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  • Jennifer Jewell


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


It is now Mid-April and this week we are celebrating both California Native Plant Week AND the week of Earth Day. Wildflowers are blooming and being admired across the country! In honor of Earth Day 2023 and all of the fierce and tender hopes we have for it, we are back in conversation with Ireland’s Mary Reynolds, self-described as an Ex-garden designer, actively Reimagining and Rebuilding relationship with nature through her most recent founding of a movement known as We Are the Ark in which we transform our gardens and gardening into Acts of restorative Kindness welcoming and supporting all manner of life.

Some of you may remember that my previous conversation with Mary in 2019 after her last book, The Garden Awakening was published, and just as she was founding We Are the Ark.

Mary’s dedication and persistence around the importance of each of us in stewarding the land we can is a bright spot in our world. As is the incredible artwork for We Are the Ark by illustrator Ruth Evans, who is on Instagram @smileworldshine


Images courtesy of Mary Reynolds and We Are The Ark, all rights reserved.

You can follow Mary's work on-line at: We Are the, and on Instagram: @let'sbuildanark

HERE IS THIS WEEK'S TRANSCRIPT by Doulos Transcription Service:

CultivatingPlace - Reynolds - 4-20-23
Download PDF • 169KB


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

JOIN US again next week, when we focus on the art of the garden and its history in conversation with gardener, artist, and historian Rebecca Allan. Her exhibit of gardening related paintings, Cultivating Eden, is currently open at Wave Hill Garden; she is also an organizer of an upcoming learning and garden tours program in Buffalo, NY and based at Shipman designed Graycliff. 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.

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Thinking out loud this week:

The Garden Conservancy a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, share, and celebrate gardens and America's gardening traditions. One of the ways they do this is through films documenting some longer history of a particular garden, or digging into a particular topic foundational within gardens. For instance, the Conservancy has created two films around the Anne Spencer House & Garden in Lynchburg, VA. They have a lovely 5 minute trailer about the history of Anne Spencer and the importance of her garden in our wider culture.

Further in November of 2020, the Garden Conservancy filmed an American Public Gardens panel discussion centering the idea of Telling the Whole story - using an inclusive interpretation of gardens and historic landscapes to reach broader audiences

The filming of this panel, which is available at is perfectly set in the historic Anne Spencer House & Garden.

As the home of Harlem Renaissance poet Anne Spencer from 1903 – 1975 this garden has many layers of beauty, of story and of even wider importance. Spencer was the first Virginian and first African-American to have her poetry included in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry. She was also a committed activist for equal rights, and her house and garden served as a political center of the community, as well as inspiration for her poetry.

In 2008, the Garden Conservancy assumed an advisory role with the Hillside Garden Club for the rehabilitation of the garden, and Panelists in November 2020 includes Shaun Spencer-Hester (granddaughter of Anne Spencer and Executive Director of the Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum, Lynchburg, VA; Peggy Cornett of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, Charlottesville, VA; Sara Gordon of Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, Shelter Island, NY.

In honor of Earth Day, and as a complement to my conversation with Mary Reynolds, I wanted to share as well a poem from Anne Spencer, shared by her granddaughter Shaun Spencer-Hester in a Garden Conservancy published essay:

“Earth, I thank you

for the pleasure of your language

You’ve had a hard time

bringing it to me

from the ground

to grunt thru the noun

To all the way

feeling seeing smelling touching


I am here!”

It is the earth in whose company I think most of us feel the most alive – the most here.

Happy Earth Day – may it be every day in every one of our lives and gardens, decisions and actions.





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