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.

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! 

(U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery/released)

This week on Cultivating Place, we speak with Steve Van Hoven Chief Arborist and Horticulture Supervisor of Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Gardens and Arboretum. This historic landscaped national military cemetery sits on the location of what was once the home estate and gardens of General Robert E Lee and his wife Mary Custis Lee in Arlington, Virginia. More than 400,000 veterans are laid to rest there, among many gardens and more than 8.600 trees. In 2015 Arlington was accredited with LEVEL II arboretum status. 

Gardens can be important repositories for cultural and environmental history. From the plants included to materials used — you can read a great deal about time and place in any garden. This might be particularly true of gardens created and cared for at the turn of the 19th century in England and the United States — a time marked by the unprecedented expanding financial, journalistic and horticultural wealth of the industrial age. This week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by Gail Read, garden manager of Blithewold, to explore the history embedded in any garden.

 

Gardens and landscapes, gardeners and gardening are integral to our cultural literacy and sense of place and self as a nation. In 1989 Frank Cabot founded the Garden Conservancy in the United States in an effort to preserve exceptional gardens and landscapes for the future. This week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by George Shakespear of the Garden Conservancy to hear more about its work, including its garden education and conservation mission as well as its dynamic Open Days program, which brings access to many, many other private gardens across the country each year.  

Photo courtesy of the SPP.

I don't know about you, but for me the garden grounds me, at the same time that it liberates me. Being out in nature - in the garden or on the trail - opens my mind and heart, settles me down while simultaneously teaching me about and connecting me to nature, science and humanity. For some, the combination of grounding, expansion and liberation that can be gleaned from a greater understanding and connection to the natural world is crucial and valuable in even more immediate ways. 

Thomas Rainer is a “horticultural futurist fascinated by the intersection of wild plants and human culture." A landscape architect by profession and a gardener by obsession, Rainer is co-author of “Planting in a Post-Wild World,” (Timber Press 2015). 

Every garden has something to teach me – truly. About plants, about people, about space and light and place. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA – the result one dedicated gardener woman’s life-long curiosity and admiration for cacti and succulents as she gardened in a dry climate.

Jennifer Jewell

 

Some people garden for food, some people garden for beauty, and some people garden and farm for cloth. Sandy Fisher is a weaver and fiber artist who since 1980 has literally interwoven her artistic eye, her impulse to garden, her love of natural fibers and natural dye colors to create functional art.

Photo courtesy of Old House Garden.

 


Today is the Autumnal Equinox. If gardening at its core is an activity of optimism, then planting fall bulbs is one of its most profound gestures of hope wherein you plant something that looks like next to nothing and then some months later – perhaps when you might need it most — it appears out of the cold, damp earth and then — it blooms. 

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