Andrew Keys, Boston, MA, US

Andrew Keys is a writer, designer, and lifelong gardener, host and producer of Fine Gardening’s Garden Confidential podcast. He’s also working on a book from Timber Press that’s due out in fall 2012. Andrew blogs at Garden Smackdown, and at his “Clark Kent” job, he works as the web producer for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Descended from Mississippi cotton farmers, Andrew was raised with a reverence for the land passed down generations, and first fell in love with plants among thickets of Aralia spinosa in the woods of his childhood home. He’s written for Fine Gardening and other magazines in the past, is a member of the Garden Designers Roundtable, and he’s lectured for the New England Wild Flower Society. Andrew’s company, Oakleaf Green, is centered on the philosophy that the crux of every 21st century design problem is our role as stewards of the Earth, and he’s also a Northeast Organic Farming Association-accredited organic landcare professional.

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Episode 13: Sense of Place

The French have a word, terroir, that loosely translates to "sense of place," used to describe all the cultural factors that make an agricultural crop what it is. In this episode of Garden Confidential, we take it a step further and investigate all the factors that play into sense of place, how they affect the plants in your garden--and, ultimately, how they affect you.

Episode 12: A Plant Walks Into a Bar

Ever consider what it takes to make that tall, cool beverage you're drinking right now? Unless it's straight-up water, odds are overwhelming that plants had a hand (or a leaf) in the creation of whatever quaff you're consuming.

Episode 11: Fire and Ice

Plants find ways to endure in in extreme situations, and the upshot is that where plants endure, gardeners endure too. In this episode, "Fire and Ice," we look at plants and the people growing them in very different, very extreme circumstances: Antarctica, and Southern California in wildfire season.

Episode 10: Invasion

Is it cold yet where you live? Well, we've got a topic that's forever hot to get you warmed up: invasives. In this episode, I talk to Peter Del Tredici, author of Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide. Or DownloadFrom iTunes   Now, when some people describe a plant as invasive...

Episode 9: The Secret Life of Cacti

Scott Calhoun is a native Arizonan, so he'd seen a lot of cacti growing up, but it wasn't until he was an adult that he truly discovered cacti, and not for the reason you might think...

Episode 8: Natural History

Ever notice how, when you read about a plant in an encyclopedia, there's a blurb at the bottom about how it was first discovered or described? Did you know those "original plants" are still around?

Episode 7: Return to Sender

If you've been a plant geek for any length of time, odds are you've found yourself poring over a sexy catalog promising live plants by mail. Despite mail-ordering plants as often as I have, I’m still struck by what a dubious prospect it is.

Episode 6: X and Y, Part I

"Why don't young people garden?" I can't tell you how often I've been asked that question. In this episode, I talk to Kelly Norris and Amanda Thomsen, two Gen X/Y gardeners and authors, about the "age-old" question of gardening among our generations.

Episode 5: Down to Earth

Earthworms: how well do you really know them? I'm betting worms have more to do with your above-ground world than you know. In this episode, I talk to Amy Stewart, author of The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms about why.

Episode 4: Cabbage Patch

Where do new plants come from? In this episode, I talk to Dan Heims, president of Terra Nova Nurseries, and arguably one of the harbingers of Heuchera as a household name.

Episode 3: Tannenbaum

The Christmas tree is a holiday horticultural icon, and in this episode, we give you two slightly skewed tales of the storied evergreen. Andrew Keys talks to writer Pamela Price of the blog Red, White & Grew about a particularly Texan Tannenbaum, followed by an essay from Fine Gardening blogger Amanda Thomsen of Kiss My Aster.

Episode 2: A to Z

What plant-y things are you thankful for this year? Hear our favorites from "A to Z," this month's theme. Andrew Keys talks to the staff at Fine Gardening and Ray Rogers, editor of the American Horticultural Society's A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants.

Episode 1: A Garden to Remember

Welcome to the very first episode of Fine Gardening's first podcast, Garden Confidential: Stories at the intersection of people and plants. This month's theme is "A Garden to Remember." Andrew Keys talks with guests about why we turn to gardens as memorials.

Recent comments

Re: Episode 6: X and Y, Part I

Hi Dave - Very good question! We got a bit sidetracked on Part II, but I'm hoping to get to it sometime this year. Glad you enjoyed Part I and the podcast in general, and more importantly, thanks for listening!

Re: Episode 9: The Secret Life of Cacti

Thank you so much! We're always thrilled to hear when people enjoy listening.

Re: The Lemon Bar

HILARIOUS. Next time, you can just mess with them on purpose, and still have a lemon bar...

Re: Episode 6: X and Y, Part I

Hi commenters! Thanks so much to both of you for your wonderfully positive comments! @BombasticTurtle, I am so with you, and it's great to hear anytime someone "catches the bug" enough to be a living example of why gardening is so great. @Alice and Carmen, thank you too, and I agree, I think my generation (or generations, since I'm smack in the middle of X and Y) are actually far more interested in gardening than maybe the market has realized yet, they're just articulating it and consuming it in a different way all their own.

Thanks for listening and sharing your thoughts, and have a great weekend!

Re: Reality Check

Ha! Gardening is far, far more like reality TV than maybe it's best to consider.

Re: The Taming of the Yew

I love mine! But then they were inverted pyramids I chopped to the ground when we moved here five years ago and let grow back in a more natural, picturesque way. They look awesome now.

Re: Which came first?

I'm obsessed with the color that pot happens to be. Obsessed, I tell you! Dear Santa...