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I’ve never had a rock garden, I confess. But a new book about a modern and extreme form of the art caught my attention recently.  It’s called “The Crevice Garden: How to Make the Perfect Home for Plants from Rocky Places,” and its authors are here today to talk about why you might want to make room for one, and the plants it can support.   Colorado-based Kenton Seth and Paul Spriggs from British Columbia are garden designers with a particular specialty in rock gardens, and also co-authors of the new book “The Crevice Garden.”  When they appeared this spring on the popular Garden Masterclass webinar series, British host Noel Kingsbury said this in the way of introducing them: “Rock gardening will no longer elicit a yawn, because this is the future.” I’m glad they’re here today to give us a peek into this brave new world.  
Hot and dry: That’s the lament of gardeners in most regions in high summer, and also of many plants in their flower gardens. The author of a new book called “The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Guide” is here to suggest which perennials can stand up best to the test, plus give us some lavender-growing advice – speaking of plants adapted to hot and dry.   Also on the agenda: a tip on a bulb you may not have grown before but could order to plant this fall, surprise lilies.  Jenny Rose Carey is former senior director of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Meadowbrook Farm, and taught in the department of landscape architecture and horticulture at Temple University, where she also directed the Ambler Arboretum. Her new book is “The Ultimate Flower Gardener’s Guide.” 
I call the phenomenon tomato troubles. You know, the yellow-spotted foliage that falls off, or the plant that produces all those misshapen fruits and yes, the attack of the hornworms, too, when you wake up to a lot of missing leaves one day. Or all of the above. Oops!   August is a perfect time to check in with the tomato man himself, Craig LeHoullier, author of the book “Epic Tomatoes,” and see what we can do even under such high-summer pressures to bring in that delicious harvest. 
I recently hosted a shade-gardening webinar featuring my friend, Ken Druse. The enthusiastic registration and the outpouring of audience questions that evening reminded me how popular a topic shade is, especially the challenge of dry shade, so I asked Ken to join me on the podcast to talk more about it.  Ken is a familiar voice here at A Way To Garden, one of my longest gardening friendships. He is the author of 20 garden books, including “The New Shade Garden: Creating A Lush Oasis In The Age Of Climate Change.” He gardens in New Jersey, mostly in the shade, which is our subject today.
I’ve been undertaking more native-plant-focused garden transformations in recent years, as I know many of you listening have, too. Today’s guest is a naturalist with a background in landscape architecture who’s been making wildish gardens for decades, both at home and in his public-garden career.  Alan Branhagen is here to talk about some of his own native plant adventures–and to highlight some native annuals for us that can play various key roles in our gardens as they do at his place, too.   Alan Branhagen, a lifelong naturalist with a background in landscape architecture, is director of operations at the 1,200-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in suburban Minneapolis. He is the former director of horticulture at Powell Gardens in Kansas City, and the author of two books on Midwestern native plants.
You know how the vegetable garden goes. One day, there are just two green beans ready to pick, and then there are 62 all at once. Famine and then feast.  Some of that can be moderated by growing different varieties with different days to maturity or with smaller succession sowings of each crop. But no matter how much planning, it's not a predictable assembly line—and neither is what you'll get each week if you subscribe to a farm share or hello, radishes every week plus more kale than I can keep up with.  So what to do with whatever produce comes your way? Cookbook author and food writer Alexandra Stafford offered some tactical advice and also prepared us for the onslaught of zucchini with creative and delicious recipes.  Ali creates the Alexandra's Kitchen website and companion e-newsletter from—and a whole extra, free, weekly seasonal email, too, called the Farm Share Newsletter, which is giving me more ideas each week for what to do with what the garden, the CSA, and the local farmstand have to offer. She's the author of the hit book “Bread Toast Crumbs.” 
If you think that managing invasive plants in a garden is a challenge, imagine that on a larger scale—a much larger scale, like Angela Sirois-Pitel faces in the name of supporting native habitat on Nature Conservancy land.  From barberries and multiflora rose bushes to the nasty annual grass called stiltgrass, Angela and her team have faced them all.  Angela is a conservation biologist who serves as stewardship manager for The Nature Conservancy in the Southern Berkshires of Massachusetts. Her role there ranges from tackling invasive species, to helping save endangered bog turtles.  We talked about the thinking that goes into managing invasives, and more. 
