So many podcasts, so little time. I have my favorites, you have yours. The question is: how do we sort through the universe of conversation to find the next best gardening podcast, the one that’s going to inspire us to to head outdoors right now to plant something?
We put the word out on Instagram that we were looking for new garden podcasts to listen to. We got lots of great suggestions. Some were for podcasts we already love, including garden blogger Margaret Roach’s A Way to Garden and the BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time. Other tips led us to shows we’d somehow overlooked, including the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gardening Podcast (thanks for the suggestion, @stephkes).
Here’s our highly personal list of best, favorite, must-listens. Some are regular weekly gardening podcasts. Others are single episodes that are especially interesting to gardeners. (If your favorite garden podcast is missing from the list, please let us know in the comments below—we’re always looking for more.)
Photography by Michelle Slatalla.
As Cozy as They Come
Above: In the podcast version of the Guardian’s Ask Alys Q&A gardening columns, UK-based Alys Fowler fields call-in questions from readers who wonder how to renovate a neglected summer jasmine or if it’s possible to take cuttings from a toppled 40-year-old plum tree (“it just keeled over, but it was given to us by a dear family friend”). Enjoy with a hot cup of tea.
Support Your Local Florist
Above: In her weekly Slow Flowers podcast (download it here from iTunes), host Debra Prinzing talks to florists, flower farmers, and DIY floral designers who support the Local Flowers movement. (Thanks to @pinehouseediblegardens for introducing me to this podcast.) A favorite episode: The Flower House, with New York floral artists Denise Fasanello and Anne Kilcullen who create colorful floor-to-ceiling tornadoes they call “floral whirlwinds.”
Cutting-Edge Garden Design
Above: UK-based Gardens Illustrated Podcast has been on hiatus since September (thanks for reminding us how much we like it, @sarahgruver).
One of last year’s best episodes was a conversation with the influential garden designer Piet Oudolf, who revealed that his signature garden designs of perennials and grasses was born of necessity: his clients complained that the annuals he planted in their gardens died every year. Download the podcast here.
Garden Mysteries Solved
Above: Stuff You Should Know is a generalist’s podcast that explains how things work (find the complete archive here). A few episodes explain gardening things. My favorite is How Guerrilla Gardening Works, in which hosts Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant trace the origins of today’s guerrilla gardeners (who stealthily sow seeds in neglected or barren plots) to the 17th century British reformer Gerrard Winstanley (whose band of Diggers “went into plots of land they didn’t own and started planting”).
Another great episode is How Poison Ivy Works, which reveals a bombshell: in previous generations, the vine was used as an ornamental plant (even though one-billionth of a gram of the chemical urushiol in its sap can provoke a rash in the 85 percent of us who are allergic).
The Lost Garden of Eden
Above: A clematis flower prepares to bloom. Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.
Host Roman Mars explores “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world” in his 99% Invisible podcast. In my favorite episode, Mars tells the story of New York City’s lost Guerrilla Garden of Eden on the Lower East Side; in 1975 artist Adam Purple created a 15,000-square-foot green space that a few years later was bulldozed to make way for low-income housing.
Married, With Garden
Above: Brian and Susy Morris (she also blogs about her garden at Chiot’s Run) are the hosts of Cultivate Simple, a highly personal and quirky podcast they described as “an honest and unrehearsed discussion about trying to live a more simple life.” Their free-ranging conversations covered topics including permaculture, coffee beans, garden ponds, and their move across the the country (twice). Listen to all 67 episodes here.
Good Morning, Ireland
Above: Dublin-based Peter Donegan (a landscaper) and Brian Greene host The SodShow. The show’s mission, says Donegan, is to “get-you-outside-first-botanical-Latin later.”
Slow Your Home
Above: Admittedly the concept of of paring down, simplifying, and taking stock of one’s life has become a cliché among a new generation of me-too bloggers. But the Slow Your Home podcast’s host is one of the movement’s early adopters, Australia-based Brooke McAlary. “After being diagnosed with severe postnatal depression in 2011, I embarked on a one-woman mission to cut out the excess in my life,” she says. “I learnt about minimalism and simplicity, immersed myself in the Slow Living philosophy and discovered the beautiful benefits of living with less.” My favorite episode: an interview with my neighbor, the Zero Waste Home guru Bea Johnson. Bea’s gardening tips: return plastic pots to the plant nursery, make your own mulch from fallen leaves, and trade plants with other gardeners.
Stay tuned: next week we’ll publish our city-by-city guide to the best local US gardening radio shows.