Let's Argue About Plants

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314 reviews
This podcast has
99 episodes
Date created
Average duration
51 min.
Release period
14 days


The podcast for people who love plants—but not always the same ones. Brought to you by the editors of Fine Gardening, this fun, informative podcast tackles all things topical in gardening. You’ll listen to the insights (and arguments) of Editor-in-Chief Steve Aitken and Senior Editor Danielle Sherry as they discuss various horticultural subjects on a deeper level. You will also hear from today’s leading horticultural minds who will offer their wisdom and opinions about what you might want to grow in your garden. We guarantee you’ll be entertained and feel like a better gardener.

Podcast episodes

Check latest episodes from Let's Argue About Plants podcast

Episode: 113 Big and Bold Plants
The original title of this episode was, Big and Bold Plants for the Back of the Border. But between the length and the tongue-twister alliteration, we shorted it a bit for promotional purposes. However, on today’s program you’ll hear all about plants that really stand out in the last row of the garden choir. These perennials and shrubs are tall, yes. But they have so much more going for them than simply their towering presence. The featured plants offer a grounding and bold backdrop for your garden beds, but don’t flop all over the place. Some have excellent texture, others bodacious blooms, and a few even provide that beefiness during all four seasons. If you’re looking for something to enhance—not just fill in—the back of the border, give this episode a listen. Special guest: Courtney Olander, landscape designer from Seattle, Washington.
Episode 112: Best Cutting Garden Flowers
When late May and June hits, we can’t help wandering out into the garden with a pair of shears in hand. Bringing fresh flowers into the house seems like a seasonal rite of passage for most gardeners (at least those that don’t have allergies). But it can be a hard to cut those precious blooms and take them away from the landscape. That’s why today we’re talking about plants (perennials, annuals, and even shrubs) that we grow specifically for their flower-power. These options provide plenty of blooms for the garden AND the vase, and that’s why they’re our favorites. We span the color spectrum as well, with recommendations for every hue imaginable. And, we even have several selections that are deliciously fragrant. If you’re looking to add some cutting garden oomph to your beds and borders, give this episode a listen.   Special guest: Christine  Alexander, digital content editor for Fine Gardening.com
Episode 111: Weed Suppressing Ground Covers
Is there anything ground covers can’t do? They are useful in problem areas like steep slopes, under trees and shrubs, and in spaces that need erosion control. They also reduce maintenance by enveloping areas that would ordinarily need a boatload of mulch to keep weeds at bay. Now, not all ground covers play nice. Some species will not only cover bare ground, but they will choke out neighboring plants. But that’s not the plants we’re talking about today. We’re focusing on ground covers that will spread out thickly, but politely, and smother out any potential weeds in the process. We discuss options for sun, shade, and even drought tolerant selections for those truly hellish spots. And in case you think we’re too East Coast centric, today’s expert calls in from California to offer up some plants that thrive in the Western half of the country. Expert testimony: Fionuala Campion is the owner and manager of Cottage Gardens of Petaluma in Petaluma, California.
Episode 110: Best Gift Plants
Always give a gift that you yourself would like to receive. That’s excellent advice when it comes to life-- and as gardeners, we can extend that sentiment to giving plants as gifts. Ask yourself: what plants would I like to get as a gift? We had a lot of fun on today’s episode, imagining the scenarios in which we’d give our friends, neighbors, or even strangers particular plants that would convey our feelings of happiness, sympathy, or just pure joy. Need a wedding present that’s truly unique this season? Well give a listen to our suggestion for a perfect small tree that will grow right along with the love that the couple has for one another. OK, we promise, the other suggestions aren’t nearly as sappy.   Special guest: Scott Endres is a designer and horticulturist at Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis.
Episode 109: Shopping List Plants
Little kids have Christmas. Gardeners have spring. To us, this is the most wonderful time of the year. And with the start of the season, comes those inevitable trips to the nursery. In an effort to not max out their credit cards, this spring Carol and Danielle are making shopping lists of plants that they will be on the hunt for. These species are going to fill a particular need or want in their gardens, and they might do the same for you. Listen today to see what our hosts are dreaming of adding to their beds and borders. Special guest: Kim Toscano is a horticulturalist based in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She previously hosted Oklahoma Gardening, a weekly PBS television program produced by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.
Episode 108: Problem Solving Perennials
Yes, that’s right: plants can solve problems. Maybe not problems like those noisy neighbors next door or your husband failing to replace the toilet paper roll, time and time again. But plants can solve problems like a barren patch of garden under a shallow-rooted tree, or a lack of pollinators in your yard. Today’s array of fantastic perennials are plants that can address conditional or pest problems that you may be struggling with. Need a vole-proof, pollinator magnet? We’ve got one. Need a plant that will deter teenagers from driving on your lawn? We have that too. Listen now for more plants that you’ll need to add to your list of must-haves this year. Special guest: Sabrena Schweyer and her husband, Samuel Salsbury, own and manage Salsbury-Schweyer Inc., a sustainable landscape design and development group based in Akron, Ohio.
Episode 107: Skinny Plants
They’re often called the “exclamation points” of the landscape, drawing attention in a not-so-subtle way. Of course, we’re talking about columnar (AKA fastigiate) plants and today we’re highlighting some of the best options. Skinny plants are invaluable for several reasons other than their ability to catch the eye. They also have a small footprint which makes them ideal for siting in narrow places including along the side of a house or in a tight spot between established plants in a border. Their habit is clear, concise, and always intriguing. Along with our guest, Richie Steffen from the Elizabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden, we’re discussing skinny trees, shrubs, and even a few perennials that will give your garden an instant focal point like no other. Special guest: Richie Steffen is executive director for the Elisabeth C. Miller Botanical Garden in Seattle, Washington.
Episode 106: Spring Natives
Even though there’s still snow on the ground for many of us, warmer weather is most definitely on our brains. So today we’re going to be talking about native plants that put on a spectacular show in spring. And, although we’re a podcast based out of New England, the plants we decided to talk about have an extensive native range (even into Texas!). There is an exquisitely fragrant perennial, a self-sowing ephemeral, a delicious edible, and several trees and shrubs that bloom so prolifically in April, May, and June you’d think it was their only job. Want a list of nearly a dozen native plants that are show-stoppers? Then press play now!  Special guest: Nancy J. Ondra is a garden photographer, author, freelance editor, and licensed seed seller who lives and gardens on four acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Episode 105: Underappreciated Veggies
There’s no reason to tell everyone how great ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes are because everyone already knows! And the same goes for ‘Blue Lake’ green beans or ‘Hot Wax’ peppers. We all know these names because they are great varieties that vegetable gardeners have relied on for decades. Yet, there are a bunch of lesser-known veggies that deserve the same praise, but their PR agents aren’t the best. On this episode Carol and Danielle are taking the time to call out some of the unsung heroes of their veggie gardens. These are varieties that have proven themselves over and over, but their names aren’t generally well-known in edible circles. We’re hoping to change that after today! Special guest: Steve Bellavia conducts vegetable research as a product manager for Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Maine.
Episode 104: Plants for Winter Interest
If you live in the Northeast, Mountain West, or Midwest your idea of winter interest is certainly different than say, a gardener living in the South. Those of us who live in cooler locales are often satisfied with calling any plant that sticks its head above a snowbank “a winter stunner.” But in today’s episode we’re holding the bar a bit higher and talking about plants that really do save their best for the months of December, January, and February. We discuss shrubs that flower in winter, perennials that are evergreen, and even a few trees that every garden (regardless of geographic location) would benefit from. Our special guest is from Montana, so if she can find plants for winter interest, you know that anyone can. Special guest: Kielian DeWitt lives and gardens on a horse ranch in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana.
Episode 103: Seeds We’re Starting
Is there a better time of year than seed-ordering season? You may shop for seeds online, or perhaps you prefer the analog version (like us) of paper catalogs. Regardless, ordering and starting seeds is an act of defiance against the winter conditions outside. Starting seeds says, “Hey snow and ice--you don’t scare me! I know spring is right around the corner.” Today we’ll talk about the seeds that have made it into our virtual shopping carts this year and tell you a little bit about what a particular variety was deemed a must-have. Carol, being the resident seed-starting expert offers up some ornamental and edible options, while Danielle sticks to tried-and-true veggies. Joining the hosts on this episode is digital content manager for FG, Christine Alexander who has some extra insight to share after she started a slew of seeds last year to grow her own wedding flowers. What did well--and what didn’t? Tune in to find out. Special guest: Christine  Alexander, digital content manager for Fine Gardening.
Episode 102: Favorite Self-Sowers
What if you could have a garden that basically planted itself? The idea isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Self-sowing plants are delightfully serendipitous plants that will happily disperse seed without any intervention from you. Yes, there are lots of plants out there that spread indiscriminately and obnoxiously--but those are not the ones we are discussing in this episode. Instead, we’re focusing on an array of perennials, annuals, and even edibles that will create offspring politely--filling in gaps and blank spots in your beds and borders. The English have embraced the idea of self-sowers more readily than gardeners stateside, but on today’s podcast we argue that opportunistic plants have a place in virtually every garden. Listen now to find out which self-sowers dance through our gardens (and driveways). Expert testimony: Amanda Thomsen is a horticulturist, garden designer, and author based in suburban Chicago.

