At a time when our gardens large or small often feel more important than ever, I think our focus on exactly what our gardens contain and consist of is also more important than ever.
In this second in a three-part celebration of gardens that offer back more than they consume, I’m pleased to speaking today with Owen Wormser.
Based in Western Massachusetts, Owen is the founder of Abound Design providing design & consulting for regenerative, sustainability-focused landscapes. He is also the co-founder, with traditional and clinical herbalist Chris Marano, of the non-profit Local Harmony, focused on encouraging and creating community driven regeneration.
Finally, Owen is the author of a new book entitled Lawns into Meadows, Growing a Regenerative Landscape, out now from Stone Pier Press.
In his work and in his book Lawns into Meadows, Owen supports his life long understanding that the world naturally tends toward abundance. In his mind, the rich life that results from turning irrigated turf grass into the diversity and nurturing power of a meadow is the perfect illustration of just this.
You can follow Owen's work online at Abound Design, at the non-profit Local Harmony and on Instagram @lawns_into_meadows
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JOIN US again next week, when we dig into the interesting and innovative in conversation with Rebecca McMackin, Director of Horticulture at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park, 85 acres of diverse parkland created completely from scratch on abandoned shipping piers in the East River.
Rebecca and her team manage this humanbuilt landscape organically with an eye towards habitat creation for birds, butterflies, and soil microorganisms - listen in!
Cultivating Place is made possible in part by listeners like you and by generous support from the American Horticultural Society. Soon to Celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, AHS has been a trusted source of high quality gardening and horticultural information since 1922.
Today, AHS’s mission blends education, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship with the art and practice of horticulture. Members of AHS receive the award-winning flagship magazine, The American Gardener, free admission and other discounts to more than 345 public gardens with the Reciprocal Admissions Program, plus discounts on books, seeds, programs and more!
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Thinking out loud this week:
Hey It’s Jennifer –
One of the things that I love about having this conversation is that in the wake of 2020 especially, and following some of my previous interviews with the likes of Robin Wall Kimmerer, Doug Tallamy, Lorena Gorbett, Kiss the Ground, Edwina Von Gal, Laura Ekasetya, the Plant Me A Rainbow endeavor, and Leslie Bennett of Pine House Edibles, I have gotten so many many questions along the lines of “where can I find an ecological landscape designer? where can I find this book ?or this resource? where can I find a nursery like this?"
And that is great. When I was more infrequently asked those questions more than 18 months ago, the answers were there – the solutions and answers have always been there - but they were harder to find. NOW these networks are reaching a tipping point in their boiling and building and they are much much more visible. And that is an even greater source of hope in my mind – a beacon in an otherwise often murky world.
I want to share with you a story of invisible connection becoming visible. In the hopes that this bolsters in each of you even a little each the belief in the power of you and your garden to help meet the challenges you are most worried about.
I often get kind generous emails about what Cultivating Place, or my writing or talks mean to people – how it has changed their thinking, improved their outlook, held them through their grief to resume action. And I am profoundly humbled by every one of them.
Not long ago, on my most recent visit to my help out some with my father’s healthcare, I had an email from a woman who told me that she too was a writer, that she had started her own gardening journey just newly and that “that journey had truly changed her life and sense of calling, and what it is I can and should give during my time on this planet. This is due in no small part to your podcast, your incredibly thoughtful interviews, and your books, which I treasure.”
She went on to say she had recently completed a project and that with her earnings she had some money to give and she wanted to very specifically invest it In indigenous led land-work. She was talking in the 10s of thousands of dollars. She asked me for thoughts on where I would like to see the funds invested. And believe me, I got her my list of suggestions as fast as I could muster them.
I know many days it does not seem so, but on the days when your own power to effect change makes itself visible to you – trust it. Whether it’s the folks in your book club, in your garden club, the energy and attitude you send your kids out into the day with, sharing seeds or produce, sharing 10 dollars or $10,000 with work you believe in, every garden thing you do makes a difference.
As gardeners we see daily that our actions have both immediate fore and almost as often the grace of long term forgiveness. Both matter.
Like a seedling moving from tender to established root systems in the ground water of us - these positive networks in the garden and hort world of integrated, ecological, culturally respectful, acknowledging and contributing gardens and gardeners are as vibrant and meaningful as they have ever been in my ½ century lifetime. And I will stake my garden life on their continued and successional thriving. I know many of you will too.
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