A Conversation with the Co-Hosts of the Native Plants, Healthy Planet Podcast

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Show notes:

Sometimes it’s just fun to sit down and have a fun conversation with other people in the industry, and that’s exactly what we did in this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast. In this episode, I talk with Fran Chismar and Tom Knezick. Fran is the Sultan of Sales for Pinelands Nursery and the co-host of the Native Plants, Healthy Planet Podcast. Tom is the General Manager at Pinelands Nursery, the owner of Pinelands Direct Native Plants, and the other co-host of the Native Plants, Healthy Planet Podcast.

This was a very fun, relaxed, free-form conversation that covered a wide variety of topics related to native plants, the native plant industry, and gardening with native plants among other things. We all enjoyed hearing the perspectives and stories of someone from a different part of the country because Tom and Fran are in New Jersey, while I’m located in Kentucky.

Many parts of our conversation came back to the shared belief that we need to make space for everyone in the native plant community. We don’t all need to have the same knowledge levels or goals. One person may be completely new to the world of native plants, while someone else may have decades of experience. Another person may be interested in growing native plants for pollinators, while someone else may be planting fields of native plants to improve quail habitat. There are a million different entry points and levels of involvement, and that’s ok. We’re all working towards the same overall goals, and we can accomplish so much more together, than any of us can on our own.

We also discussed some of the challenges associated with obtaining native plants as a consumer and growing native plants for a nursery. Later, our conversation turned towards common questions that we get asked, such as “What is a native plant?” and the flipside of that question, “What is an invasive plant?” While on the surface, both those answers may seem simple, the more we dig into them, the more complicated the answers become. We agreed that we don’t have the answers, and nobody really does, but that it’s important to be having these conversations and asking these questions.

Our conversation continued to twist and turn as we talked about how important it is to give kids the opportunity to connect with nature and shared our own childhood memories of spending time outside. We covered a lot of ground and a lot of different topics in this conversation, and I encourage everyone to check out the Native Plants, Healthy Planet podcast to hear more from Tom and Fran.


Episode image:

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at www.backyardecology.net.

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