Debra Prinzing

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Episode 504 A Conversation with Jennifer Jewell, host of public radio’s Cultivating Place and capstone presenter at the 2021 Slow Flowers Summit

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Jennifer Jewell, author, radio host and garden advocate

I’m delighted to welcome back return guest Jennifer Jewell to the Slow Flowers Podcast for our lovely, wide-ranging conversation about what defines a garden, where those gardens are, who are the gardeners who tend to them and how we are both emerging from 2020 with a much clearer understanding of the roles women play in making the earth a better, safer, more inclusive and accessible place for all.

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

Here’s a bit more about Jennifer:
She is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. She is the host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden.

Jennifer is particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture. Her work has appeared in Gardens Illustrated and House & Garden, among others. She formerly served as the native plant garden curator for the Gateway Science Museum at California State University at Chico.

Her book, The Earth in Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants was published in 2020.

A selection of my favorites from Jennifer’s newest book, Under Western Skies:

From Under Western Skies, “Silicon Valley and Nature Renurtured,” featuring the gardens of Ronald Koo and Miwa Hayash’s Los Altos garden, designed by Leslie Bennett of Pine House Edible Gardens (c) Caitlin Atkinson
“Boise Valley,” the garden of Mary Ann and Delos Newcomer (c) Caitlin Atkinson
“Palouse Garden,” designed by Suzanne St. Pierre and Scotty Thompson (c) Caitlin Atkinson

Jennifer’s newest book (produced with photographer Caitlin Atkinson) is Under Western Skies: Visionary Gardens from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast, available from Timber Press next week.

Subscribe to Cultivating Place here

Find and follow Jennifer Jewell at these social places:

Cultivating Place on Facebook and Instagram

Listen to our past episodes featuring Jennifer Jewell:

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

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”

Our fabulous speaker lineup includes (top row), Susan McLeary, Emily Saeger, Molly Culver; (middle row), Kellee Matsushita-Tseng, Lorene Edwards Forkner, Max Gill; (bottom row), Abra Lee, Pilar Zuniga, Jennifer Jewell + our host, Slow Flowers Society’s Debra Prinzing

And there is still time to register for the Slow Flowers Summit to join me, Jennifer Jewell, and a fabulous lineup of designers, floral artists, sustainable growers, writers, thinkers and doers, and kindred spirits in the progressive floral community. The Summit takes place June 28-30 in the SF Bay Area and we will have an all-open-air conference with covid-compliant precautions in place. Hope to see you there!

The May Slow Flowers Newsletter just dropped this week and if you haven’t found it in your in-box, here is the link. Two highlights include a link to our full report on the Cut Flower questions that Slow Flowers underwrote as part of the 2021 National Gardening Survey — as you may recall, we featured this study recently in Episode 502.

Grower Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies  and designer Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral 

And you can find a preview and more details about our MAY Slow Flowers Member “Virtual” Meet-Up — Meet two Slow Flowers members from Alaska’s peony country! Grower Beth Van Sandt of Scenic Place Peonies  and designer Brandon Scott McLean of East Hill Floral will share their knowledge and talents — and introduce us to the upcoming Alaska peony season. Beth and Brandon will come to us LIVE from the greenhouse at East Hill Floral. Learn about the selection, cultivation and post-harvest “best practices” for peonies from Beth. Watch an inspired floral design demonstration from Brandon!

*New date (this month only) Friday, May 21st – 9 am Pacific/Noon Eastern

Thank you to our Sponsors!

This podcast is brought to you by, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

Farmgirl Flowers Banner

And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to 240 team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at

For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors.

Rooted Farmers. Rooted Farmers works exclusively with local growers to put the highest-quality specialty cut flowers in floral customers’ hands. When you partner with Rooted Farmers, you are investing in your community, and you can expect a commitment to excellence in return. 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

The Gardener’s Workshop, which offers a full curriculum of online education for flower farmers and farmer-florists. Online education is more important this year than ever, and you’ll want to check out the course offerings at

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 722,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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:

Dance of Felt; Skyway; Turning on the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

Lovely by Tryad

In The Field

The prettiest outhouse-turned-stylish shed I’ve ever seen

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The Cozy Shack, Designed by Scotty Thompson and Suzanne St. Pierre of "Living in the Garden," a cool Pullman (Wash.) garden emporium

The Cozy Shack, Designed by Scotty Thompson and Suzanne St. Pierre of "Living in the Garden," a cool Pullman (Wash.) garden emporium

I love it when I receive surprise “Shed-Mail” from Shedistas like Suzanne St. Pierre. Suzanne and her husband Scotty Thompson own Living in the Garden, a cool nursery/emporium in Pullman, Washington. We’ve swapped a few emails, originally prompted by Suzanne’s note saying she loves Stylish Sheds as much as I do.

