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  • Jennifer Jewell


Lindsey Lusher Shute Speaking at the Ohio Ecological Farming Association. Image courtesy of OEFA and Cleveland Democrat. All rights reserved.


In this our final episode in a casual series on ways by which we as natural history loving gardeners gather, learn and grow together - this week we’re joined by Pam Penick of the garden blog Digging: Cool Gardens in a Hot Climate and founder of the Garden Blogger’s Fling, together with Judy Seaborn, co-owner of Botanical Interest Seeds in Denver, Colorado and organizer of this year’s Fling. The three of use explore the intimacy and generosity of gardeners - specifically gardening bloggers - when they gather. The Garden Bloggers Fling has been gathering since 2008.

For as long as I’ve had a garden, I’ve kept a garden journal. For as long as I have hosted a public radio program about gardening and natural history, I’ve had a digital garden program journal – or WEB LOG, which was ultimately shortened to BLOG – a term coined for describing on-line web-based journals or logs as far back as the late 1990s. Garden blogs as sources of information, communication, and community really took off in the early 2000s and remain vibrant sources of connection in the gardening community. They keep us up to speed about plants, plant care, garden design, climate change on the ground, and garden events on local and global levels.

I know of very few botanical garden or horticultural organizations that do not host some kind of blog with some kind of frequency. Today we check in with a group that takes this one step further. The GardenBloggersFling is both a group and an annual event at which garden bloggers from around the US and Canada gather in a destination to visit gardens, talk plants and garden, and talk blogging. The group presents an intense and community oriented educational opportunity. While there are some restrictions to participation – the group provides an interesting model for us all.

"Garden blogging is about these three things: writing, photography (because people love garden photography) , and it’s about creating that sense of community for people. The community part is the critical aspect at the heart of the fling.”

Pam Penick, Founder of the Garden Blogger Fling

Pam Penick is an avid gardener and garden blogger from Austin, TX her award –winning blog in large part about the nature of gardening in her climate is called Digging. IN 2008, as way to connect with other garden bloggers she founded what is now an annual gathering of garden bloggers from around the country – the Garden Bloggers Fling – last year the fling turned 10 and this year it heads to Denver.

Judy Seaborn is an avid gardener and as a lead organizer and host of the annual Garden Bloggers Fling this coming June 13 –16 , she and her fellow organizers have curated visits to gardens and gardeners in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder. Judy and her husband founded Botanical Interests – known for their beautiful and information rich seed packets, which have been dubbed the encyclopedias of seed packets in an effort to inspire and educate new gardeners. She sees her blog "In the Garden with Judy" as an extension of this, and the annual Garden Bloggers fling as another extension as well as celebration of the same.

The organizing committee for this year’s Garden Bloggers Fling really wanted to show off the rich cultural, ecological, and horticultural diversity of the Denver region's gardens and gardeners. Bloggers will kick off their three days of learning and touring at Denver’s The Growhaus – a non-profit urban farm and market located in North Denver, whose mission is to grow healthy community through food access, production and education.

Founded by Denver-born Adam Brock and Coby Gould, The Growhaus offers everything from hands-on volunteer work and a "farmer-in-training" program to "seed-to-seed" summer leadership courses for teens who want to learn more about building -- and sustaining -- healthy communities. "We're always trying to push the permaculture values of taking care of our community, taking care of the ecosystems around us, making sure we have long-term sustainability and redistributing what we have to whomever needs it the most rather than hoarding it for ourselves.” Gardening after all is an intersectional space for people of all shapes, sizes, colors and hopes to gather and grow and, like all diversity, that’s definitely worth Cultivating.

Towards the end of our conversation, Pam mentions that we gardeners tend to spend a fairly good portion of time alone in your garden, and that we writers might spend another fairly good portion of time at our desks writing. And this is true – but I think Pam, and all gardeners I know, would agree with the fact that we are never really alone in our gardens are we? We always companioned by the spirits and lives of our place – the birds, the trees, the soil, the weather of the moment of the day….but in seeking human community there too we truly find our people. Finding my people is a good portion of Cultivating Place for me – the guests, the research, the listeners, those of you who reach out and comment or reach and introduce yourselves in person. Finding our people – the human and more than human is part of this impulse. Nurture that too.


Follow along with The GardenBloggersFling at Gardenbloggersfling.blogpost or on Instagram at: @gardenbloggersfling, or Facebook: Garden Bloggers Fling

Join us again next week as the conversations continue, we’ll be moving out of the official “how gardeners, gather, grow and learn” series just in time for spring break– when we’re joined by two women who have a lot to share about the ways and means to get more of our kids out more often and get them down and dirty. We’ll be joined by Amanda Thomsen of Kiss My Aster and her new book, Backyard Adventure, and by Nancy Striniste author of Nature Play at Home. After all, play is a universal learning tool we all get.




Happy March my friends – in like a lion and out like a lamb – that’s what they say right? Oh my goodness….in the northern hemisphere we are so close to our hours of daylight equaling and numbering greater than our hours of darkness – the winter season is in its final stretches. Here – on warmish mornings you can tell the birds feel it, handle your soil gently on a warmish-dryish morning and you can tell the soil is preparing, observe your companion trees and shrubs closely and little buds are swelling along the lively nodes.

I know this – can see it and hear it and yet we’ve just come through 5 days of gray and rain – 6 inches total. Another round is on its way in a generally wet winter – which is good for our drought conditions, but I am not going to kid you – it can feel very slow getting to Spring right about now….I love and honor all of the seasons, but I'm ready for Spring.

Are you feeling this?

With the idea of offering out a little boost to help you get to Spring - indeed, to help you get through the inevitable lulls that come upon us in every season, every month, Cultivating Place has created an extra bit of garden audio for our generous donors – a thank you in the form of some bonus audio gardenlife love from us direct to your ears.

For all of you who have donated $30 or more between January 1, 2019 and the Vernal Equinox on March 20th, you'll receive by email a downloadable link to the Cultivating Place theme song, commission from and sung with such beauty by the duo MaMuse.

If you've never heard the whole thing – it will add a definite Spring to your heart and step to be able to play this in its fullness whenever you’d like. I know you’ll love it and sing it out loud.

Additionally for all of you who have so generously given $120 or more (as a single donation or as a $10 recurring monthly support), between January 1, 2019 and March 20th ‘s ushering in o of the new and welcome season, you will now receive a mid-month pick me up of bonus audio curated by me and sent out to you by email as a little – 5 minute or so – monthly/ seasonal reminder of the importance, beauty and meaning of this practice and passion you engage in. Indeed, it is a practice and passion born of a caring relationship to the place you make home and it makes everything better! I can’t wait to share this year of these monthly audio booster audio shots with you.

I love creating Cultivating Place and your comments to me overwhelmingly remind me of the joy and meaning and encouragement you find here too.

We need your financial support to make CP the best it can be and we can’t wait to share these offerings of thanks with each of you for helping us on this path.

Thank you for listening, thank you for donating. For all of you who already donate – thank you thank you!

For all of you who were waiting for that right time – we can’t wait to thank you!

And please SHARE Cultivating Place and this Spring incentive with everyone you know – your garden club, your book group, the checkout clerk at the market - show them how to subscribe to the show on their phones, show them our instagram account. Along with sunlight, regular watering, and some care and attention, word of the mouth helps this podcast to grow and thrive!




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