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  • Jennifer Jewell


Lauri Kranz - on beginnings in a garden. From "A Garden Can Be Anywhere" - all rights reserved.


Lauri Kranz is known in her circle of friends and fellow gardeners of Southern California as 'Gardening Lauri' - her work under the name of Edible Gardens LA is part garden design, part school gardening, part gardening coach and mentor, and ALL gardening evangelist and advocate. In her new book A Garden Can Be Anywhere: Creating Bountiful and Beautiful Edible Gardens (Abrams Books, 2019) written with her husband Dean Kuipers- she offers advice, inspiration, instruction, and encouragement good for all gardeners everywhere.

As spring matures fully into summer, for some reason the edible garden is now in full spotlight view in many gardens. Lauri joined us remotely from her LA area canyon home and garden to share more about how to make the most of our own personal edible garden collaborations.

'It's a really intimate experience, Gardening, it's so intimate and unique and no two gardens are the same. Even if we all choose the same flowers and vegetables to plant out in our beds, none of them will look the same. They will all be an expression of the person whose garden it is. It’s an artistic endeavor, I think it's vital for our health and well-being to have this constant dialogue with nature.”

Lauri Kranz, "A Garden Can Be Anywhere"

Lauri shares in our conversation her experience of how intimate creating, planting and caring for a garden is – her very personal, single woman approach to planning and installing a garden with her clients be they schools or chefs or DJs, sets a model and standard for the pace at which i feel gardens should be created – over time, with attention, and care. This is how our gardens literally grow us as much as we grow them - from the scent of onions coming out of the garden to preparing and eating the food you’ve grown yourself. And in her years of helping others create gardens of meaning, Lauri has witnessed over and over how powerfully this process of the garden as teacher very often teaches you more about yourself.

Lauri's career in this work of helping to create gardens, for her interrelates to the idea of a "land ethic", responsibility to place, and being in relationship with our gardens as part of a larger whole. Her foundational principles in all her work include: Wildness, Cooperation with the Wild World, Plant Choice, We Must Let the Place Tell Us, Community (in which Beauty is born of Relationship), and Personal (in which every garden is extraordinarily beautiful).

In the book, sh writes: “The garden is not isolated from nature, it is part of it. Other plants, weeds, animals, and even people are going to be in it. Each garden is extraordinarily personal - each garden is a collaboration between a person or people and a unique piece of land."

Follow along with Lauri's journey at Edible Gardens LA, also on Instagram: ediblegardensla/



Ok so thinking out loud this week – two things especially are sticking with me from my conversation with Lauri – the first being “we can’t cheat the sun” if you want vegetables – they need sun. A LOT of sun – 6 – 8 hours of it a day in the height of the growing season for heat loving summer crops like peppers, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and basil. Knowing where your sun is, for how long, is something we don’t always have a clear understanding of when we work outside the home. The take home lesson is that it pays to spend time - a day or more in each season charting the sun, its patterns, its placement – this kind of working knowledge built through time and observation puts you in far greater touch with your land and space - with your place.

The second thing that's sticking with me is Lauri's comment (and belief) about the importance of “a garden needing to work for your lifestyle" - to maximize your success with it and the value you find from it – for food for wellbeing. Keep this in mind as you plan and execute your own garden. Make it easy and accessible both in size, scope, location, and maintenance level. Your garden should feel like a gift, not a burden.

As June comes to a close and we prepare to enter into July, I hope you are all planning and making space for time in your own gardens or on your own nature trails this summer.

It’s important – it is as much a physical necessity as food and water, sleep and exercise – as hugs from people we love. These things sustain us and keep us going. You know they do – make time for them.

For all of you Sustaining Donors of $10 more each month to Cultivating Place, you literally sustain us and keep us going too. As such, I hope you're enjoying the monthly #GardenLifeLoveLetter – which are the short bonus audio pieces I send out on the 15th of each month gleaning some small piece of story, advice, history, or meaning-making to share with you. I hope these add a little sustenance to your mid-months. This past 15th, the #GardenLifeLoveLetter was a short clip with Dr. Raymond Barnett and his studies into both ancient Taoism and the world view of John Muir. I hope those of you that received the bonus clicked through to listen and that it lifted you for the remainder of the day – maybe even the week!

It’s my way of saying an extra thank you for your support! If you're not already a donor, but would like to be (any amount of one time gift or monthly donation is deeply appreciated!) you can do so by following the links here: SUPPORT




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