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  • Jennifer Jewell


Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's 2019 Study Weekend Theme and Flyer. Original art by Rogene Mañas,  Image courtesy of The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, all rights reserved.


This week, we continue our exploration of the different ways in which we as gardeners grow - together in our gardening practices in different ways. In societies, on social media, through books, in lectures and workshops, by listening to podcasts - we gardeners extend our roots in these winter months just as our plant companions do.

Today we’re joined by Portland Area gardener, Nancy Goldman, speaking with us about the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon of which she is an active member (going on 30 years) and has served in various leadership roles throughout the years. She talks to us about their many programs and annual outreach efforts to help members and guests gather and grow - in the name of community and in the service of horticulture.

The Hardy Plant Society of Oregon is just one of many many versions of plant societies and garden clubs around the country working to collectively learn and spread the knowledge of horticulture and our deep connection to plants to a wider audience. Garden and plant groups, clubs, societies are interesting, energetic plant-loving human communities, from which we as individual gardeners can learn and grow.

Nancy joins us from the studios of Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon.

"It's all about the people and the plants, it’s an organization of people who are very sharing, want to learn about gardening, want to share what they know about gardening, want to look at gardens together, and the educational part is just as important - so really those two together are what the Hardy Plant Society is all about."

Nancy Goldman, Hardy Plant Society of Oregon

The HPSO organizes and hosts many programs and annual outreach efforts year round to help members and guests gather together and grow – including publishing a lovely full-color publication entitled The HPSO Quarterly. Their annual educational offerings in addition to their Quarterly publication include their big spring plant sale known as Hortlandia, the summer Study Weekend, and travel tours and guest lectures throughout the year. (I am honored to be the guest speaker for their winter lecture January of 2020.)

What’s your best learning method? And what do you have lined up in the way of continuing education this winter season? Let us know by sending us a note: cultivatingplace @, or make a comment on the weekly social media posts at Instagram and Facebook – we’d love to hear and to share your thoughts forward!

Join us again next week as the conversations on garden variety life-long learning when we’re joined by Lindsey Lusher Shute of the National Young Farmers Coalition, an education and advocacy organization building a bright and just future for US agriculture – and educating cultivators of all kinds in the process. There are so many ways people engage in and grow from the cultivation of their places.




I love how Nancy’s garden is called Nancy Land – does your garden have a name, officially or unofficially? I’m always sort of working on ideas, but generally its something akin to Beloved. That works for me….

Nancy shared with me that her garden was featured in the July 2016 issue of Gardens Illustrated – the article written by plantsman Noel Kingsbury and photographed by Claire Takacs was reprinted in the spring 2017 issue of HPSO The Quarterly. The feature and photographs highlight the deeply personal nature of Nancy’s garden – its colors, artists mosaics and other found object textures, and its plants. There is a lovely photo of Nancy on her back porch with the sign she mentioned which reads in latin: My Garden Kicks Ass. There is both a sense of joy and a sense of pride in this space she loves and co-evolves with - which is how our gardens work at their best and at our best. Nancy – a dedicated volunteer in this world - opens her garden to members of the HPSO throughout the year – these open days no doubt give her a schedule for implementing whatever new she’s doing in or adding to her garden this year. I loved that about Nancy’s gardening life too – that she consciously tries to add or do something new in her garden each year.

And that brings me to this: the personal growth and educational value of volunteering – with your garden, in your garden, about your garden, within your gardening community. You can work a few hours helping to weed at your local public garden or conservatory, you can volunteer with a group like HPSO and learn from experienced plant people in areas you want to deepen your own knowledge or skills. Want to learn how to properly prune fruit trees or roses? You can volunteer with a group or professional who does these things in your community for even a few hours a month and learn on the job as it were. There are 1000 ways to learn more about these things you love and help out the horticultural and nature loving community of life long learners at the same time.

We are all auto-didacts at some level – so I am all for leveling that up. Let us know if you take on a new project or commit to learning a new skill this growing season – I’d love to share them on the program in our series in how we learn and grow as gardeners together. Send me a note or leave a comment on this week’s episode posts on Instagram or Facebook. I’ll be looking for them.

No matter where you garden in the Northern Hemisphere, or by what name you call it, it’s mid-February and the idea and reality of spring are separated by mere weeks now – just five weeks until the vernal equinox and already the mornings are feeling just that much lighter….it’s a season of early growth, sap-rising.

We have a lot of ideas budding here at Cultivating Place, and as we’re mid-way through our first 2019 series on a garden topic - stay tuned for announcements about upcoming series, and initiatives, rolling out in March.

AND it’s your support that nurtures these ideas to fruition. If you want to be a gardener to our community garden, you can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the link at the top right hand corner of any page here at, and donating (or see below ;). Your support in the form of a one-time gift or a recurring monthly donation makes these important conversations possible.

I know how expensive life is and how many projects, people, and places need our support - thank you in advance for supporting this project about people and their places.




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