Debra Prinzing

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Episode 397: On Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden with Jennifer Jewell of Public Radio’s Cultivating Place, plus State Focus: Indiana

April 17th, 2019

Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of “Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden” (c) Delaney Jewell Simchuk

I’m delighted to introduce you to my featured guest today: Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden.

Cultivating Place plays a significant role in the audio space, not just on North State Public Radio in Chico, California, the show’s home base, but everywhere through the power of Podcasting. I know many of our Slow Flowers Podcast listeners have already discovered Jennifer and this wonderful one-hour weekly program — in fact, Jennifer and I are frequently drawn to the same guests and topics.

Jennifer Jewell of Cultivating Place in her beloved Northern California home (c) John Whittlesey

Cultivating Place is an incredible platform for dialogue with people for whom nature and gardening is a central, essential act. Jennifer is passionate about conversations that often include the simple question: What is your garden practice?

Here is more about Cultivating Place. The program’s premise is that gardens are more than collections of plants.

Gardens and Gardeners are intersectional spaces and agents for positive change in our world. Together, we center gardens and gardeners as paradigm shifters improving our relationships to and impacts on the more-than-human natural environment, on the larger culture(s), and on our communal and individual health and well-being.

Through thoughtful conversations with growers, gardeners, naturalists, scientists, artists and thinkers, Cultivating Place illustrates the many ways in which gardens and gardening are integral to our natural and cultural literacy – on par with Art, Science, Literature, Music, Religion. Gardens encourage a direct relationship with the dynamic processes of the plants, animals, soils, seasons, and climatic factors that come to bear on a garden, providing a unique, and uniquely beautiful, bridge connecting us to our larger environments — culturally and botanically. With 38% of US households engaging in gardening – we are many, and especially together, we make a difference in this world. These conversations celebrate how all these interconnections support the places we cultivate, nourish our bodies, and feed our spirits.

Jennifer Jewell, photographed at the Fairoaks Horticulture Center in the Sacramento area (c) John Whittlesey

Here is more about Jennifer Jewell:

Host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden, Jennifer Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate.

Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of garden and floral designing mother and a wildlife biologist father. Jennifer has been writing about gardening professionally since 1998, and her work has appeared in Gardens Illustrated, House & Garden, Natural Home, Old House Journal, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, and Pacific Horticulture. She worked as Native Plant Garden Curator for Gateway Science Museum on the campus of California State University, Chico, and lives and gardens in Butte County, California.

Jennifer’s first book about extraordinary women changing the world with plants, is due out in early 2020 from Timber Press. I’m so honored that she asked me to be part of this project as one of the women profiled — and in the coming months, I’ll have more details to share with you. She is currently at work on her second book highlighting wild gardens of the west and their relationship to the natural beauty of their places, with photographer Caitlin Atkinson. 

I’m so pleased to share my conversation with Jennifer today. Here are some of her social links for you to follow:

Cultivating Place on Facebook

Cultivating Place on Instagram

Listen to my guest appearance on Cultivating Place (July 2016)

In her favorite place! Our guest today, Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of Cultivating Place (c) John Whittlesey

You can find and follow Jennifer Jewell and subscribe to her program Cultivating Place at or follow these links below:

Amy Beausir of Molly & Myrtle, on a floral life in Indiana

Our theme for 2019 – Fifty States of Slow Flowers – continues today, with Amy Beausir of Indiana-based Molly & Myrtle, an Indianapolis “urban flower farm”  & design studio filled with curated wedding supplies to help couples “go green.”

Amy Beausir (center) sharing her Indiana-grown and designed bouquet with of her many bridal clients

Amy started out about 8 yrs ago as a farmer’s market vendor selling cut flowers surrounded by garden foliage; now everything she grows supplies her weekly business. Establishing relationships with small & large business owners comes naturally to Amy, a former marketing director at the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. When she personally delivers weekly flowers it’s a weekly highlight to catch up with customers, including a 13-room boutique hotel, an all-organic restaurant, artisan icy pop shop, an international brand retail store, and a senior living facility. Molly & Myrtle’s bread & blooms so to speak are weddings, in addition to workshops, special events & philanthropy.

A local and seasonal bridal bouquet designed by Amy Beausir of Molly & Myrtle in Indiana.

