48 episodes

The Horticulturati is a biweekly-ish gardening talkshow cohosted by Austin-based landscape designers Leah Churner and Colleen Dieter. Join us for gossip, gripes, and fun plant facts!

The Horticulturati The Horticulturati

    • Science
    • 4.7 • 22 Ratings

The Horticulturati is a biweekly-ish gardening talkshow cohosted by Austin-based landscape designers Leah Churner and Colleen Dieter. Join us for gossip, gripes, and fun plant facts!

    The Multilayered Magic of Sheet Mulching

    The Multilayered Magic of Sheet Mulching

    On this episode, we’re gettin’ down and dirty with sheet mulch. Sheet mulching is a no-till, no-dig gardening practice of removing unwanted vegetation and building fertile soil by layering organic matter and letting it compost in place. While the layers suppress weeds by blocking sunlight, subterranean soil biology goes to work to break down the layers into new soil. The beauty of this simple practice is that you can do it at any time of year with materials you have on hand (like cardboard, shredded paper, and leaves) or can source for free from local sources (arborist wood chips, coffee grounds, and spent mushroom substrate).
    We discuss the reasons for sheet mulching, when and how to do it, and what to use. Then we dive into the corrugated controversy around cardboard and ponder the role of science in gardening. 
    Mentioned in this episode:
    “Pocket Prairies with John Hart Asher” (Horticulturati podcast episode, 2022);
    JHA pocket prairies ep of Horticulturati; Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway (2001); “Fungal Vision with Daniel Reyes” (Hothouse podcast episode, 2018); Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets (2005); Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis (2006); “Mulches: The Good, The Bad, and the Really, Really Ugly” by Dr. Linda Chalker Scott (presentation to the Clackamas County Master Gardeners, 2019); “The Cardboard Controversy” by Chalker-Scott (Garden Professors blog, 2015); “Permaculture - More Concerns” by Chalker-Scott (Garden Professors blog, 2010).
    Join us on Patreon for bonus episodes!
    Email us info@horticulturati.com 

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Fruit Tree Care with Susan Poizner

    Fruit Tree Care with Susan Poizner

    "Fruit trees need hands-on care." That's the motto of our guest, Susan Poizner of OrchardPeople.com. Susan is an urban orchardist, teacher, journalist, and filmmaker. She is the author of Growing Urban Orchards (2014), cofounder of the Ben Nobelman Park Community Orchard in Toronto and the host of the Urban Forestry Radio podcast. She also teaches fruit tree classes on her website. Colleen was eager to interview Susan after taking her online courses. Susan gives us the basics on why fruit trees need human intervention to thrive; we also discuss urban orchards, heirloom species, food forests, and Susan's transition from journalism to horticulture. Then Colleen and Leah discuss the impact of Austin's recent ice storm on fruit trees.  
    Mentioned in this episode: 
    North American Scion Exchange (Facebook group).
    Join our Patreon for early access to episodes and bonus content! Email us at info@horticulturati.com or call the Horticulturati Hotline at 347-WAP-HORT.  









    • 1 hr 8 min
    The Art of Graphics with Lisa Nunamaker and Amy Fedele

    The Art of Graphics with Lisa Nunamaker and Amy Fedele

    In this roundtable, we talk about drafting and drawing with Lisa Nunamaker, of Paper Garden Workshop, and Amy Fedele, of Pretty Purple Door, two fabulous garden educators who offer online courses in landscape graphics. Leah took courses from both instructors this year -- Lisa's Garden Graphics Toolkit and Amy's Great at Procreate. 
    We discuss why the fundamentals of hand-drafting remain so valuable to the design process; the role of digital design programs like AutoCAD; and how tablet apps provide a new, hybrid avenue of digital hand-drafting. 
    Then we turn to to the subject of emotional baggage: Why is drawing so scary for so many adults? How can we gain confidence as creatives and develop our own unique visual style? 
    Mentioned in this episode: the tablet apps (Procreate, Adobe Fresco, Morpholio Trace, Concepts); The Creative Habit by Twila Tharp (2006).
    Contact us! info@horticulturati.com 
    Join our Patreon for early access to shows and bonus episodes! 

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Thorny Common Names

    Thorny Common Names

    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but some of the common names we use for plants downright stink! In this episode, we're diving into problematic colloquial names. Some common names are geographically misleading (“Jerusalem artichoke”); others are xenophobic, racist, or antisemitic ("wandering Jew"); while still others are an unfortunate combination of both (“Turk’s cap”). 
    While it's probably too much to expect everyone to start using Latin names for plants, we can adapt new common names that are more culturally sensitive and accurate. Like the plants themselves, common names are organic, living things that need to evolve over time. 
    First up, some armadillo drama and an update on Colleen's super-low-maintenance front yard renovation inspired by the writing of Roy Diblik (here's our original episode about that.)
    Great at Procreate, an online digital drawing course from instructor Amy Fedele; "Problematic Common Names" (House Plant Hobbyist, 2021); How Plants Get Their Names by L.H. Bailey (Macmillian, 1933); Native Flora of Texas by the Texas Highway Department (undated, ca. 1960); The Better Common Names Project of the Entomological Society of America; and Potentially Problematic Common Names, a study by the American Public Gardens Association (2021). 
    Like the show? Please support us on Patreon! 
    Email us at info@horticulturati.com or leave us a message on the Hotline at 347-WAP-HORT.

    • 56 min
    Seed Swap!

    Seed Swap!

    Attention plant lovers! Central Texas Seed Savers is hosting a Seed Swap at the Austin Central Library (710 W. Cesar Chavez St) on Saturday, October 29 from 11-1pm. This event is free and open to the public.  Bring seeds to share! Or just come get some seeds! For more info, visit https://www.centexseedsavers.org and https://library.austintexas.libguides.com/seedsandsustainability

    • 2 min
    A Humble History of the Flowerpot

    A Humble History of the Flowerpot

    In this episode, Colleen unearths as much as she can about the largely unwritten history of plant pots. When did humans start growing plants in containers? How did innovations in materials and technology lead to the domestication of plants, plant collecting, and the growth of the nursery industry? Why are plant pots so overlooked as a facet of industrial design? (We can rattle off several iconic chair designs, but flowerpots? Not so much.) Why don’t the standardized names of nursery pot sizes correspond to their actual volume in the US?  
    We have more questions than answers, folks. 
    First up, Leah is practicing her drawings. And we need an alternative name for the tricky season that comes between summer and fall in Texas. 
    Join our Patreon for bonus episodes and more! Email us at info@horticulturati.com or call the Hotline to leave a voicemail at 347-WAP-Hort. 
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Rain lilies (Cooperia drummondii); Paper Garden Workshop; “Elevation to Plan” technique; Plan to Elevation (Leah’s sketch); The Artist’s Way (1992) by Julia Cameron; Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (1979) by Betty Edwards; Willy Guhl designs on Artnet; a bio of Guhl; history of flowerpots from the Salem Maritime National Historic Site; “Plastic Pots and the Nursery Industry: Production, Use, Disposal, and Environmental Impacts” (2020) by the APLD; Eric Soderholtz.

    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

lego512 ,

My Gardening BFFs

I always learn so much from, laugh with, and relate to Colleen and Leah. Best Texas gardening podcast!

Misti L. ,

Lots of Great Info!

I love listening to these two and they have a lot of pertinent hort (and pop culture) advice for Texans and gardeners in general!

STL in ATX ,


Colleen helped with our yard layout and love hearing her knowledge on plants!

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