Episode 162: Cultivating Connections with the Next Generation with Jared Barnes

Jared Barnes is an associate professor of horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he and his students cultivate The Plantery, a botanic garden complete with a native plant trial garden. Jared shares his love of plants with a wider audience through his gardening newsletter and The Plantastic Podcast, and he is also a frequent contributor to Fine Gardening. Recent topics that he has covered for the magazine include plant survival strategies, evaluating how much sunlight or shade a garden bed gets, and propagating plants from cuttings. Listen along as we learn more about what it takes to become a horticulture professor, and how to build an engaged community around a shared love of plants.


Jared grew up in northwestern Tennessee, where he first developed his love of plants and gardening.

Early in Jared’s teaching career, a flood destroyed the vegetable garden that he and his students had planted on low-lying ground near La Naña Creek.

Students saved as much produce as they could before flood waters rose to three feet, covering every plant. Read the whole story here.

Rebuilt on higher ground, the garden has become a hub of campus activity, and food crops are being grown conveniently close to classrooms.

A drone photo of the Sprout edibles garden.

In 2021, Jared and his students installed a gravel garden in the Plantery.

Events like the Spring Plant Fair give students the opportunity to sell plants and connect with the university community.

The SFA glasshouse, lit up with twinkle lights for an evening event.

A willow fence defines a bed of tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis, Zones 7-11) in the Plantery.

The ribbon cutting for the native plants trial garden was a joyous event.


If you are interested in pursuing a career in horticulture, Jared recommends seedyourfuture.org for information on jobs, scholarships, and internship opportunities in the green industry.


Here are links to a few of the most frequently downloaded epiosodes of the Plantastic Podcast:

Thomas Ranier on planting in a post wild world

Mary Phillips on gardening for wildlife

Preston Montague on urban planting and design

Matt Biggs on a home for every plant


Photos: courtesy of Jared Barnes/ Meristem  Horticulture

Source link