Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden

Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

The essential connections between nature, our gardens, and our places in both: I’m Jennifer Jewell and this is Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden a weekly public radio program and podcast that explores what we mean when we garden.

Through thoughtful conversations with growers, gardeners, naturalists, scientists, artists and thinkers, Cultivating Place illustrates the many ways in which gardens and gardening are integral to our natural and cultural literacy. It celebrates how these interconnections support the places we cultivate, how they nourish our bodies and feed our spirits. Take a listen.

A co-production of North State Public Radio (KCHO 91.7 FM in Chico, CA and KFPR 88.9 FM in Redding, CA) and CultivatingPlace.comCultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden airs Thursdays at 10:00 AM and again Thursday evenings at 6:30 PM PST. The program is created and hosted by Jennifer Jewell; produced and engineered by Sarah Bohannon. Our communications coordinator is Kacey Gardner. Music by Matt Shilts.

Cultivating Place is based on two beliefs: The first, that horticulture (“the art of garden cultivation or management” according to the Oxford English Dictionary) is a foundational element of our cultural literacy — on par with art, music, architecture, history, geography, social studies and literature. The second, that gardens and gardening provide a unique, and uniquely beautiful, bridge connecting us to our larger environments — culturally and botanically.

Weekly interviews explore the many different ways people come to and bring to life what garden and gardening mean. They celebrate how gardening encourages a direct relationship with the dynamic processes of the plants, animals, soils, seasons and climatic factors that come to bear on a garden.

Cultivating Place builds on and deepens the conversations begun in 8 years of creating, writing and hosting the regionally focused In a North State Garden: Celebrating the Art, Craft and Science of Gardening in Northern California, which aired on North State Public Radio from January of 2008 - January of 2016.

The show is available as a podcast on iTunes and Stitcher

Jennifer Jewell

In life, there are generalists and there are specialists. This week on Cultivating Place, we’re speaking with botanist Dr. Ben Grady about his work with ornamental buckwheats and the upcoming Eriogonum Society conference in Weed, California.

It is full on summer. Perhaps you are in the very middle of summer holidays here at mid-July. If you are like me, there is a special anticipation to the books of summer we choose to companion us on holiday, at least one of which has to be a garden book. The world of garden writing includes lushly photographed coffee table books, how-to books and garden literature, among others. 

 

Over the past year of Cultivating Place interviews, we’ve heard references to the importance of the Smithsonian Gardens archives for the research of such historians, writers and gardeners as Marta McDowell while writing "All the President’s Gardens", as Andrea Wulf while she was writing "Founding Gardeners" and "The Invention of Nature", and as Ryder Ziebarth as she was working to document and preserve 5 generations of her family working and gardening on one piece of land. 

This week on Cultivating Place, a conversation with a home gardener who has moved not just gardens, but continents and hemispheres. As we just reached the height of sunlight with our summer solstice, she eased into her winter. She shares a gardening story of learning, community and adaptability. Pen Pender is a gardener, mother, wife, voracious reader, community activist, bee keeper, cook and novice potter living near Mt. Macedon in Victoria, Australia.

Photos courtesy of Floret Flower Farm.

 

Next week – June 28 to July 4 – our country is celebrating American Flowers Week, celebrating American-grown flowers in 50 states. In celebration, Debra Prinzing, the founder of what’s known as the Slow Flowers LLC — who we interviewed last July — has organized a Slow Flowers Summit in Seattle, Washington on Sunday, July 2. There will be speakers and activities – shared food, shared flowers and shared philosophy. It’s been called a TED Talk day for flower lovers. For more information on the summit, please visit Jewellgarden.com for links. 

Photos courtesy of Ryder Ziebarth

In our last Cultivating Place "Dispatches from the Home Garden," we heard from a young gardener experiencing her first garden dislocation/relocation in Sacramento, California. This week – in many ways in honor of Father’s Day — we hear from another home gardener, this time in New Jersey and this time on the same land her grandparents cultivated and which she and her husband, with the steady help and mentorship of her father, became the fourth generation of her family to steward this land after her uncle died and the property went on the market. 

This week on Cultivating Place we hear the story of the first 15 years of the Edible Communities – the umbrella name of the many publishers who bring you the edible communities publications across the US and Canada. Fifteen years ago, two women who cared about food, Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, published a 16-page, one-color newsletter to help connect the farmers in their area to the food-lovers in their area.

Melissa Keyser and copyright sweetbeegarden.com 2017

Gardening is a specifically human endeavor. It is a characterizing feature of our species, fairly well documented throughout our evolution. Which fascinates me. And each of us come to this endeavor for our own reasons and needs – sometimes very practical, sometimes very esthetic, sometimes spiritual. Our gardens are like some larger version of our very fingerprints.

What do we mean when we use the word “wild” and why does it matter? In 2017, the New York City urban landscape commonly known as The High Line celebrates its official 5th birthday. This milestone is being marked by the publication of a new book entitled "Gardens of the High Line: Elevating the Nature of Modern Landscapes" (Timber Press, 2017), coauthored by plantsmen Piet Oudolf and Rick Darke, with graphic design by Lorraine Ferguson.

Melinda Benson-Valavanis is a floral designer and owner of MCreations in Chico, CA. She recently committed her business to participating in a project called re-bloom – in which she accepts the flowers from a wedding or other large event after the event is over and and re-purposes them for distribution to people and communities who might need a bit of floral energy and cheer in their lives.

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