily Dickinson Museum, who’s overseeing current research and restoration of the Dickinson’s historic home garden and conservatory. Join us!

Clarkson Potter, 2014

The term “herbal” refers to far more than a soothing tea or tasty spice. An herbal is a book or otherwise codified collection of knowledge about the use of plants for food or medicine. Dating back as far as ancient Egypt, Sumer and China, there are more herbals published every year. On Cultivating Place this week, I’m joined by Stephen Orr, editor-in-chief of Better Homes & Gardens and author of "The New American Herbal," published by Clarkson Potter/Random House in 2014. 

Jennifer Jewell

Every year about this time, the light wanes, the temperatures drop and we as people draw in a bit, hunker down and begin whatever we can of a winter dormancy. 

For gardeners and non-gardeners alike, I think, there is a human urge to sometimes craft our garden plants, branches, flowers, seeds, cones and fruit into other, artful and unique creations — for doorways, for gates, for windows, for tabletops.

As we enter a traditional two-month period marked by celebrations of giving thanks, this week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by Qayyum Johnson, farm manager of Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin, CA.  Practicing in the Zen Buddhist tradition and farming 7 acres of cool season crops, Qayyum explores with us the connection between the back breaking physical labor of farming and the cultivation of awareness, generosity and thanksgiving in our minds and spirits. Join us! 

Pages