Cultivating Place

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. 

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.

This week on Cultivating Place, we’re joined by Jan Johnsen – a gardener, landscape designer and author of the books "Heaven is a Garden" and "The Spirit of Stone,” both published by St.

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