Episode 13: Featuring Poet and Author Camille T. Dungy New Jersey Artist Susan Darwin and Designer Claudia West

Episode 13 is now available on Spotify, Apple, Google, and Amazon

The WildStory: A Podcast of Poetry and Plants by the Native Plant Society of New Jersey

Hosted by Ann E. Wallace, PhD
Poet Laureate of Jersey City

Co-host Kim Correro,
Rutgers Master Gardener and Director of State Programs

Special Contributor Dr. Randi Eckel
Entomologist and Vice President of Membership NPSNJ

Do you have a question about native plants for Randi?

Listen to Episode 13 Here

In episode 13, Camille T. Dungy (0:03:00), a renowned poet, essayist, and memoirist, joins Ann Wallace in conversation about her book Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden, published by Simon and Schuster in 2023 and now out in paperback. Soil is a book that invites us into Camille’s native plant prairie project at her home in Colorado, but it is also about much more than that, taking us back to the year 2020 and making record not only of the story of a garden but of the context—familial, national, historical, ecological, social—from which it sprang. 

In Ask Randi, Dr. Randi Eckel (0:35:00) makes a special announcement about the 2024 NPSNJ mini-grant program. She then answers a question from Tom in Connecticut, who is on a tight budget and needs help choosing colorful native plants that will bloom throughout the seasons.

Ann then speaks with Susan Darwin (0:46:48), New Jersey artist and member of the Native Plant Society, who discovered us through the annual conference while working on her New Jersey 2023 series of paintings. Susan is nearly halfway through her 10-year location series, in which she artistically explores a different place each year. Her New Jersey 2023 exhibit, featuring 20 paintings from across the state, is currently on display at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit and all are invited to attend the artist reception on the afternoon of Saturday, June 29.

To close out the episode, Kim and Ann talk with Claudia West (1:03:31), a seasoned professional in her field. Claudia is a landscape designer, grower, installer, and land manager. She is also co-owner of Phyto Studio and co-author of the highly acclaimed book Planting in a Post-Wild World, which has been a valuable resource for many gardeners.