Amy shared her “back story”:

“I was born in the small town of Cary, Illinois, and my childhood provided an idyllic environment for a kid and priceless experiences stored away have given me channels of  inspiration for a grown up designer. The glacial region supplied rich black dirt, and on our property, manure from a Hertz family Kentucky Derby winning race horse and then Curtiss Farms prize bulls made our family garden flourish.

“A special neighbor named Louise was a conservationist ahead of her time. Louise and a few helpers built a wildflower trail down the hill from us off Turkey Run Rd.  Louise carefully marked the solomon’s seal, trillium, trout lilies, and dozens of other specimens that lined the forested trail that finished at the beginning of a group of natural spring fed  trout ponds. I learned how to make watercress sandwiches & candied violets from foraging “small servings” from the woods & wildflower trail. 

“To this day I have a keen eye, hand, nose and ear for all the beauty of nature whether it be a veined leaf, bird or bloom. In our gardens I often say ‘hello gorgeous’ when I discover a spectacular flower or ‘good morning’ to a bird or bee that zooms out of a flower as I’m walking thru. In your Slow Flowers book you use the description of ‘natural form & character’  and ‘how a vase can be a little garden.’ What a great way of explaining what gardeners & flower farmers experience with our up close relationship with the myriad of things we cultivate, nurture and harvest.   One of my very first jobs as a teenager was working for Ellen at our town’s flower shop, Cary Floral Gardens.”

Favorite things in the gardens:  lavender, ferns and hosta

Favorite short season crop from outside Indiana:  mock orange and quince

Thank you so much for joining me today, and I’m so pleased to share the stories and voices of Jennifer Jewell and Amy Beausir — they’re both contributing exciting chapters to the Slow Flowers story and I hope you find and follow them!

Thank you so much for joining me on this Slow Flowers journey as I seek new and inspiring voices, people with passion, heart, commitment and expertise to share with you. I hope today’s episode gave you at least one inspiring insight or tip to apply to your floral enterprise. What you gain will be multiplied as you pay it forward  and help someone else.

The Slow Flowers Summit is coming up soon — on July 1 & 2nd in St. Paul, Minnesota. More than half of the registration slots have been grabbed, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to join with Slow Flowers thinkers and doers in person.

One of our past year’s speakers dubbed the Summit a “floral mind meld,” and I love that concept. Come and be a part of the incredible and uplifting experience! You can make your way to to learn all about the many opportunities to join us — from flower farm tours and dinner on a flower farm to business and branding presentations to interactive and inspiring design sessions . . . all designed to serve you! Subscribe to Summit news and updates at

Designed by Nancy Cameron of Destiny Hill Flower Farm.

Truly, we have a vital and vibrant community of flower farmers and floral designers who together define the Slow Flowers Movement. As our cause gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious.

I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.


Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. It’s the leading trade magazine in the floral industry and the only independent periodical for the retail, wholesale and supplier market. Take advantage of the special subscription offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.

The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, an employee-owned company that provides our industry the best flower, herb and vegetable seeds — supplied to farms large and small and even backyard cutting gardens like mine. Check them out at

Longfield Gardens provides home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at

You’re invited to be part of Longfield Gardens’ “Spring Flower Photo Contest,” now through May 24th. Share a photo of what’s blooming in your garden, post to Facebook or Instagram, and you might win a $50 dollar gift card from Longfield Gardens! Here are the details:

1. Take a photo of something that’s currently blooming in your garden. Show us one flower, 100 flowers or a bouquet — you decide.

2. Post your photo on Instagram and tag it with #LongfieldBlooms. On Facebook, leave it as a comment under our weekly post.

3. Include the flower type (and variety if you know it), the date the photo was taken and where you are located.

We will select and re-share one winning photo each week from now through May 24. Good Luck!

(c) Mary Grace Long photography

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 444,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much. Thank you all!

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast.
Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto iTunes and posting a listener review.

The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.

The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew Brenlan. Learn more about his work at

Music Credits:
Le Marais; Rue Severine; Betty Dear; Horizon Liner; Gaena; Perspirationby Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field
Music from:

One Response to “Episode 397: On Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden with Jennifer Jewell of Public Radio’s Cultivating Place, plus State Focus: Indiana”

  1. Debra Prinzing » Post » Episode 443: Women at Work: Making a Living While Following Your Plant Passion, with author Jennifer Jewell and three of the 75 women profiled in her new book, “The Earth in Her Hands” Says:

    […] Listen to Jennifer Jewell on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 397) April 2019 […]

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