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.

John Whittlesey / Canyon Creek Nursery and Design

This week on Cultivating Place, we’re joined by Dr. Gordon Frankie, professor and researcher at the University of California Berkeley and founder/director there of the Urban Bee Lab, research initiative on the lives of California’s native bees.

Co-author of “California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists,” Gordon loves bees! Since 1987, he has been studying bee-flower relationships in urban gardens and landscapes and educating on the ways in which home gardeners and public landscapes can help our many native bees as they suffer the consequences of lost, degraded or fragmented native habitat. His work can be followed at helpabee.org.

Jennifer Jewell

Nothing says place like the cultivation and caring for the plants native to your place. As gardeners we hear a lot about native plants. This is perhaps especially true in the past 20 years or so. And it is perhaps especially true in California, one of the 33 biodiversity hotspots in the world and home to an astounding number of native and endemic natives – meaning those natives that only occur in their specific locations here. 

Today we’re joined by two people who have been on a leading edge of the ever-increasing interest in California Native Plants for the home gardener for the past 35 years. In 1981 Sherrie Althouse and Phil Van Soelen were two young twenty-somethings who began the unconventional California Flora Nursery — one of the oldest native plant nurseries in the state, located in Sonoma County.

Do you have particular plant groups you like more than most? Because of family history or where you live, perhaps? The Geranium family of flowering plants rank right up there for me. And I’m not alone. This week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by Robin Parer — founder and owner of the specialty Geraniaceae Nursery, champion of all members of the Geraniaceae family. She is also the author of “The Plant Lovers Guide to Hardy Geraniums,” out now from Timber Press.

Sometimes flowers, gardens and nature speaks to us. Sometimes we employ them to speak on our behalf. What do our gardens and flowers say to the world? This week on Cultivating Place, we're joined by two people who cultivate hope and opportunity through flowers indirectly and directly in their lives. We speak with Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of the New York Times Best Selling novel “The Language of Flowers,” and Shelly Watson, founder and director of Bloomin’ Hope, a vocational floral skills program for women at the Jesus Center in Chico. Diffenbaugh is the featured speaker at an upcoming fundraiser for the Jesus Center in Chico on May 14

Courtesy Bill Thomas

This week, we’re joined by Dr. Bill Thomas: gardener, farmer, parent with his wife Jude, and Harvard-trained geriatrician and international authority on eldercare. In the 1990s he co-founded with his wife Jude a transformative philosophical approach to how we care for our elders — or ourselves — as we age, known as "The Eden Alternative.” The Eden Alternative challenges us as individuals and as a culture to reframe how we imagine life in elderhood — that we imagine it to be more like a garden and less like a prison.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens, 2016

 


On Cultivating Place this week we talk with Mary Pat Matheson and George DeMan, the current president and founding president of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens respectively.

In April of this year, the Atlanta Botanical Gardens are reprising one of their most popular exhibits of all time: fine art glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly throughout the garden. Both of our guests, as well as the artist Dale Chihuly, bring different — and not particularly plant-based — perspectives on how art in gardens and gardening can bring meaning and enjoyment to those who experience them. If there is one plant group all three people have in common, it might be the bright spring woodland color of native Rhododendrons and azaleas. 

Dr. Elizabeth Hoover

Sometimes our understanding of what gardening or a garden are can be expanded just by asking for someone else’s history and understanding of these terms.

This week on Cultivating Place, we're joined by Dr. Elizabeth Hoover — gardener, beadworker, fancy shawl dancer and professor of American studies at Brown University. 

Cultivating Place: Deborah Koons Garcia

Mar 24, 2016
Laurent Alfieri / Courtesy of Deborah Koons Garcia

 


If seed is the beginning and end of all plant life, soil is the place that most seeds call home. Soil then is a foundational aspect to any garden a very important place for all of us to cultivate consciously. 

This week on Cultivating Place, our conversations on what gardens and gardening mean continue with Deborah Koons Garcia, writer, director and producer of the full-length documentary "Symphony of the Soil," a feature presentation at CSU, Chico's This Way to Sustainability Conference. The film will show at noon Friday, March 25, with Garcia in attendance to introduce it and answer questions following. 

Cultivating Place: Organic Seed Alliance

Mar 17, 2016
Redwood Seeds

“Seed draws you in,” says Micaela Colley. “They capture your imagination,” Kalan Redwood adds.

Seeds are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of most plant life. This week on Cultivating Place we’re joined by Micaela Colley, Executive Director of the Organic Seed Alliance based in Port Townsend, WA and Kalan Redwood of Redwood Seeds in eastern Tehama County. Redwood Seeds is a member of the Organic Seed Alliance's national network of organic seed growers. They provide us with environmental health, food, utility and incredible biodversity supporting all manner of life – join us to hear more about maintaining their integrity, diversity and supply.

This week on Cultivating Place, we’re joined by Daniel Atkinson — teacher, student, scholar of the African American Diaspora and Jazz and Rhythm and Blues music and dedicated home gardener. Currently gardening in Puyallup, Wash., Daniel shares his thoughts on saving and sharing the seeds handed down to him by his ancestors — some of which have been in his family for more than 200 years. He also discusses the connection for him between music, surfing, gardening and life.  

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