Podcast Reviews

Read Let's Argue About Plants podcast reviews

4.5 out of 5
314 reviews
actually-karen 2022/06/19
Even when
Even when I don’t think I’m going to be interested in a particular topic… I ALWAYS hear a new tip and enjoy the podcast! I like the hosts of course bu...
Mauz55 2022/03/12
What happened to Steve? Bad Form
I still enjoy the podcast (guiltily). When you dump a guy, you should probably at least acknowledge his contributions on his last show.
mauimc 2022/04/23
No argument best plant podcast !
I’ve been looking and finally found a great podcast. They seem friendly, happy and are incredibly amazing about sharing their knowledge. It’s like ha...
dancdud 2022/04/13
One of my favorite gardening podcasts
Although I do miss Steve and the back and forth banter. I am really happy it was Carol that was his replacement, I enjoyed when she was a guest in pas...
andy sixxxxxxx 2022/03/12
Variety is the spice of gardening
I love this podcast. As a newer to intermediate gardener I love hearing more experienced gardeners talk about their success and their challenges. This...
ADW1973 2022/03/04
Real plants and real experience
Finally. Actual info instead of “the joy of gardening” banalities. Great to include a wide range of horticulturists. Appreciate their including info ...
cldwingfield 2022/02/13
Where’s the “arguing?” The chemistry is not there anymore. I guess all good things must come to an end.
MoscowTim 2022/03/03
Yes, we hate ads at the start, middle and end. Immediately turned off and unfollow.
Xv532 2022/02/12
I miss Steve
No arguing about plants anymore. The dynamic is very different and less entertaining.
IntlMom3 2022/01/30
I miss Steve
It’s just not the same anymore - I always looked forward to each weekly episode, not so much anymore.


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