Cultivating Place show

Cultivating Place

Summary: Gardens are more than collections of plants. Gardens and Gardeners are intersectional spaces and agents for positive change in our world. Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden is a weekly public radio program & podcast exploring 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 are integral to our natural and cultural literacy. These conversations celebrate how these interconnections support the places we cultivate, how they nourish our bodies, and feed our spirits. They change the world, for the better. Take a listen.

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  • Artist: Jennifer Jewell / Cultivating Place
  • Copyright: 2016 - Cultivating Place


 Cultivating Place: Elizabeth Lawrence And Her Southern Garden | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2933

Elizabeth Lawrence was one of the grand dames of American horticulture in the 1900s. She was not only an avid gardener, but the first trained and licensed woman landscape architect out of the landscape architecture program at University of North Carolina, Raleigh. She designed, gardened and experimented with planting zones enthusiastically in her Charlotte, North Carolina, home and garden from the late 1940s through the mid 1980s. Perhaps most importantly, she shared her experiences and

 Cultivating Place: The Healing Power Of Gardens, With Author And Gardener Clare Cooper Marcus | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:50:20

The healing power of gardens and nature is well known to almost anyone who gardens and has been recorded by gardeners, landscape designers and medical practitioners as far back as antiquity. This week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by Dr. Clare Cooper Marcus, a leader in the field of evidence based research, education and design of what are alternatively known as healing gardens and therapeutic landscapes. Join us!

 Cultivating Place: Cutting Back With Author Leslie Buck | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:50:21

In the realm of gardenways and traditional garden design being inextricably interwoven with a culture, for me the garden design and techniques, and gardens associated with Japanese culture stand out. This week on Cultivating Place, we’re joined by Leslie Buck whose new book, “Cutting Back: My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto,” recounts her experience during a three-month intensive apprenticeship with one of the most prestigious landscape and design firms in the storied city of Kyoto learning about her garden art form of aesthetic pruning, while at the same time learning much more about herself. Join us!

 Cultivating Place: Gardens Of The Wild, Wild West – Lessons From Pioneers, With Mary Ann Newcomer | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:48:59

When you hear the phrase "gardens of the wild, wild west," what comes to mind? For gardener, author and radio host Mary Ann Newcomer of Boise, Idaho, there’s a long history of intrepid plants, gardens and gardeners that come before her — from the first peoples to the settlers who traveled West as pioneers in the 1800s. On Cultivating Place this week, Mary Ann (AKA The Dirt Diva on the Boise radio waves) shares some of the lessons that we might learn from these histories of plants and plants people no matter where we garden. Join us!

 Cultivating Place: Leslie Bennett & Pine House Edible Gardens | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:52:13

Leslie Bennett is a garden designer of both English and Jamaican descent working out of Oakland, CA. With a Jamaican-born husband, a two year old son, and knowledgeable, passionate views about the importance of cultural heritage, on cultivating Place this week, Leslie shares her journey navigating the marriage of beauty, function, cultural property and the radical activism of gardening. Join us!

 Cultivating Place: Land On Fire – A Conversation With Ecologist And Author Gary Ferguson | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:49:37

Late summer is fire season in the American West. A part of life. This week Cultivating Place speaks with Gary Ferguson, author of "Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West," a collection of scientific lectures about wildfire, which at their best serve as a window into the larger issue of our relationship to the natural world.

 Cultivating Place: Big Dreams, Small Garden – A Conversation With Marianne Willburn | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:50:52

In my experience, no home and garden are just perfect. And yet, they are just right if we bring the right perspective. Author and gardener Marianne Willburn shares this belief and she joins Cultivating Place this week to share more about her own gardening journey, and lessons learned from her book Big Dreams, Small Gardens. In this life, we might be tempted to wait to plant our garden until we think we are in just the right space, Marianne urges us to reconsider this and to just get out there and do it. Now. Plant your garden now, no matter where you are. Join us for this lively conversation about the human impulse to garden.

 Cultivating Place: Dispatches From The Home Garden – Emily Wilkins, Seattle, WA | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:28:14

This week on Cultivating Place we hear the next in our series of Dispatches from the Home Garden, this time from a north Seattle neighborhood where artist, gardener and aspiring vermicompost farmer Emily Wilkins tends to composting worms, awkward old maidens of shrubs. She starts and ends her days in the garden with in the company of family and some of her favorite friends – the plants, the worms and all manner of winged insects. Among them, she finds relief, satisfaction, joy and that at at the end of the day having your hands in the dirt is the very best part. Join us!

 Cultivating Place: Jinny Blom – The Thoughtful Gardener | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:50:43

This week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by Uk based garden designer Jinny Blom, whose new book is entitled “The Thoughtful Gardener: an intelligent approach to garden design”. After 17 years and more than 250 gardens designed around the globe, Jinny shares with us her thoughtful, creative, musical and heartfelt perspective and process. Join us!

