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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.

Jan 7, 2022

Happy New Year! We’re back from vacation with a discussion of a book that is very much in the Horticulturati wheelhouse, The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden. Author Roy Diblik, a Wisconsin-based designer and plantsman, argues that anyone can build a “design-magazine-worthy garden at home” by thoughtfully combining perennials to form functional plant communities that need little more than an annual mow – almost no irrigation, mulch, or hand-pruning required. This low-maintenance method could be a revelation for residential and commercial landscapes alike, but can it work in Texas, with our balmy winters and scorching summers? Is there a way to implement the mowing-for-maintenance concept using electric, rather than gas, machines? Colleen is inspired to experiment as she redesigns her front yard.

Next, we review a documentary short, The Soul of a Farmer, by filmmaker Roger Sherman. Chef-turned-grower Patty Gentry of Early Girl Farm rents three acres in Long Island from Isabella Rosselini (!!!), who calls Patty “the Picasso of Vegetables.” Sidestepping many of the tropes of farm-to-table docs (Gentry admits she’d probably be living out of her truck if it weren’t for her spouse’s financial support) this film paints an honest portrait of the struggles and small victories of one artisanal vegetable grower as she transitions from wholesale growing for restaurants to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. Food porn ahead! 

If you’re SERIOUS about gardening, join our Patreon at $5/month and get bonus “in the weeds” content from this episode, video classes, and early access to the show! In this edition of the bonus, Colleen shares her plant list for the front yard, and the mulch conundrum continues. We’re talkin’ hydrophobic crustiness, the virtues of leaf mold versus pine straw, and so much more! 

Email or leave us a message on the Horticulturati Hotline at 347-WAP-HORT.

Photo credit Patrice Casanova/First Run Features