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  • Jennifer Jewell


Photos Courtesy of Frailty Myths, All rights reserved.

Women’s History month on Cultivating Place continues this week with Andrea DeLong-Amaya, Director of Horticulture at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin Texas. Two great women’s stories with plants in one!

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin is the botanic garden for the state of Texas.  Andrea has been on staff there for over 20 years and has more than 30 years of experience in horticulture; she guides 15 staff in the design and management of 9 acres of native gardens, 275 acres of natural areas and a native plant nursery. She teaches classes in native plant horticulture and writes and presents on her passion for the field widely.

Andrea spoke with us late last autumn to share more about the history and work of the center, including it being the legacy of another extraordinary woman, Lady Bird Johnson, and her own enthusiasm for this field of work.

Follow the work at the Wildflower Center online at: and on Instagram:

Join us again next week when we head to Texas and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center outside of Austin to speak with Andrea DeLong-Amaya, the Director of Horticulture there.

There are soooooo many ways people engage in and grow from the cultivation of their places.





Thinking out Loud this week...


What does it even mean to be a woman in plants? It’s not exactly being a plantswoman, though many of the women in the book are specifically that to be sure.

Working with this diverse group of women in plants has been something akin to mapping mycelia pathways in the soil of a forest – fragmented perhaps, but still in connection and communication – learning from each other, riffing off of each other, reacting and responding to one another. Exploring, narrowing, and identifying ways in which these women have been extending the territory of what working with, in, and for plants does and doesn’t mean is powerful.

Almost unanimously, the 75 women representing the many more working in the world of plants feel that at least culturally women tend to hold important abilities to collaborate, nurture, and to think holistically, that women tend to employ systems thinking, which is related to a multi-tasking mentality. But across the board, these 75 women are also wary of the constraints of binary thinking and reverse bias, and they see/hope that more women of all kinds in all fields of study will forge greater balance in how we approach life’s challenges in community.

Some of the primary threads of inquiry when researching and writing the book were into how the plant world is improved as a result of being more representative (not only allowing for more women to excel, but also nurturing a much greater diversity of women); how it is a far more viable and creative/innovative career path for women than ever before; how this plant-work world is demonstrating greater social and environmental responsibility, in large part due to women’s contributions; and finally, how our human engagement with plants connects us to the natural world/stewardship, to our communities, and to ourselves on powerful intellectual, physical, and spiritual levels.

As we continue with these conversations with women featured in my book the Earth in Her Hands, I continue as well to give you all some additional background into my process for the book. If you didn’t hear my interview with sibling program host, Dave Schlom of Blue Dot, take a listen here – it was a lovely interview.

Good green growing things in Women’s History month.



UPCOMING CULTIVATING PLACE LIVE EVENTS: click links for more info or to register!

March 13, 2020

New York Botanical Garden, in conversation with Jamaica Kincaid - Bronx, NY

March 14, 2020

Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, MA

March 18, 2020

Women in Horticulture Symposium, Smithsonian Gardens - Washington, DC


March 19, 2020

Oblong Books, White Hart Speaker Series, w/ Margaret Roach & Marta McDowell

The White Hart Inn

15 Undermountain Road

Salisbury, CT 06068

Mark your calendars - I hope to meet you wherever you cultivate your place in the coming year




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