More than 20 years ago, artists Allyson Levy and Scott Serrano started a botanical garden in the backyard of their Hudson Valley, New York, home. Today, the Hortus Arboretum and Botanical Gardens has grown to 11 acres of diverse collections. One of the couple's passions is unusual edibles, and now they've written a book about their favorites. “Cold-Hardy Fruits and Nuts” profiles 50 easy-to-grow selections. And they're here today to talk about a few of those that are also native plants.  Allyson and Scott are both visual artists, and their garden that today is Hortus Arboretum in Stone Ridge got its start as the inspiration and source of raw materials for their creative efforts. It's grown into a non-profit organization that welcomes visitors and includes lots of unusual edibles, our topic today.  
The lecture that he's been giving for a number of years is not so subtly called “Kill our Lawn.”  Ecological horticulturist Dan Wilder knows that starting over and creating an entire native habitat instead of a lawn isn't for everyone. But Dan just wants to grab our attention and get us to start to make some changes at least in the way we care for the turfgrass we do want in our landscapes. And maybe give up a little square footage of it to some other kind of more diverse planting, too.  Alternative, more eco-focused styles of lawn care, along with some lawn alternatives is our topic today.  Dan Jaffe Wilder is Director of Applied Ecology at Norcross Wildlife Foundation in Wales, Massachusetts, and its 8,000-acre sanctuary. He's also co-author with Mark Richardson of the book “Native Plants for New England Gardens
Today’s show is all about surprises—and the first one is my guest. He’s back: My old friend Ken Druse is here after too many months of absence, and our subject is the surprises our gardens have offered so far this spring, from extra-bountiful roses to not-so-welcome spongy moth caterpillars, aka gypsy moths.  You all know Ken Druse, author of 20 garden books, keen propagator and plant collector. And for much of the last year he’s also been my colleague in our online Virtual Garden Club, the latest semester of which just ended. So I’ve been getting to talk to him all the time – but you haven’t heard from him in a bit, which is something we’ll correct today. 
While researching a story about the endangered status of native trillium in North America recently, I was happy to meet today’s guest, botanist Wesley Knapp.  Our trillium conversations got me thinking about how headlines like the trillium one, highlighting reports of the accelerating threats of extinctions of plant or animal species, are so common in the news these days.  But how are those predictions calculated, I wondered, and also: do we know what species are already gone? Wesley Knapp, a Ph.D. student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is Chief Botanist at NatureServe, the authoritative source for biodiversity data in North America. He previously worked as a Botanist and Ecologist for the Maryland and North Carolina Natural Heritage Programs.
How are we doing in the effort to reduce tick encounters, and the diseases that ticks carry and can transmit to humans? The results from a multi-year study in Dutchess County, New York, one of the areas in the United States with the highest rates of Lyme disease, shed some light on that question.  One of the study’s directors is here today to talk about the findings --- and about her advice for best practices that each of us gardeners can take for personal protection.    My guest to talk ticks is Dr. Felicia Keesing, a professor of biology at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, and one of the two directors of The Tick Project with Dr. Rick Ostfeld of Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook. 
Today's guest, author Sy Montgomery, writes that “we are on the cusp of either destroying the sweet green earth, or revolutionizing the way we understand the rest of animate creation.  “It's an important time to be writing about the connections we share with our fellow creatures," she adds, saying, "It's a great time to be alive."  In 33 books for adults and children, including her latest, “The Hawk's Way,” she's made connecting with our fellow creatures her life's work, and celebrated those connections. She has explored connections to a range of animals, not just obvious ones like dogs, but from tarantulas to octopuses, pigs, and more.  In her just-out book “The Hawk's Way,” it's the birds that she calls “the tigers of the air,” raptors, the birds of prey that she explores.  
