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  • Jennifer Jewell


FOODSCAPING - with Brie Arthur. Photo courtesy of Brie Arthur, all rights reserved.


ALL PHOTOS by Jonathan Buckley, all rights reserved.

"Pots in the garden are like bubble in a glass of champagne."
-Sarah Raven

Sarah Raven is something of a superstar in the garden world – especially when it comes to good home grown food, beautiful vibrant flower and garden design - elegance in general, really. I was fortunate enough to interview her for my 2020 book The Earth in Her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants, and I am so pleased to finally welcome her to the Cultivating Place program this week to share more about her newest book, A Year Full of Pot Container Flowers for All Seasons.


In the past 25 years, Sarah has been a leadership voice in beautiful and productive gardening through her trial and research garden at Perch Hill, through her many books and in-person educational offerings, and now through the popular podcast she hosts (often with guests like the delightful Arthur Parkinson): Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange.

In anticipation of Mother’s Day, Graduation Season, and the fun of summer gardening ahead – I am so pleased to share this conversation with Sarah Raven. Enjoy.


"COLOR IS SUCH A LIFE ENHANCER and it doesn’t have to be scary if you have a few rules up your sleeve….people just need to be helped to be bold and confident and colorful."
-Sarah Raven, Perch Hill

You can follow the Sarah Raven and Perch Hill on line:

And on Instagram:

All photos by Jonathan Buckley, all rights reserved.


you might also enjoy these Best of CP programs in our archive:

JOIN US again next week, when we’re in conversation with another garden and farm voice, Bevin Cohen of Small House Farm based in Sanford, Michigan. Where their garden is at the heart of all that they do: raise a family, care for their land, save seeds, and share the many lessons learned. That’s next week, right here, listen in.



Cultivating Place is made possible in part by listeners like you and by generous support from

supporting initiatives that empower women and help preserve the planet through the intersection of environmental advocacy, social justice, and creativity.



Thinking out loud this week:

Happy May my friends – we have made it to this point in this season, in this circle round the sun.

It’s been something of a trying first few months of 2024 in my life, but here we are and as I write, I am companioned by a large bouquet of life and beauty, colorful fruit and form from my own garden sitting on my desk beside me: delicate iridescent pink gladiolas, big flouncy fragrant roses: the creamy white Winchester Cathedral (who does NOT have rust this year!) the sort of gaudy (that I love) pinky/ orange-edged with yellow center Sheila’s Perfume, a deep magenta old climber whose name I have lost but whose fragrance is soooo satisfying every spring. Native purple sage and coral bells fill out the bouquet (and the garden where they all grow together).

They remind me – in the vase and in my place, that the flowers of this world make so much so much more bearable.


Don’t forget to stop and smell them.

I will admit that after reading A Year Full of Pots and conducting this interview with Sarah, my plans for my summer potted combinations have gotten a lot more complex and adventurous….IN two large dark terra cotta pots at the front of our drive I have combined the silver foliage and spiked deep blue flowers of Phenomenal lavender with the frilly green foliage and burgundy pom poms of burgundy pincushion flower, these are both skirted by a bright green lemon thyme - I am not at all sure who is the bride and who is the bridesmaid (I think the lavender is the bride?); in another pot, short colorful zinnias interplanted with Hopi Dye sunflowers and underplanted with wooly thyme and while alyssum, and in the full hot summer California sun, two well draining pots of Dittany of Crete thyme paired with a low mounding bright pink erodium … this is a good gravel garden show trial and these are situated with two other pots filled with cascading dry-loving southwest native honey-scented blackfoot daisy Melanpodium leucanthum…. They are so cheerful and the butterflies and bees are cheered by them too…we’ll see how they hold up to summer in a pot. It’s not the 150 new plants Sarah and team under Josie Lewis trials at Perch Hill every year, but it’s making me happy (and plenty busy – how the heck does she do it all?!)


I was struck in this middle segment of our conversation by Sarah’s noting of “whatever your mood is this season,” because that is so surely a truth isn’t it? My garden mood the first summer in my first garden was very different than the my mood (and capacity) that first summer in the garden with a new born. And this year’s summer garden and pots are definitely tinged with missing my mother, my father, my sweet kitty of 16 years who passed just two weeks ago now….every season of our lives brings a different mood to the seasons of our gardens and plants…

 Wish me luck – I will post photos of anything that comes out well. What about you, experimenting with any new plantings or combinations?

REMEMBER TO TAKE PHOTOS – think of Sarah’s legacy of now 30 years of photographs of what looked great in her garden.




Cultivating Place is a co-production of North State Public Radio, a service of Cap Radio, licensed to Chico State Enterprises. Cultivating place is made possible in part listeners just like you through the support button at the top right-hand corner of every page at Cultivating

The CP team includes producer and engineer Matt Fidler, with weekly tech and web support from Angel Huracha, and this summer we're joined by communications intern Sheila Stern. We’re based on the traditional and present homelands of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of the Chico Rancheria. Original theme music is by Ma Muse, accompanied by Joe Craven and Sam Bevan.

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DONATE: Cultivating Place is a listener-supported co-production of North State Public Radio. To make your listener contribution – please click the donate button below. Thank you in advance for your help making these valuable conversations grow.

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Durham, CA 95938


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