top of page
  • Jennifer Jewell


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


Ernesto Alvarado is a Mexican-born, Southern-California based native plant and seed teacher and student. He is currently the Native Plant Nursery Assistant at the Riverside Corona Resource Conservation District where he specializes in seed and native plants for gardening. His greatest purpose is in cultivating a greater connection to the world around him – and in helping others (like us) do the same.

While I told you that last week was the second in a two-part series in the sacred and much needed ritual and ceremony that the seasonal cycles of our plants and gardens offer us – I would say this is a bonus third episode in this same vein. I think you will agree.

Ernesto began his interest in plants at an early age. He discovered the beauty and importance of California native plants in 2004, when as a young adult he began growing California native plants for coastal restoration projects in the efforts to bring back the endangered El Segundo blue butterfly (Euphilotes battoides allyni).

His interest in conservation and restoration led him to obtain a degree in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Humboldt State University. After graduation he had the opportunity to continue growing California native plants for Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden – which is now the California Botanic Garden. There Ernesto became familiar with many more California native plants including many native cultivars ideal for the California garden.

His passion and curiosity has only grown over the years and as Nursery Assistant he spends his days growing local native plants for RCRCD's restoration projects and looks after the gardens and habitat at their LandUse Learning Center. While he is currently working with the native plants of California, he is deeply interested in taking his plant and seed knowledge and experiences back to his birthplace of Mexico in time.

Having been a follower of Ernesto's enthusiastic native seed and plant sharing for years, I'm pleased to speak with him and share his voice forward.

You can follow Ernesto's work online on Instagram @Nativeplant_guide


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

Tokachi Millenium Forest, Midori Shintani and Dan Pearson

JOIN US again next week, when we start a two part series on life in a dry climate and dry garden life as a source of high design and a diversity of great plants. we’re joined first by designer Daniel Nolan, author of The Dry Garden, High Style for Low Water Gardens. Join us then.


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!

Listeners of Cultivating Place can receive a $10 discount on the annual individual membership of $35, by visiting For your annual Membership to the American Horticultural Society for the special Cultivating Place rate of just $25 a year, head over to


Thinking out loud this week:

Hey It’s Jennifer –

It has certainly happened to me – this being called by the garden – this being grabbed and focused by the life of the plants around us. I am sure it has happened to you. It was an immense honor to hear Ernesto’s retelling of his bonding with the life all around us through his caring for and relating to the plants that warm Los Angeles summer day.

One of the things I love about Ernesto’s heart for this work is his clear stated and acted upon desire to pay the joy and happiness of his own connection to plants and his own experiences with them forward.

How do we each do this in even small ways? How can we each pay our garden life love and gratitude forward?

Maybe you’d like to share a story/experience like this? I would be happy to hear it, I would be happy to share it forward with others here one week – or not – I can also just listen and witness. Your call.

If you’d like: send me your plant connection story by email: cultivating place at, or leave it in the comments for this week’s show on Instagram you will find me at cultivating_place. I am all ears on all of your own ideas….

The plants connect us transcendent ways too….





SHARE the podcast with friends: If you enjoy these conversations about these things we love and which connect us, please share them forward with others. Thank you in advance!

RATE the podcast on iTunes: Or wherever you get your podcast feed: Please submit a ranking and a review of the program on Itunes! To do so follow this link: iTunes Review and Rate (once there, click View In Itunes and go to Ratings and Reviews)

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.

Or, make checks payable to: Jennifer Jewell - Cultivating Place

and mail to: Cultivating Place

PO Box 37

Durham, CA 95938


bottom of page