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

Thursdays at 10 a.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m.

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.

Original Theme Music by Ma Muse, Engineer and Producer Matt Fidler, Executive Producer Sarah Bohannon.

MaryLynn Mack is a renaissance woman and leading voice in the world of public gardens today. After beginning her career in the Navy, her experiences have taken her in many directions, including 16 years in Phoenix at the Desert Botanical Garden, and now as Chief Operating Officer of the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes, Ca. 

In the last decade, she has served on the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) Board of Directors and is the current Vice President, the incoming President, as well as the inaugural Chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEAS) Committee.

This week on Cultivating Place, we continue our FRESH STARTS series in conversation with a long established friend in the gardening world, Doug Tallamy. 


His latest book Nature’s Best Hope envisions a fresh look at and commitment to rethinking how much of suburban United States sees, uses, and cultivates their places, with an eye toward a Homegrown National Park. Join us!


All photos courtesy of Doug Tallamy and

Sheri Peabody / Smith College

To kick off the new year, Cultivating Place offers out the first in what will be an ongoing and intermittent series exploring Fresh Starts in our horticultural and gardening world.

Following up on last week’s show with Duron Chavis, in which we explored some of the obstacles, hobbles and even failures of imagination in the botanic and garden world, this week we dive into a botanic garden endeavoring to imagine a fresh start to what they do, how they do it, and to whom it is of greatest service.



In honor of the losses, griefs, revisions, and transformations in our world this last year, and in honor of the hopes we all hold in our gardens and our hearts for 2021 – we welcome today the muscular voice and vision of Duron Chavis.


Duron is an urban farmer, community activist and advocate in Richmond, Virginia. His passionate voice for the power of gardening and people is loud and clear in our times.

In this first week of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Cultivating Place speaks this week with medicinal and habitat gardener Sayaka Lean of the Herb Pharm in Southern Oregon.

Informed by her own Japanese cultural gardening traditions, Sayaka is the lead gardener of the Herb Pharm’s public medicinal plant display garden (the Botanical Education Garden), where she cultivates more than 500 native and non-native medicinal plants from around the world. 

Amber Tamm

In honor of the Solstice on December 21st, Cultivating Place speaks this week with Brooklyn-born farmer/horticulturist/floral designer, activist, and daughter, Amber Tamm. Amber’s journey and work invite us to Imagine so much more in our gardened world. Listen In! 

This week on Cultivating Place we continue our winter greening cheer in conversation with Todd Carr and Carter Harrington of Hort and Pott, a botanical studio in Upstate NY dedicated to embracing the seasons, celebrating the natural world through handcrafted botanical works, and reimagining the relationships between people and the natural world through botanically driven design.

You won’t want to miss this cozy winter fireside chat encouraging us all to awaken the sublime as we welcome winter. Listen in next week!

This week Cultivating Place kicks off December with a flourish in conversation with Teresa Sabankaya of the Santa Cruz-based Bonny Doon Garden Company and author of "The Posy Book – garden-inspired bouquets that tell a story"  just in time for seasonal winter festivities and their greening and gifting. Listen in!

Vivien Sansour

Join us this week on Cultivating Place for our final episode in the Seed Change series. We are in conversation with Vivien Sansour, heart and head behind The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library aiming to revive and share forward Palestinian seed heritage and culture of care and gratitude.

Vivien was born in Palestine and grew up in Bethlehem and then North Carolina.

This week on Cultivating Place, the third in our 4 part Seed Change series with Cheryl Birker, Seed Conservation Program Manager at California Botanic Garden and with whom we go even deeper into what it means to seed bank a biodiversity hotspot in our world. It’s all about the beauty in the tiniest of details. Listen in!