Cultivating Place

Telling garden stories on the radio

Storytelling is uniquely human. And once engaged, those narratives that we connect with become a part of our personal story; they help us define our values and choose what we will champion.

Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden, is a home for garden stories on your radio dial and podcast feed. Program creator, writer, and host, Jennifer Jewell’s curious nature is informed by a deep love for plants and beautiful gardens. Each week, her thoughtful interviews with plantspeople, designers, writers, and educators peel back the many and diverse onion-like layers to reveal the many facets of garden-making. Jennifer describes the program as a means of exploring the connection between garden and gardener, “We delve into the who, what, where, and how of these interconnections, as well as into the why. The intention and universal impulse of the why is so often what drives the power and meaning of a garden and gardener.”


Episodes in the inaugural season of Cultivating Place include interviews with landscape designer Bernard Trainor, garden designer/philosopher Julie Moir Messervy, and lively conversations with plantsman Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanic Garden, and Dr. Gordon Frankie, professor and researcher at the University of California Berkeley and founder/director of the Urban Bee Lab. Authors who are recording history or proposing new ideas are also in the mix along with horticulturists, men and women exploring nature, nursery professionals, and innovative farmers and advocates working for healthy gardens, sustainable food systems, and locally grown crops.

“I believe gardens are a foundational element of our cultural literacy,” Jennifer states, “on par and interwoven with art, music, architecture, history, geography, science, and literature.”

It used to be that we learned how to garden at our grandmother, grandfather, mom, or dad’s side. The garden was a part of daily life. Times have changed. Today’s media is rich with inspiring profiles of aspirational gardens and detailed cultivation information—admire this, plant that. But maybe radio is our new gardening elder—a medium for telling stories independent of visual distraction. And leaving it up to us to make them our own.

Jennifer Jewell, Warner Mountains, Modoc County. Photo John Whittlesey

Jennifer Jewell, Warner Mountains, Modoc County. Photo John Whittlesey

Cultivating Place, a co-production of North State Public Radio and, airs every Thursday at 10 am and 6:30 pm and is available as a podcast from iTunes. Find out more about Jennifer’s work and how you can join the conversation at Complete audio archives of the program are available at North State Public Radio. Jennifer Jewell is a PHS board member.