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  • Jennifer Jewell


Photos Courtesy of Frailty Myths, All rights reserved.

This week we wrap up our series on the healing power of gardens and kick off our Women’s History Month all at the same time.

For every episode in March, Cultivating Place will be highlighting one of the women in my new book: The Earth in her Hands, 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants, which officially published just two days ago on March 3, 2020! We start off with the work of herbalist and educator, Tiffany Freeman.

Tiffany is a registered acupuncturist, a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, and a registered clinical herbalist, certified by the American Herbalist Guild, She is the cofounder and co-director of the Lodgepole School of Wholistic Studies. She joins us today from her home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Follow Tiffany's work 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.



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

March 8, 2020

Blithewold Mansion - Bristol, RI

March 10, 2020

Stamford Nature Center  & Barrett Bookstore

Stamford, CT  7 pm - 9pm

March 13, 2020

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

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


Thinking out Loud this week...


When Timber Press reached out to me with the formidable proposal to write a book on the current state of women in the plant world – I was… honored, excited, full of ideas,…..and terrified. I determined to focus on the diversity of the ways that horticulture intersects with our everyday world and to focus on the work of women who have enriched and expanded these intersections in the last 25 years, thereby helping us as people and cultures to grow.

This book represents my own 54-plus years of observation, questioning, interviewing, learning, trying to understand, and a year of writing. It consists of relatively short profiles on 75 women doing current and innovative work - often representing larger issues or shifts in our world - in all things I count as horticultural: botany, environmental science, landscape design/architecture, floriculture, agriculture, social culture, plant hunting and breeding, seed science, gardening, garden writing and garden photography, and finally public garden administration, research, and public policy.

These women’s work with plants is creating and often reintroducing us to some transformative world views and interpretations as to how the many challenges of our world can and are being met by women advocating and cultivating a more connected and understood interdependence on and in relationship to plants. It is something of a re-birth in many sectors. Like all birthings, this one is being sung, screamed, crooned, whispered, hummed, and rocked into existence by these distinctly female (in the broadest/least binary understanding of this concept) voices.

Some of the primary threads of inquiry on my part have been 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 our selves on powerful intellectual, physical, and spiritual levels.

Almost unanimously, these 75 women here 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.

One of the most compelling, sometimes uncomfortable and always energizing threads for me in my own work, and in the process of this book, has been what I’ve come to refer to in my own head as Decolonize Your Garden. For centuries now the most visible representations of horticulture have been dominated by images of middle-aged, middle-class or affluent white people. But horticulture is a human impulse, in all cultures, in all times, practiced, codified, ritualized, and valued across any and all boundaries of social construct. I find it eye-opening to interrogate myself about my own biases, while striving to never inappropriately appropriate others’ cultural ways of being and knowing without reference or credit or as though these ways were or are ours, if in fact they aren’t. These are tricky, winding pathways, and yet I know they’re important to me to try to navigate – with humility, openness, respect, and acknowledgment.

Good things to think about in Women’s History month and in our green world!


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

March 8, 2020

Blithewold Mansion - Bristol, RI

March 10, 2020

Stamford Nature Center  & Barrett Bookstore

Stamford, CT  7 pm - 9pm

March 13, 2020

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

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




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