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.


Landscape architects create outdoor spaces with intention and thought. While the effects are often unnoticed consciously, they are absorbed and experienced nonetheless — impacting us, our culture, and our understanding of place — historically and right now. Kelly Comras explores some of these ideas with us on Cultivating Place this week. 

Photo by K. Foster.

Dr. Peter Raven is one of the leading plant biologists in the world today, having begun his botanical and natural history journey falling in love with the plants and animals of Central California, the Sierra Nevada and under the encouragement and mentorship of many leaders in the field at the California Academy of Sciences beginning when he was 8 years old. Dr. Raven is President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, one of the country’s top three botanical research institutions. Dr.

    

It's late summer. The light is shifting incrementally each day now — tilting toward a new season. I notice especially in those transitory, crepuscular moments of dawn and dusk. The light is moving towards a new, quieter season in the garden and the colors of my garden are shifting with it. Some of the saturation is waning, other shades are deepening, bright giving way — very slowly, almost imperceptibly — to earthy.

This week on Cultivating Place, life in the garden gets a little more wild when we speak with Beth Pratt-Bergstrom, California director of the National Wildlife Federation. Beth is the author of the recently released book titled "When Mountain Lions are Neighbors - People and Wildlife Working it Out in California.” 

Stefani Bittner / Homestead Design Collective

 


Sometimes when you use the word garden – people immediately conjure up images of the ornamental perennial border. Other people, however, conjure up colorful visions of the summer vegetable garden – beginning to groan this time of year under the abundance and literal weight of the summer harvest of tomatoes, peppers, corn, zucchini and so on. 

Humble Roots Nursery

Kristin Currin is owner and founder with her husband Drew Merritt of Humble Roots Native Plant Nursery in Mosier, Oregon.

Situated at the interface between temperate rain forest, the Great Basin and the Columbia River Gorge, Humble Roots has a mission to inspire gardeners, nature lovers and conservationists to deepen their relationship with native plants. 

courtesy of Debra Prinzing and Slowflowers.com

Cultivating Place this week welcomes Debra Prinzing, the producer of slowflowers.com, the online directory to American flower farms, and florists, shops and studios who source domestic and local flowers. 

I would be surprised if most people I spoke to today — pretty much no matter where I might be in the US — were not familiar with the term slow food. 

Are you familiar with the term and movement known as Slow Flowers? 

"All the Presidents' Gardens," Timber Press 2016

In this election year, and with the Independence Day holiday just past, we have something of a patriotic garden theme going. This week, we’re joined by Marta McDowell, a gardener, historian and writer who lives in Chatham, New Jersey. Her self-described greatest interest lies in the relationship between writers and their gardens — the connection, as she says, “between pen and trowel.” This interest is well-illustrated and developed in her titles to date including “Emily Dickinson’s Gardens,” “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life,” and most recently the patriotic history of the White House Gardens entitled: “All the Presidents’ Gardens” out now from Timber Press, and the focus of our conversation.

Cultivating Place: Gardens For Heroes

Jun 30, 2016
Gardens for Heroes

Are you a person who takes refuge in the natural world or your home garden? If so, then you appreciate the many benefits of these for regrouping from life’s stresses, large and small. As we look to the Fourth of July, we’re joined this week by Ann Mead Daniel, co-founder with her husband Scott Robertson of Gardens for Heroes. It’s a young non-profit in the Washington DC area, whose work seeks to help wounded veterans and their families find space and resources for regrouping and healing in the context of their own home gardens.

John Whittlesey

This week on Cultivating Place, we’re joined by Genny Arnold, Seed Program Manager at the Theodore Payne Foundation who speaks with us about the care and long-term keeping of our native geophytes — those coolest of plants which have an underground storage organ, like a bulb or tuber or corm, which helps them to withstand some of the planet’s harshest conditions: cold, heat, drought and dark. Or a hot dry California summer.

California is home to close to 300 species of native geophytes, many of which are now rare or endangered. This spring, after a winter of closer-to-normal rainfalls, many of our bulbs are treating us to a particularly spectacular year of bloom.

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