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Hothouse is a podcast about design, ecology, and the way we garden now. Host Leah Churner sits down with experts and enthusiasts to talk about permaculture, the urban landscape, and how plants sometimes give us the feels. A meeting of the minds for plant people and the horticulture-curious, Hothouse is a different kind of gardening show: less of the how-to and more of the who, what, where, when, and why.

Jun 26, 2020

Hothouse is returning from hiatus! From here on out this podcast feed will be all Hothouse, so if you want to keep hearing The Horticulturati, please subscribe to that feed HERE (for Apple Podcasts) or HERE (for Spotify).  

Crape myrtles are blooming all over the place and Leah is DISGUSTED. What’s triggering this Lagerstroemiaphobia? Perhaps it's not about the crape myrtles at all, but rather the lingering demons of her past in exurban hell. Next, Colleen reports on a storied gourd that vine borers can’t touch: the cushaw squash. Domesticated some time around the dawn of agriculture, the obscure cushaw took on special significance to African American foodways as a “slave food” staple. We discuss plants and memory, the merits of “folklore,” and the importance of heirloom seeds as “living archives” of cultural information. Happy belated Juneteenth!

See photos of Colleen’s cushaw plant and drop us a line at

Mentioned in this episode: 

The Botany Coloring Book; The Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney; Neil Sperry on topping crape myrtles; Nandina ‘nana”;  the “Pool Party Incident” of 2015; Homestead Heart (YouTube); “The Seeds of Survival” (NYT); Kathe Hambrick-Jackson, The River Road African American Museum (Louisiana); Michael W. Twitty, The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty; Farming While Black, by Leah Penniman.