Gardens are more than collections of plants. Gardens and Gardeners are intersectional spaces and agents for positive change in our world. Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden, a weekly public radio program & podcast is a voice for, with, and about gardeners and nature lovers of all manner around the globe, exploring how and why we garden - what we mean when we garden.
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. Take a listen.
A co-production of North State Public Radio (KCHO 91.7 FM in Chico, CA and KFPR 88.9 FM in Redding, CA) and Jewellgarden.com, Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden airs Thursdays at 10:00 AM, and Sundays at 9 AM. The program is engineered by Matt Fidler, and with original theme music by Ma Muse, accompanied by Joe Craven and Sam Bevan.
Produced from a physical base on traditional lands of the Mechoopda Maidu Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria, Cultivating Place builds on and deepens the conversations begun in 8 years of creating, writing and hosting the regionally focused In a North State Garden: Celebrating the Art, Craft and Science of Gardening in Northern California, which aired on North State Public Radio from January of 2008 - January of 2016.
Cultivating Place is my heart, but there's very little in life we do all by ourselves without the input, support, and creativity of many other people - I am thankful for them all:
- NSPR believed in my vision for a program speaking with and about gardening and gardens all those years ago - 2007 - and I could never have created CP without their co-production, skills, space, knowledge, and help.
- CP Producer and Engineer Matt Fidler, brings CP to life every week - and makes it sound so much sweeter. With over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs, Matt has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.
- CP Producer and Development Director Sarah Bohannon helps brings CP to the world every day - and makes our prospects of growth so much brighter. Sarah is an award-winning reporter, producer and editor. She produced CP for North State Public Radio for 3 years, and now serves as Producer and Development Director. She has studied at CSU, Chico and UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
- Original artwork for the logo, website and business cards was commissioned from Chico, CA based artist Candy Matthews. She is a shero for sure.
- Original CP music was commissioned from the sublime duo MaMuse, accompanied by Joe Craven and Sam Bevan.
- Graphic design on other art and media pieces by Amy Gomersall of Chico, CA based Art in Motion Design Studio. Email on request.
- Website design and support is by Alissa Hessler, of Hessler Creative
- PR and marketing support from Experience Curation Consulting
I'm Jennifer - the creator, writer and host of Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden, airing on North State Public Radio (KCHO/KFPR, mynspr.org) every Thursday at 10 am. The podcast goes live at the same time each week and is distributed nationally by PRX, Public Radio Exchange.
Cultivating Place and I were winners of the 2017 Gold Award for Best Overall Broadcast Media, and Best On-Air Talent from the Garden Writers of America (now GardenComm), and the 2018 Best On-Air Talent from the same. Cultivating Place is syndicated on NPR affiliate stations in California and Ohio; the podcast is downloaded around the world more than 1 million times annually.
I am the author of The Earth in Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants (Timber Press in 2020), winner of The Council on Botanical & Horticultural Libraries 2021 Award of Excellence in Biography, and co-creator with photographer Caitlin Atkinson of Under Western Skies, Visionary Gardens from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast (Timber Press, May 2021), and Amazon best-seller. In late 2023, my third book, What We Sow: On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds, will also be published by Timber Press.
In 2023, the American Horticultural Society honored me with one of their annual "Great American Gardener Awards"—the B. Y Morrison Award for outstanding “effective and inspirational” horticultural communication. I’m humbled to join the ranks of the likes of J.C. Raulston, Kathleen Brenzel, Rosalind Creasy, Tom Fischer, Doug Tallamy, and Perla Sofia Curbelo-Santiago in receiving this award.
As an interviewer, a writer, and a regular keynote speaker at national gardening conferences and events, my greatest passion is elevating the way we think and talk about the culture of gardening, the empowerment of gardeners, and the possibility inherent in the intersection between places, environments, cultures, individuals, and the gardens that bring them together beautifully – for the better of all the lives on this generous planet.
I learned to how and why to garden, and the spiritual philosophy of compost from my mother, Sheila Balding Jewell - who died in 1997. I learned to love the great outdoors and the diversity and interconnectedness of all life from my wildlife biologist father, Samuel Rea Jewell. I learned to marry these two critical elements of my formative years through my life thus far - traveling the world, reading, gardening and hiking wherever I was, and reaching out to and being inspired by the generous, smart, plant and garden people in every place I've called home. I learned some good stuff in college, too (I received my bachelor of liberal arts degree from Harvard University). After college, I went to work as an arts and literature editor and writer in Seattle, WA for Microsoft's Encarta encyclopedia; I tried unsuccessfully to convince them to add in-depth articles for every major garden around the world. So, I turned my focus to writing, speaking, and advocating for the importance of gardens/gardening/gardeners in our world.
My writing and photography have been featured in publications including Gardens Illustrated, House & Garden, and Pacific Horticulture. From 2008 - 2016 I created, wrote and hosted the weekly, regionally-focused In a North State Garden on North State Public Radio. From 2010 -2017 I worked as the curatorial assistant to the director and the curator of the native plant garden at Gateway Science Museum on the campus of CSU, Chico in Chico, CA, which was a delight.
I believe in the power of mission-driven, non-profits, and I have happily served on the board of the Pacific Horticulture Society and am a long-time member of other national and regional gardening organizations, in the California Native Plant Society, American Horticultural Society, and Garden Communicators International.
I enjoy the dry summers, cool (with luck) damp winters and enormous diversity of native plants in interior Northern California with my partner, plantsman John Whittlesey. I have two smart, funny, lovely and lively daughters who remind me that it's time to come in from the garden for dinner and bed. They've been cutting flowers, helping with compost, and tending to creatures in gardens since before they could walk and they still seem to love the power of mother nature, the garden, and me. So that's good.
