What was it that F. Scott Fitzgerald said? That there are no second acts in American lives? He was clearly no gardener. We get a new act every spring. I took comfort in this thought as I planted out seedlings yesterday, musing about my fledgling new career in radio.
One aspect of gardening about which I am passionate is how our craft brings you face to face with the realities of natural systems. You can’t work with plants without sooner or later noticing how the life in the soil affects the health of your plants and in turn the size of your harvest. And it’s hard to remain blind to the realities of climate change as, year by year, you notice spring shrubs and bulbs blooming earlier and earlier and the fall frost arriving later.
It frustrated me that the traditional print media for which I worked through my first career, gardening magazines and newspaper columns, were so reluctant to publish anything about these environmental realities. That doesn’t sell products, the editors would explain, and that makes our advertisers unhappy. GardenRant has provided a forum for such discussions – along with input pro and con from readers. But I’ve been looking to expand my reach.
That’s why, for the last year, I’ve been volunteering for my local public radio station, WESU FM. This spring I took the station’s training for radio hosts, and completed four on-air internships. I petitioned to produce a half hour program, “Growing Greener” that would bring to listeners leading voices in the environmental gardening community. Just a couple of weeks ago, the station managers agreed to allow me a half hour of air-time on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-6:30.
It has been a scramble. I’ve had a lot to learn about editing sound files, and how to structure a show. The station staff, largely students from Wesleyan University, have been very helpful. Likewise, the people I contacted for interviews have been wonderfully supportive. Dr. Douglas Tallamy, the great entomologist from the University of Delaware and the author of Bringing Nature Home, took the time to speak with me for my very first program, which broadcast last week. I’ve had a great time calling gardeners who are my heroes such as Larry Weaner and Margaret Roach, and finding them universally encouraging. As a result, I can promise listeners a succession of interesting and provocative half hours.
Which brings me back to you. I have come to depend on the GardenRant readers for strong and varied opinions and insights. I’m hoping some of you will transfer that to my radio program. You can stream it live at wesufm.org, or download it any time you want from the station archive (same web address) under the heading of “Growing Greener”. Every program lists, at its end, a web address where you can submit comments or suggestions. I’m hoping I can count on you.