Debra Prinzing

Get the Email Newsletter!

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”

March 4th, 2020

From left: Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall, moderator Jennifer Jewell and Debra Prinzing at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Jennifer Jewell—Creator and host of the public radio program (and podcast) Cultivating Place, is a past guest of this podcast.

Now, she is also an author and is on tour to promote her book, The Earth in Her Hands, which has the subtitle: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants.

This past week, Jennifer was in Seattle to speak at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival and, among other appearances, she led a panel discussion that we recorded for today’s episode.

Hot off the Press: Jennifer Jewell’s new book, “The Earth in Her Hands”

In writing The Earth in Her Hands, Jennifer learned how the women profiled creatively navigated the challenging ideal of work-life balance. The main lesson? Balance is not a destination but an ongoing and highly dynamic process.

NWFGF Panel, from left: Lorene Edwards Forkner, Christin Geall, Jennifer Jewell and Debra Prinzing

In the panel, of which I was a part, Jennifer focused our conversation on many common challenges, coping mechanisms, and solutions that follow women through their careers in the plant world.

Along with me, the panel included two other past guests of this podcast, so the voices and personalities may be familiar to you. You’ll also hear designer and author Christin Geall, of Cultivated (who I invited on the podcast just a few weeks ago), and Lorene Edwards Forkner, author, artist, and Seattle Times garden columnist, and creator of the #seeingcolorinthegardenproject.

These women graciously agreed to this recording and I’ll just jump right in and let you listen as if you were in the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival audience last week.

Jennifer Jewell, creator and host of “Cultivating Place: Conversations on the Natural World and the Human Impulse to Garden”

Jennifer Jewell is 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.

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

Cultivating Place on Facebook

Cultivating Place on Instagram

Christin Geall of Cultivated by Christin, designing with a no-foam method

Christin Geall lives on Vancouver Island, along the western edge of Canada. She is a gardener, designer, writer and teacher who grows flowers and shares her designs through Cultivated by Christin, a creative studio launched in 2015.

Christin’s eclectic background includes pursuits that are equal parts physical and intellectual. She apprenticed on a Martha’s Vineyard herb farm, interned at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and homesteaded on a remote island in British Columbia. Academic studies in ethnobotany, environmental science and a creative writing MFA led to editorships, university-level teaching and a regular gardening column for local newspapers.

Today, Christin’s artistic focus centers around her urban flower farm-design studio in USDA Zone 8, the tiny hub of a multifaceted floral business.

Listen to Christin Geall on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 440) February 2020

Cultivated on Facebook

Cultivated on Instagram

Lorene Edwards Forkner (c) Missy Palacol Photography

Lorene Edwards Forkner is a columnist for the Seattle Times weekly gardening column called GROW. She is author of five garden books, including The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening: Pacific Northwest, and Handmade Garden Projects, bestselling titles from Timber Press.

Lorene owned a popular and beloved boutique specialty nursery in Seattle for more than a decade, called Fremont Gardens; she has served on the boards of a number of horticultural organizations, has edited a horticulture journal and is the designer of two gold medal display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival.

Most recently, Lorene’s creative life can be found on Instagram, where @gardenercook she shares a series called “Seeing Color in the Garden.” She started this project on April 3, 2018 as part of #the100dayproject as #100DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden. She continued her series with #Another100 DaysofSeeingColorintheGarden.

Listen to Lorene Edwards Forkner on the Slow Flowers Podcast (Episode 409) July 2019

LEF on Facebook

LEF on Instagram

Thank you so much for joining today’s episode featuring Jennifer Jewell and two women, who along with me are featured in The Earth in Her Hands, Christin Geall and Lorene Edwards-Forkner.

As a special bonus, we’re giving away a copy of The Earth in Her Hands, courtesy of Timber Press, Jennifer’s publisher.

To enter, please leave a comment below about an Extraordinary Woman who influenced your personal relationship with plants. We’ll draw one recipient from among the posted comments on Sunday, March 8th and announce the winner in our March 11th episode. Please note: this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian entrants.