 Cultivating Place: A Wide-Angle Garden Design Education with Katharine Webster | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:40:52

There's something to be said for having deep and historic roots to one region – one gardening and natural history home. I have an admiration for gardeners who’ve been born and raised in the historic home territories of their families before them, who have been working their own gardens for 20, 40 or 60 years. I have yet to live and work in the same garden for more than 7 years. And while I do envy these long tending one spot gardeners, I also see the benefits of having gardened in a wide variety of places, cultures, environments. I was born and raised at 8,000 feet in Colorado, but grew up regularly visiting extended family - and living myself - in a wide variety of environments across the country – from New York City and Boston, to the Adirondack Mountains of New York, the coast of Rhode Island, interior and coastal South Carolina, Northern Idaho, and the downtown's of Los Angeles, Seattle and St. Louis. You see my point. So while I celebrate those who’ve been able to build a relationship with one place for life, I've come to appreciate the kind of wide-angle education my family gave me on the differing look and feel of different places, and on the universal gardening/greening instincts you can start to see repeated by people in any location. This week on Cultivating Place, I’m joined by landscape designer, Katharine Webster. Now a resident of California's Bay Area, she grew up in the North East and spent summers on land and water in the 1000 Islands of Canada. She studied art, sculpture, and finally landscape architecture where she became compelled by the interface between the built environment and the landscape, finding power and meaning in the way that thoughtful and creative designers worked in this interface. With gardening internship experience in New York's Central Park and a family member/mentor who from an early age encouraged and taught her to really LOOK at the world around her, Katharine too has had a life offering a wide-angle landscape and garden education. Her early experiences and educational (formal and life education) journey lit a fire in her to shape landscapes.

 Cultivating Place: The Wild Ornamental Buckwheats! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:53:52

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. While you may not be familiar with the genus Eriogonum, I can promise you, once you meet these beautiful resilient native flowering plants, you’ll know they’re perfect for us generalist flower folk of American West (and all other summer dry regions of the world).

 Cultivating Place: 'Natural Selection' - A Conversation With Dan Pearson | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:50:26

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, we’re joined by British garden design luminary Dan Pearson to hear more about his newest book "Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden." A lovely work of the heart and the mind's eye, this work of garden literature makes for an enriching summer read. I’ll be traveling with a copy tucked into my beach bag this next week when I am on break. In our conversation, Dan shares about the book and his own gardening journey and philosophy. Join us!

 Cultivating Place: Cultivating America's Gardens - Smithsonian Gardens | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:51:49

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 past May, the Smithsonian Gardens – a branch of the Smithsonian Institution dedicated to enriching the Smithsonian experience through exceptional gardens, horticultural exhibits, collections, and education – launched a new exhibition entitled “Cultivating America’s Gardens”. The exhibition will be on view at the National Museum of American History through August of 2018. In honor of our country’s birthday this week, and the hand-in-hand role gardens play in the history of our country – this week on Cultivating Place I’m pleased to be joined by the curator of the exhibit, Kelly Crawford. In the second half of today’s program we’ll be joined by Cindy Brown, Manager of Education and Collections Management at Smithsonian Gardens to learn more about the gardens and their on-going mission and activities. Happy birthday to the United States of America – seems to me an exhibit celebrating our shared garden history is a perfect gift.

 Cultivating Place: Gardening Under Australian Skies, A Conversation With Home Gardener Pen Pender | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:45:56

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. While I might never see kangaroos in my garden, and she may never hear the sound of a congregation of acorn woodpeckers, we are still gardening together in some sense. As she digs in and looks appreciatively up at winter over there, I dig in and look up in anticipation of a long hot summer over here. Pen shares her story of gardening under Australian skies. To read more or to see more photos of Pen Pender’s Australian garden, go to You can download or subscribe to the Cultivating Place podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

 Cultivating Place: Revisiting The Cut Flower Garden Ahead Of American Flowers Week | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 00:28:00

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 for links. In honor of the upcoming celebrations and the many benefits – emotional, economic and environmental — of locally grown flowers, this week on Cultivating Place we revisit an interview from earlier this year with a leader in the flower farmer renaissance underway: Erin Benzakein of Floret Flower Farms. Benzakien is the name and face behind the beautiful and impassioned Floret Flower Farms, based in the Skagit Valley of Washington state. Floret is at the heart of encouraging and educating would be flower farmers on the whens why and hows of getting started and making a go of this new-again small farm based industry which is rooting itself across the country and even around the globe. Erin’s new book "The Cut Flower Garden" – aimed at new and beginning flower farmers — is out now from Chronicle Books. She joins us today via skype from the farm.


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