A VIEW FROM HERE, SEPTEMBER: CONVERSATIONAL PROXIMITY
Late summer bronzed, heart shaped leaves of native Red Bud decoratively perforated by industrious leaf cutter bees. Butte County, CA
September: bronzed native red bud, the leaf cutter bees and me all at life/play together over time and space. In the garden...the flora and (we) fauna are at best always in creative, “conversational proximity” to one another, aren't we? I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Matthew Benson of Stonegate Farm in New York state about his farm garden (listen for an upcoming episode with him about this labor of love) and he used this phrase: conversational proximity in regard to the buildings on his 1860s farm when he first encountered it... “the barn and ice house and farmhouse were in conversational proximity to one another.” ... The phrase struck me as a poetic distillation of something essential in relationships - that distance we keep - and maintain - between ourselves and others: people, places, our beloved flora and fauna planetmates.
The phrase captured my imagination and in turning it over and over it reminds me to “mind the gap” between what I want to be and what my daily life lets me overlook. It reminds me to stay close and attentive to the people, places, and plants I love - not so close as to intrude/overwhelm/trample, but close enough to hear and hold everyday, meaningful - real - conversations.
August Praying Mantis, Butte County, CA
It's September and after a month of stepping back, Cultivating Place is back to all new episodes weekly. But I will admit, re-listening and re-considering the five episodes we revisited in August really illuminated for me the depth and scope of the people we've spoken with - the plants and gardens and landscapes and pure purpose we've set our attention to in the past. It was a joy to listen for how each topic and guest resonated now for me - sometimes in deeper or different ways than when they first aired. The episode with Leslie Bennett and how it taps into the profoundly needed connection between social justice, environmental justice and our daily attentions to our gardens certainly resonated even more deeply now.
Sarah and I are refueled and excited for the upcoming fall season. And if we have not told you recently how much we appreciate knowing you’re out there listening and often touching base with us through comments, emails, Instagram and Facebook - we do. Hello to you all and thank you for listening – and interacting with us – me and Sarah over here.
It's something of a conceit, of course, me speaking into a microphone - Sarah in the soundbooth on the other side of the glass from me - directly addressing you. But I really am. So thank you, because when you post things that refer to the time and space delay conversation or when you write or comment to Cultivation Place, me and Sarah, I know you're listening. And that this cultivation of place means something to you, too.
Three trees, two hills, one sun. Late day August, summer pale grasslands of California.
In our down time – our thinking and germinating time this past month, Sarah and I and some fantastic guests have worked on a couple of series for September and October.
For September we are all about seeds - seedy ways and seedy wonders and seedy songs and stories. We will speak to seed savers, seed growers and organizers of national seed swap and celebration festivals, including the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa and the Heritage Harvest Festival in Virginia. We talk about seed sovereignty, the sacredness of seed and memories of your first seeds. (What was your first seed?...) As you gear up for fall planning and planting, and winter dreaming, 'm really hoping you enjoy this 4 part series.
In October, we touch on the beauty - transcendent in some ways - of the art that is the garden - and that the plant world often inspires. This month, we enjoy a garden-style Artober when we speak with fine, visual and sculptural artists on their art, their processes and their purpose.
These are the first series we've curated in our three years in production and I will be REALLY interested in your feedback – what do you think about a series? Good? Bad? Indifferent? I'm enjoying the focus on one aspect of a thing for a bit, but what do you think? And are there other series you'd be interested in hearing (a gardener- cook series?)
If you register a response while listening these next two months, please send it along – I’d love to hear - send us email the regular way (cultivatingplace (at) gmail (dot) com, or post a message on the website, or post a comment on Facebook or Instagram.
And thank you in advance!
Oh - and on a slightly different note – do you garden in the US West? You may have heard me speak about Pacific Horticulture Society, a 501c3 society of People Connecting to the Power of Gardens. Their going-on 50-year old publication known as Pacific Horticulture has been a treasure to me for the past decade! As a member of the Board of the society for the past few years, I wanted to share with you a code to get a discount on membership to make sure you get this coming year’s programs and publications. If you go to PacificHorticulture.org and then to Join and use the code BOARDSPECIAL between now and September 15th you'll receive 20% off the normal membership price and ensure you get the printed fall issue of Pacific Horticulture. Enjoy!
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LINKS TO AUGUST 2018 CULTIVATING PLACE PROGRAMS
The passing treasures of late summer gold cottonwood leaves gilding my front garden and sidewalk.