Clockwise from top, left: Susan Mcleary, Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Molly Culver, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Jennifer Jewell, Pilar Zuniga and Emily Saeger

If you liked the subject of this episode, you’re invited to dig deeper with two of the panelists  because they are coming to the Slow Flowers Summit in the SF Bay Area at Filoli- the historic garden and home that is hosting us on June 28-29th. Jennifer Jewell will be our Slow Flowers Summit capstone speaker – and she will speak more expansively on women’s role in shaping our plant world and beyond, as well as sign copies of her new book. Lorene Edwards Forkner will also be one of our Slow Flowers Summit presenters and I’m so excited for you to experience seeing color in the garden through her eyes as you develop your own sensibility and observational skills, learning from color in the garden — from the landscape to the centerpiece.

It will be a special experience and I can’t wait for you to join us!

The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 583,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.

As our movement 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.

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. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at

Mayesh Wholesale Florist. Family-owned since 1978, Mayesh is the premier wedding and event supplier in the U.S. and we’re thrilled to partner with Mayesh to promote local and domestic flowers, which they source from farms large and small around the U.S. Learn more at

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

I am in love with my greenhouse, designed and built sustainably by Oregon-based NW Green Panels (c) Missy Palacol Photography

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:

Gaena; Glass Beads by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field; Paper Wings
Music from:

6 Responses to “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””

  1. Kris Vasser Says:

    It started with daffodil bulbs when I was pregnant 50 years ago. Every spring the bulbs continue to bloom. My repertoire has expanded beyond yellow to blue, white and red anemones, multicolored freesias, exotic hellebores, flowering quince…yes, spring is my season while seeds of cosmos, marigolds, zinnias, salpigloss are germinating. To every season there is a reward.

  2. Barbara Sphar Says:

    Does fiction count? There was never a garden or gardener in my childhood but Mary Lennox and her own awakening in The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, lit a bit of a flame in my 8 year old self.

    Crawling around in our neighboring woods, I pulled away leaves and weeds and discovered so much. This led to commandeering a tiny corner in our basement with an old desk where seeds were dissected or planted. While working as a nurse all these years, I went to community college for horticulture and continue courses in landscape design and sustainability at Phipps Conservatory here in Pittsburgh.

    As I write, I am a newly retired nurse, have well over 500 seeds, roots and bulbs started and fledging a container/patio/small garden design business. I can’t wait to read The Earth In Her Hands!

  3. Whitney Says:

    Loved hearing this open discussion by four people I follow on social media and two podcasts I listen to each week. Thank you for talking about important topics. It sounds cliche but my grandmother is who influenced my work with flowers. She had a beautiful garden and I loved watching her cut flowers for the altar arrangement at her church each week. Now I do the same.

  4. Andreea Says:

    Hello, I would like to say thank you for sharing this podcast it was the only day I really wanted to attend the show for this exact experience but unfortunately I could only be there on Friday. So a huge thank you!

    Thank you also for giving me a chance to reflect back on who has influenced my love and obsessions with flowers, it was my grandmother who has recently passed and my mother. They’ve surrounded me with flowers, literraly, since I was baby there were vases upon vases of flowers around the house and in my baby photos, I always brought flowers to my grandmother everytime I visited whether it was from the ‘bush’ or the hundred of flower stands that adorned the city boulevards back then. At the age of 2 I chose flowers for my grandmother over a juice box the treat of choice at the time. Shortly after I was able to identify all the flowers and plants surrounding me and to this day I still have a mental map of where they were located.

    I’ve had the same twisted path all of your shared and it is so reassuring to find I am not the only one, I loved art and design and I thought I should be an architect obviously, I assumed the love of plants and flowers is just human nature we all have it, never seen it as a possible career path until I thought I found the perfect marriage just in time so I pursued a career in landscape architecture and a myriad other avenues but I have yet to find my comfort zone, I do feel it’s closing in though.. So after all these years I may find myself growing flowers and becoming a florist, living the simple blissfull life I had invisioned all those years ago as a toddler. Thank you for all you do and being so inspiring.

  5. Kathleen Says:

    I loved this episode so much! My mother opened a roadside flower stand 60 years ago were she sold the bounty from her garden. My love of flowers began at a very early age she let me have my own garden and packets of seeds to grow back then a very limited amount of cut flowers. Maybe that’s why I’m crazy obsessed with all the varieties we have today.

  6. Episode 486: Slow Flowers' 2020 Year in Review - Debra Prinzing Says:

    […] of 75 extraordinary women working in the world of plants, as one of those profiled (PS you can hear that full conversation moderated by Jennifer on Episode […]

Leave a Reply