I consider myself supremely lucky to do what I do, in the company of the plants and plants people.
The word garden does not mean just one thing – and there's not one way or right way to get to what they are and how they’re best achieved. Gardens are both more and less obvious versions of our selves, our fingerprints, our signatures, our reflections, our legacies– as individuals and as cultures.
Jewellgarden is the canopy name under which you will find the various botanically-minded creative pursuits of me, Jennifer Jewell. I love gardens, I love nature, I love gardeners and nature lovers. As a corps of passionate, caring and connected people, I think we make a difference for the better in this world. We make a difference to our own mindsets, to our families, to our communities, economies and the environment - all of which need us to show up as our best selves every day. Gardens, gardening and gardeners matter.
Founded in 2007, Jewellgarden's mission is to explore and celebrate a deeper connection to the world around us through the cultivation of our gardens.
I raise my daughters, work in my own little suburban garden with natives and non-invasive non-natives, visiting weeds and lots of birds and bugs and gophers. I write, photograph, create and co-create natural history exhibits about plants and people.
But mostly I work my heart out at my weekly public radio program and podcast: Cultivating Place, on which I have the great pleasure and privilege of speaking with fascinating people involved in the science, art, craft, and culture of plant, garden, and natural history love. My guests and my listeners expand my own understanding of the world every single week.
Everything I do is founded on these beliefs:
Gardens are some perfect combination of history, culture and nature, of meditation, celebration and prayer. They are produce and they are poetry. Gardens are refuge from the world and, in my life, gardens are among my deepest, best connections to the world.
Sourced in and contributing to our evolving natural history, gardens hold vast potential. The impulse to cultivate the land for beauty and utility is timeless – the Ancient Egyptians cultivated their places, early Native Americans cultivated theirs, we – whoever we may be - cultivate ours. This primal impulse transcends gender, age, politics, socioeconomics and religion. I am a firm believer that in this impulse to cultivate and garden in the places we live, we find meaning. In this cultivation of place, we can possibly find solutions we have found nowhere else to the problems of the world, which we find everywhere.
Join me in this on-going conversation and let it make a difference to your gardening practice and life, too.
The Cultivating Place Garden-Variety World View:
Gardening at its best is a long-term, committed, and loving relationship between all living beings great and small (animal, vegetable, mineral - seen and unseen) and our places.
Its first principles include: do no harm and honor all the diverse parts and players in this dynamic, interdependent process -
a process that calls on all our powers of hand, mind, and heart.
To be a Gardener is beautiful, but not always pretty.
To be a Gardener is profoundly satisfying, but it is neither easy nor perfectable.
It is muddy, scratchy, fragrant, flavorful, fun, heartbreaking, and heart-fueling.
To be a Gardener asks us to embrace our smallness and to live more lightly, and yet expands us daily and beyond measure.
A Garden/Gardener relationship is symbiotic - to be practiced and shared with respect, humility, and pride.
A Garden/Gardener relationship is a full-contact, wholehearted, co-evolving, true love.
Our Garden/Gardener relationships, which connect us so deeply to the nature of this world, hold the potential to change everything for the better -
ourselves as citizens of this generous planet, our families and what they hold to be true and valuable,
our larger human communities - their very social fabric and cultural, environmental, political, and economic priorities,
the health and well-being of our surrounding places full of more-than-human air, water, soil, animal and plant-life-all that bridges us here to us over there… and over there…and down there, out there, and up there.
We are all in this together and Gardens and Gardeners make a difference.
- February 2019
Q: ARE YOU AVAILABLE FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS?
Please see Events Page for more information on current and future events. If you believe your organization’s work and or the mission of the event is a good fit for our work and philosophy, please submit an inquiry with all relevant information and available speaking fee and travel budget.
While I am happy to speak with you about customized presentations or workshops, I have a variety of existing talks/interactive workshops based on the interest and needs of previous groups, they range from 30 - 90 minutes in length:
CULTIVATING PLACE: Gardens/Gardeners as Intersectional Agents of Change
WOMEN IN HORTICULTURE Changing the World (including you in your garden)
DECOLONIZE Y(OUR) GARDENS
PUBLIC GARDENS and the Power to Lead Change
THE EARTH IN HER (OUR) HANDS - 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants
VISIONARY GARDENS/GARDENERS of PLACE - Starting in the West
SEEDS: Nature's Ancient/Artful Growing of the World
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR RATES AND AVAILABILITY FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, SPONSORED POSTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA?
To inquire about rates and availability contact us here and let us know the scope of work you're looking for as well as your timeline and budget where applicable.
Q: CAN WE CONTRIBUTE GUEST CONTENT TO YOU BLOG?
Currently we only publish original content and as such do not accept unsolicited guest submissions.
Q: CAN WE BUY BANNER AD SPACE ON JEWELLGARDEN.COM OR CULTIVATINGPLACE.COM?
We don't currently run ads on Jewellgarden or Cultivating Place. We do, however, create custom campaigns and sponsored posts for a select few products and brands that are a good fit. Please contact us to inquire about sponsorships.
Q: CAN WE SEND YOUR OUR PRODUCT IN EXCHANGE FOR A REVIEW ON YOUR WEBSITE?
We don't do posts or reviews in exchange for product. If you truly think your product would be an ideal fit for our listeners and readers & with the Cultivating Place brand, feel free to submit it with photos attached or linked to.
Q: CAN I USE YOUR PHOTO AND POSTS?
We ask that you not republish our photos or posts, but you may use 1-2 photos and link back to Cultivating Place with credit in the copy if you are a non-profit or another garden writer. If you are a for profit business or company, please inquire about rates before using any of our photographs.