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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 12, 2022

On this episode, we dive into ecologist Douglas Tallamy's books Nature's Best Hope (2019) and The Living Landscape (2014, with Rick Darke). Tallamy's work takes native plant gardening and wildlife gardening to another level by focusing not just on species diversity, but on diversity of species interaction to promote ecological conservation. According to Tallamy, "native" plants are those which have "evolved in a given place over a period of time sufficient to develop complex and essential relationships with a diversity of animals." Native plants, then, are organisms that have interacted with insects, birds, and mammals for thousands, if not millions, of years. We discuss Tallamy's perspective and the how we might tackle the challenge of implementing a conservation design -- and convincing homeowners to think of themselves as land stewards.

Up first: It's hot here in Austin, so we are talking about what early triple-digit temps mean for gardeners. Leah is looking for her niche, taking inspiration from specialist insects. 

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Mentioned in this episode: National Wildlife Federation's Native Plant Finder web tool; The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden (2014) by Roy Diblik; Planting in a Post-Wild World (2015) by Claudia West and Thomas Rainer.

Also - after recording, we found this article from the NWF about yucca moths. (Their caterpillars eat the yucca seeds and flowers, not the leaves! Then the moths pollinate the yuccas in return!)