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.
Native plants — ornamental, edible or useful, common, rare or endangered — all cultivation and gardening is based upon the native plants of somewhere. This week, I honor the native plants of my place — the native plants of California, one of the world's biodiveristy hotspots, with more native and endemic plants than certainly anywhere I've lived or gardened before now.
To help me in this celebration of the plants of our own places, my guest today is Michael Kauffmann, editor-in-chief of Backcountry Press and author of several books exploring the natural history of some signature plants of the western forest, including — so seasonally appropriate — "Conifer Country, Conifers of the Pacific Slope" and "A Field Guide to Manzanitas,” one of our native broadleaved evergreens.
As of January 2017, Michael is also the editor of Fremontia, the journal of the California Native Plant Society.