A WAY TO GARDEN is the horticultural incarnation of Margaret Roach
A WAY TO GARDEN is the horticultural incarnation of Margaret Roach
Ken Druse Q and A February 24-A Way To Garden With Margaret Roach
Gardeners including myself want to add more, more, more native plants to their landscapes to support pollinators and birds and other native wildlife, but if our beds and borders are already established? Do we have to erase them and start over? Making room for habitat-style planting, even in an established garden that includes many “collector plants” from other parts of the world, is the topic with my friend, garden writer and photographer Ken Druse, along to help.
Figuring out which plants are native locally is one key first step, and included at the bottom of the transcript is a list of some places to start in that search (and how to find your state’s list, and then your county’s from there).
Speaking of native plants, we also tackled a listener question about pruning Magnolia grandiflora—the evergreen Southern magnolia. And on the subject of collector plants, Ken confesses to his latest acquisition—probably the most expensive single bulb he ever bought.
Rachel Hultengren on Seed Stories-A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – February 17, 2020
Seed Stories: Call me a seed nerd and I won’t mind because yes, I’m obsessed with where seed comes from and specifically how critical it is to support organic seed breeders and farmers with our seed-shopping dollars. I’m also drawn to the stories of particular seeds—and not just old varieties or heirlooms, but the stories of new varieties, too.
I recently spoke to Rachel Hultengren, an organic seed breeder who likes to trace stories of seed and the seed breeders behind it. When I was scouting topics for this winter’s Seed Series on the blog and podcast, I came across a trove of podcast interviews with organic seed breeders. It was hosted by Rachel, who in 2017 received her Master’s in plant breeding and genetics from Cornell, where she focused on bell peppers and winter squash and on establishing priorities for organic vegetable breeding in the Northeast. We talked together about why organic seed matters, and shared some of her favorite seed stories.
Stories like how seed breeders try to hurry up the process with biennials like carrots, that normally don’t set seed till their second year. About how a tasty, colorful range of dwarf tomatoes resulted from a giant online volunteer project mostly undertaken by amateur breeders. Or how seed breeders don’t just go for flavor or size or disease resistance–but also “domesticate” the plants for traits like easy harvest of the seed itself. (A story about when that backfires starts in the recording at about 13:37.)
Doug Tallamy on Nature’s Best Hope-A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – February 10, 2020
Doug Tallamy: “Nature’s Best Hope” is the title of University of Delaware professor Doug Tallamy’s new book, and the subtitle reads like this: “A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.” In other words, you and I are nature’s best hope. Our actions count, and they add up to counteract a fragmented landscape and other challenges to the survival of so many critically important native creatures and the greater environment we all share.
Doug Tallamy’s 2007 book, “Bringing Nature Home,” has been, for many of us, a wake-up call into the entire subject of the unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife, and now with more than a decade of additional research insights, he goes further in “Nature’s Best Hope.”
Joe Lamp’l on Seed Starting Tips-A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – February 3, 2020
Seed Starting: What really matters when we start seeds? What tweaks to our process or our gear can actually move the needle from so-so results or worse to closer to pro? My friend Joe Lamp’l wondered that, too, and undertook batch after batch of experiments to test a lot of the conventional wisdoms out there—many of which conflict with one another, by the way. And I couldn’t wait to hear what he learned that we can each put to use in our own pre-spring seed-starting adventures.
You probably know Joe Lamp’l as host of the popular PBS series “Growing a Greener World” and the Joe of joegardener.com website and podcast. And he’s also creator of OrganicGardeningAcademy.com, with a suite of online classes including one about to debut on seeds, which we’ll talk about, too.
We discussed which lights are best for seed starting, and how close to plants to hang them and for how long to have them on each day. We talked about watering tactics, too, and essential gear Joe relies on, and of course timing of when to start (not too early!).
Mobee Weinstein on Ferns-A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – January 27, 2020
Indoor Ferns: I don’t know about you, but I’m drawn to ferns, to their primitive flowerless beauty, their diversity of foliar textures and shades of greenness, to their range of sizes from tiny to towering. And I want to invite some to come live with me and my begonias and Clivias and other houseplants, but which ones will be the best match for our house, I wonder, maidenhair or staghorn or bird’s nest or …? I asked the author of “The Complete Book of Ferns,” a new book on ferns, both indoors and out.
Photo by Christina Bohn PhotographyMobee Weinstein
Mobee Weinstein is foreman of gardeners for outdoor gardens at New York Botanical Garden in New York City. She’s taught classes in indoor plants at the State University of New York and at New York Botanical Garden. And she is also the person who first introduced me to many of what have become my favorite houseplants, back when I was a beginning garden writer, and I’d visit her in the NYBG greenhouses while working on a story—some really special times.
We talked about which indoor ferns are easiest to grow, and got a list of Mobee’s favorites, plus some care tips for success.
Nate Kleinman, Vegetable Breeder-A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach – January 20, 2019
Perennial edibles: A lot of what I learned about gardening, I learned from seed catalogs, always gravitating to ones featuring the odder varieties the better—plants promising lots of both personality and productivity. So when I got introduced to the nonprofit cooperative called Experimental Farm Network recently, I felt right at home.
My annual Seed Series continues with this seed source that is all new to me, including many unusual varieties available nowhere else but Experimental Farm Network dot org, the nonprofit cooperative whose co-founder, Nate Kleinman, was my latest radio/podcast guest. We talked about the EFN mission and the fascinating assortment of goodies they offer, including a whole stash of perennial edibles in their 2020 online catalog.
A core belief at EFN: that agriculture can and should be used to help build a better world, not help destroy it. Co-founders Nate Kleinman (in New Jersey) and Dusty Hinz (in Minnesota) grow most of EFN’s seeds, and each year they’re adding more growers to their roster, including inspiring plant breeders who often work in relative obscurity. Nate helped shine a light for us on these players, and some old and new varieties, that I think you’ll be as excited about as I am.
Get the full, illustrated transcript of the show at this link.