I get a lot of questions every year about mulch, about how to use it, when to use it, which kind to use. And today we'll talk about all that, but also even more important about what goes on in the soil beneath that mulch layer when you mulch with an organic material. My guest today to explain all that is Bill Fonteno, Professor Emeritus of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University and former technical advisor to the U.S. Mulch and Soil Council, the industry trade association. 
With the explosion of interest in native plants in recent years, I know I'm not alone among gardeners who are scouring catalogs and specialty nurseries, looking for the right native to match every garden purpose, from trees on down to groundcovers. A new book by Uli Lorimer, director of horticulture at Native Plant Trust, has added some plants to my wishlist, including some native annuals. And it even has me pondering diversifying my lawn with some violets and hunting down a few more native vines and...oh my goodness.  Uli Lorimer, author of the just-published book “The Northeast Native Plant Primer,” has made a career of working with native plants. He was longtime curator of the native flora garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. And in 2019, became director of horticulture at Native Plant Trust, America's oldest plant conservation organization, which was founded in 1900 as New England Wildflower Society. 
Today, we're going to do some gravel gardening—not merely applying a thin mulch-like top dressing of gravel to a garden bed, but planting right into a deliberate foundation of 4 or 5 inches of gravel. My guest is Jeff Epping, director of horticulture at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisc., where he created his first gravel garden in 2009. We'll learn what makes gravel gardens so appealing and how to create one, too.  That first gravel garden at Olbrich Botanical Gardens that Jeff Epping and his team created wasn't the last. There have been three more since, and gravel gardens created elsewhere for clients. Jeff, who lectures regularly to garden audiences around the country about his passion for gravel gardens, even transformed the front yard of his home to one in 2018, and he's here to tell us why and how.
Have you ever grown a carnivorous plant—a Venus flytrap or sundew or pitcher plant, perhaps? I bet even a lot of keen gardeners haven't. Today's guest is going to encourage us to change that and maybe, as a start, adopt one that you can cultivate on your windowsill even.  All in time for International Carnivorous Plant Day on Wednesday, May 4th, we're also going to learn about the plight of carnivorous plants in the wild, where they're disproportionately endangered.  Kenny Coogan is a board member and education director for the International Carnivorous Plant Society. Kenny's also author of the recent book “Florida's Carnivorous Plants,” and he operates a carnivorous plant nursery in Florida. 
I’m thinking about Trilliums – prompted not just because these treasured spring ephemerals are coming into their season, but by the disturbing news in a report just published that found that 32 percent of all North American Trillium species or varieties are threatened with extinction. My guest is Amy Highland, the Director of Collections and Conservation Lead at Mt. Cuba Center, a botanic garden and native plant conservation nonprofit in Delaware, one of three organizations behind the findings.   As Mt. Cuba Center’s director of collections and conservation lead, Amy Highland, a graduate of Purdue University’s Public Horticulture program, has traveled throughout the temperate forests of North America to find rare plants in need of conservation. She’s here today to talk trilliums—and also how we as gardeners can be more involved in conservation of native plants over all. 
Finally, the first fresh flavors of spring are starting to show up at the farmer's markets, and before long in our gardens, with more to come every unfolding week. Chef and cookbook author Justin Chapple, who's also the “Food & Wine” culinary director at large, is here to help us with ideas to use the coming bounty, including easy but transformational DIY salad dressings and more.  Justin is known for his energetic and very approachable style, creating what he calls “built-to-be-easy recipes." As part of his role at “Food & Wine,” he hosts their video series called “Mad Genius Tips,” the title of his first book, and he authored another called “Just Cook It.”
Even though I don't live anywhere near St. Louis, one of my most used and appreciated resources for plant information over many, many years has been the Missouri Botanical Garden, with its world-class offerings to gardeners both in person and online. One feature I look forward to each year is the garden's annual Plants of Merit list, and today we're going to talk about those standout varieties just in time to guide your springtime plant shopping.  My guest today is Daria McKelvey, supervisor of the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden, where she oversees its extensive indoor and outdoor gardens, its Plant Doctor answer line, and a lot of the website features I mentioned that I rely on so much. 
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