RadioGarden and Andrew Keys are NPR-Ready


AndrewKeysGardening world, listen up!  If you haven't yet heard Andrew Keys's new podcast for Horticulture Magazine, you are in for a treat – and a surprise.  It's really good and in a really new way.  A big fan of Ira Glass and "This American Life", his aim is to tell stories about the intersection of plants and people.  Not how-to's or tips, but stories.  He told me he "wanted to take it up a notch", and after hearing just 2 episodes I can say he's done that in this one-man-show, where he does it all, including Lord knows how many hours of editing and adding sound effects.  You can listen for yourself right here or subscribe to RadioGarden here on iTunes.

The second episode includes interviews with gardening-obsessed Mindy Arbo and Dudley Cotton, whose garden you see below and on their cleverly named website – Cotton-Arbo retum.

What's next on Garden Radio?  Amy Stewart, Ivette Soler, a profile of his mother's cotton-farming family, and talking to folks at the Harvard Herbarium about plant exploration   If you have a story to tell about plants and gardening, Andrew says he'd LOVE to hear about it – just email him at [email protected].

The Unofficial Resume

From his bio we learn that he "was born in the bottomlands of Mississippi, a stone’s throw from New Orleans" and was "descended from dairymen, cotton and cane farmers."  He's always been crazy about plants but took a different turn in college, studying journalism and public relations (U.Memphis), then moved to Boston where he wrote for PR Newswire.  Then for a career change he studied architecture, but quickly veered to environmental policy (at Tufts), which got him closer (finally) to the plant world.  His resume also includes 10 years of web design, which he still does.  (See examples on the website of his tech partner).

Then in 2009, because everybody was telling him he should design gardens, he started his design business where he gets to combine his loves for plants, design AND environmental advocacy.  Currently he's pursuing a certificate in native plant horticulture and design from the New England Wildflower Society.

Andrew's a big fan of networking – online and in person – because so many opportunities have come to him via Twitter and attending just one Garden Writers meeting (where he met Horticulture's Patty Craft).  Andrew also blogs at Garden Smackdown, where he dares to go off-topic any time he gets the urge.  He's also one of the gang at the Garden Designers Roundtable.

Suddeny, Andrew Keys is everywhere!  And gardening is more interesting for it -  and a lot hipper.

So what's next for the multi-talented Mr. Keys?  More of everything, including travel – to Santa Fe for Christmas and Buenas Aires in the spring.

Photo of the Cotton-Arbo retum by permission. I am SO visiting this always-open garden the next time I'm in Boston!


  1. Wow, Susan… *I’m* gobsmacked at this profile. Thank you SO much for your kind words!

    I really would love to hear GR readers’ stories for RadioGarden. I’ve never met a gardener who didn’t have some interesting story or other, and it’s those stories I want to give voice to. Email me at the RG address above, folks! The line is open.

  2. This is my favorite line –“Suddenly, Andrew Keys is everywhere! And gardening is more interesting for it – and a lot hipper.” So true. Thanks for taking notice, and pointing it out to your audience in such a perfect review.

  3. I love Andrew’s show. I’m thrilled at his approach to garden stories. To be quite honest I get easily bored with most garden radio/podcasts about half way through because I’ve heard most of the “how-to” content before. With Andrew’s show, I listen, really listen, from start to finish. He has certainly set the bar for future garden radio journalists. I’m glad you took the time to introduce your readers to a real gem in the garden world.

  4. You guys should consider a radio interview with Holly Hirshberg, Founder of the sustainable gardening nonprofit – The Dinner Garden. She’s already a staple on Michigan’s Public Radio [Rick Tormala Show]. Baker Creek Seed just donated $90,000 in seed to The Dinner Garden so were antsy to get the word out.

  5. Andrew is SUCH a fantastic addition to the garden community! He is fresh, funny, knowledgeable, cool – and TALENTED! LOVE him!!!

    Susan, this was a fantastic profile – I’m so happy to know more about one of my new favorite people (well, to be honest I’ve been a bit of an Andrew Keys stalker for a while), and am thrilled that he is getting the attention he deserves. His podcasts are full of wit, charm, and soul – I think we are together in predicting more great things from him, right?

    RIGHT ON!!!

  6. Like Kat White (above), I usually get tired of the usual how-to of most garden shows. For a long time now I’ve been wishing for something different, but couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it should be. And then you mention he’s a fan of Ira Glass – that alone had me running (virtually, anyway) over to iTunes to subscribe to the podcast, sound unheard. I’ll listen later this afternoon when I have time to devote to the whole show. For now I’ll just tell you ( and Andrew, too, if he’s watching the comments here) that I’m thrilled to hear about this new show.

  7. Congratulations to Andrew!

    Regarding the Cotton Arbo-retum, Mindy and Dudley are truly obsessed with their spectacular garden.

    I first visited their paradiso in 1990 as a judge for a home gardening contest sponsored by Boston Magazine and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

    Even then, the garden was incredible. So good, in fact, that we judges had no problem awarding them “Best of Show.” (Their grand prize was a round-trip to Amsterdam during tulip time.)

    In the twenty years since, the garden has only gotten better. In fact, I am looking forward to featuring Mindy and Dudley and their Cotton Arbo-retum in an article to run on my website, next summer.

    I’ve already taken many of the images. The challenge is in choosing the ones to accompany the article.

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