Recently, while planning their own version of a spring flower show, Suzanne and Scotty recycled an old cedar outhouse from their 2-acre property and tricked it out to be a too-cute cottage for their nursery. She sent me a sweet note and some photos and gave me permission to share them with you.

Hello, inspired by your Stylish Shed book, my husband and I jazzed up an old outhouse we had on the property (to use) for a focal point in our Sweet on Spring event at Living in the Garden. It was a hit!! I wanted to thank you for the inspiration and tell you that I enjoy your blog.

I just caught up with Suzanne by phone and we had a good ol’ gab. It felt like I was talking with a long-lost friend. She described how this little structure found its way from humble to haute:

Originally, the cedar “box” was an outhouse over a pit toilet. The couple actually used it while living in their tiny “sugar shack” when they moved to the two-acre property about six years ago. After they built their residence and started running the nursery, they had a “real” indoor bathroom, so the 3-by-3 foot outhouse was no longer needed. “We filled in the pit and just moved the building around,” she says.

With shingles made from flattened tin can lids and hot pink trim, this is an outrageous outhouse!

With shingles made from flattened tin can lids and hot pink trim, this is an outrageous outhouse!

When preparing for Living in the Garden’s “Sweet on Spring” event last month, they decided to create several indoor garden displays (it’s still pretty chilly out there on the Palouse in March). As Suzanne explains, “We wanted to create our homage to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.”

Once she and Scotty decided to dress up the rustic outhouse, the creativity exploded. Suzanne told Scotty: “We have to use everything we already have on hand.”

Like most artist-builders (Scotty is “incredibly handy and artistic”), the couple has all sorts of project piles and cool materials had saved for future endeavors. Clearly, they love to re-purpose what others might toss into the landfill.

This detailed photo illustrates how they used flattened tin cans, layered like gingerbread shingles, to clad the upper portion of the structure. Scotty added a window and the arched doorway, plus the cool corbel-style brackets and scallop-trim fascia board around the shed roof.  It even has a skylight! I’m dying to see an indoor shot (maybe Suzanne will send it to add here!) because apparently she decoupaged the interior walls with pages from old gardening books someone had given them. I guess Suzanne broke her own rule about using on-hand materials when it came to paint. She confesses that she did actually buy the hot pink paint as a finishing detail. Fancy!

Cute Outhouse (left) outside the gorgeous conservatory, built by Scotty Thompson of Living in the Garden

Cute Outhouse (left) outside the gorgeous conservatory, built by Scotty Thompson of Living in the Garden

I love this couple’s philosophy of truly LIVING IN THE GARDEN. Suzanne grew up in a family nursery and purchased and ran her parents’ former nursery for 12 years after graduating from college with a horticulture degree.

“But I burned out. I was never getting my hands dirty,” she confides. Several years (and a career in the wholesale plant trade) later, Suzanne realized how much she missed retail. “I just wrote on a piece of paper what the perfect job would be: Work from home. Work with Scotty. Work 4 months of the year for 4 days a week.”

Wow. How seldom do any of us have such an honest conversation with ourselves? Guess what? For the past six years, Suzanne and Scotty have been doing exactly what she wrote down on that page. “My commute to work is just 113 steps,” she jokes. “We’re working on our farm and making people come to us. It’s really wonderful.”

Living in the Garden's green roof

Living in the Garden's green roof

Living in the Garden is open from March through June (Thursdays through Sundays). Earlier in the season, beginning in February, Suzanne starts work in their production greenhouse, growing geraniums and plants for their own hanging baskets. By summer, the couple is off on trips in their camping van (complete with solar panels on the roof!) and touring around the Northwest and beyond to see other nurseries and commercial greenhouses.

They believe in “marketing with a cause,” so during the summer months Suzanne and Scotty encourage local charities to use their extensive and beautiful display gardens for fund-raisers or donor-appreciation events.

By September, just about the time Suzanne is “missing” her customers, Living in the Garden opens for one spectacular autumn weekend.

When you arrive, don’t be surprised to hear the mellow sounds of Gregorian chants drifting through the garden and conservatory. “Gardening is my religion,” Suzanne concludes.

Check out the nursery in person or read more at Suzanne’s blog, Living in the Gardens.