The podcast is going dormant for most of the rest of 2023! There is a rich archive of podcast episodes you can listen to in the meantime! I thank you all for listening to the podcast over these last few years but I’ll be taking a break to regroup and come up with new ways to talk about gardening through the podcasting medium.
Until then, please sign up for the In the Weeds newsletter:
You can stay in touch with me and podcast updates there for the time being. I’ll be writing more often this year, getting some creative ideas out of my brain in a different format. But don’t worry, the podcast will return!
I’m going to take an extended break from the podcast, which you’ve probably already thought was going on based on how sporadic episodes have been lately. I’ve lost my zest for the podcast and thought I might power through but think I’m going to hit pause for much of the rest of this year while I think of how I can make this podcast sustainable for me in the future. So, stay with me, I’ll be back at some point.
The second announcement is that I will be writing a bit more, particularly in the newsletter. I’ve recently switched the newsletter over from Mailchimp to Substack which has a more interactive interface, allowing for comments, hearts, and even a Chat and Notes section where you can easily interact with newsletter writers. I’ve really been enjoying the set up for another newsletter I write and think it is a good fit for the podcast. Plus, you can upload audio as well! If you are on Substack you can search for In the Weeds or The Garden Path Podcast and subscribe to the newsletter there. I hope to be writing there once or twice a month and seeing where that goes.
Today’s episode features a return guest, Nancy Lawson! Nancy was first on the podcast in November of 2017 to talk about her book The Humane Gardener. Nancy’s book said so much of what I was already thinking and really pushed me to think harder when it came to looking at the garden landscape as an ecosystem. When I found out she was writing a new book I was ecstatic. That new book is Wildscape: Trilling Chipmunks, Beckoning Blooms, Salty Butterflies, and other Sensory Wonders of Nature.
The book is such a delight and I hope it will have you wandering around your yard with new eyes, and ears and nose and mouth—taste? Lol anyway, I hope it will make you approach your landscape in a different way. We have a delightful conversation about the book, as well as writing the book during the height of the pandemic. Talking with Nancy is always wonderful and there are so many things to learn from her!
My guest today is Amy Martin, a writer and researcher from Dallas who is currently compiling a biography on Texas environmentalist Ned Fritz. Now, you may be asking, who the heck is Ned Fritz? And I was right there with you up until last spring when I read his book Realms of Beauty, about the Wilderness Areas of east Texas. His writing was witty and was so relevant to today that I was sad to see that Ned had passed away in 2008 after a half century or more of environmental activism in Texas, for places and things you may or may not have heard of. I heard Amy Martin give a talk to the Dallas Sierra Club back in January and knew I needed to interview her for the podcast. More people need to know about Ned Fritz and what he stood for, how much he fought to protect Texas land and water and why we need more Ned Fritz’ more than ever.
Way back in 2018 I had today’s guest on to talk about his book, A New Garden Ethic. Today Benjamin Vogt is back on the podcast to talk about his latest book, Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design. A lot has changed in the last five years in regard to native plants in gardening and I think Benjamin has driven some of that change. Prairie Up is the garden design book that many of us have been looking for. An approach for native plant enthusiasts that is both attainable and manageable, contrary to so many other beautiful garden design books out there. As you’ll hear me say in the interview, the book blew away my expectations and I think even the most experienced native plant gardener will be able to find something to take away from both the book and the conversation.
Today’s guest is Michelle Lay, a native plant gardener in Austin, Texas. Michelle and I have been Instagram acquaintances and friends over the last few years and I’ve enjoyed seeing her central Texas native plant garden evolve. Michelle has the same passion for conversation and protection of the environment that I do and we talk a lot about that in our conversation. We chat native plants, the Native Plant Society of Texas, the sadness that comes with seeing our open spaces bulldozed for development, and Michelle’s own recent experiences rescuing plants from a development. We pack a lot into the episode and there’s a lot to learn!
Happy 2023 everyone! Spring is trying to spring here but like every year in Texas we brace ourselves for a surprise freeze in February, so I’m not getting too antsy about the growing season yet. But almost!
Today’s episode is a fun one and a little bit different than how I normally conduct a podcast. I was feeling overwhelmed from some other projects and not in the mood for my usual interview style episodes and opted to be a bit more relaxed with this one with an Instagram friend, Bonnie Semmling. You may know her over there as @Bonntany and she always shares wonderful botanical finds from her home state of New Jersey and anywhere else she travels. I’ve learned a lot from her over the last couple of years and know I will be learning a lot from her in the coming years!
Bonnie works in an herbarium and it’s a subject I’m fascinated by and so we talk about that, how she got into botany as a career, and her recent travels to Texas. We got deep a few times on issues like plant blindness, conservation measures in both states and throughout the country…it’s a great conversation and I had fun chatting with Bonnie! Plus, I now have some plants to go look for!
I’m a voracious reader and read anything from paper books to kindle books and listen to my share of audiobooks. Rather than list the abundant garden and natural history books I read this year I summarized my two favorites in this podcast: Saving the Wild South by Georgann Eubanks and The Natural Habitat Garden by Ken Druse. One is a classic that is still very relevant and the other is new but is an instant classic. Let me know what you read this year!
This episode is more or less a recording of a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago regarding the stark divide in native plant media versus what is available for sale in the nursery industry. A summary of the issues…
The Issues at Hand
A diverse and locally native plant landscape for the home gardener is not easily within reach to the majority of home gardeners.
Nursery stock to create a diverse home landscape for gardeners on the scale touted by native plant enthusiasts doesn’t exist and is consistently unsupported by the horticulture industry.
Most homeowners will never delve into gardening, native or otherwise.
Gardeners should be intensely focusing on preserving large, existing tracts of undeveloped land within the suburban/urban/wildland interfaces to counteract the shortcomings of native plant home landscapes.
Today’s episode is one I have been wanting to make for quite a while and I’m glad it finally happened—an interview with Leah Churner and Colleen Dieter from The Horticulturati, a garden and horticulture podcast based out of Austin, Texas. Leah and Colleen are both garden designers with extensive knowledge of the garden industry in and around Austin and produce what I find to be the most delightful garden podcast out there! It certainly isn’t a podcast only for gardeners in Austin or Texas because Leah and Colleen tackle issues in the industry from their most recent episode about problematic common plant names to Ammonium Nitrate and well beyond all of those topics. They make you think, laugh, and inquire more about the gardening life you lead.
This is a longer episode than my usual podcast episodes but I hope that it gives you great insight into who each of them are and entices you to check out their podcast and hit subscribe.
Today’s guest is Haeley Giambalvo from San Antonio, Texas. You may know her on Instagram as the person behind Native Backyards, the highly informative account that features native plants and native plant gardening advice focused on Texas. I have loved what Haeley has been doing since the very start of her account and have admired the effort she has put into the outreach and advocacy for native plants on her account. In addition, she has a website that delves into all this even more, complete with resources on where to find native plants in your region.
In our conversation we talk about her entry to gardening with native plants, how and why she began the Native Backyards platform, and some of her favorite native plants to garden with. There’s a lot to learn from Haeley!