North Salem gardening experts launch new podcast series, Parsley & Sage
Gardening is for engineers. Gardening is for artists. Gardening is for mathematicians. Gardening, Pam Pooley and Jeanne Farewell insist, is for everyone.
In their new podcast, Parsley & Sage, North Salem residents and gardening experts Pooley and Farewell make gardening accessible for just about anyone who wants to learn.
“I’m very fascinated by the questions that friends or clients ask,” Pooley said. “They’re often the same: where do I begin? How do I start? Why don’t my hydrangeas bloom?” Those types of questions are what prompted Pooley to partner with Farewell to produce a podcast series that answers common gardening questions.
“The idea that a newer gardener could listen and gain some perspectives on how to look at their landscape in a new way is really what we’re after,” explained Pooley. “Gardening is a work in progress; it’s never really done. We want to convey that you’re safe with trial and error and that it’s ok to make mistakes.”
“Bear in mind that the garden is for you, and should be about you.” –Jeanne Farewell
Pooley said it was moving to North Salem many years ago that inspired her own love of gardening. “I’d look outside longingly while on my computer,” she shared. “I became pretty obsessed with trying things.”
Pooley began taking classes at the New York Botanical Gardens to expand her knowledge. A track focused on horticulture and landscape design piqued her interest. Just as she was diving deeper into the world of gardens, Pooley and her family relocated to London for her husband’s job. Pooley took the opportunity to use the time abroad to explore gardens throughout the United Kingdom. “It was a great lesson in design principles and garden shows, which are immersive experiences,” Pooley said.
After three years in the U.K., Pooley and her family returned to the U.S. and Pooley once again immersed herself in the land, picking up both residential and public gardening experiences, including as a horticultural manager for a large equestrian facility in North Salem.
Farewell, meanwhile, brings a completely different set of experiences to her gardening outlook. A classical pianist, author and artist, Farewell sees gardening as another form of art. “In literature and music, there’s a narrative element, a storyline. That’s what I go for in gardens,” Farewell said. “I want to walk down a path, then go into a garden ‘room.’ It’s like an unfolding narrative.” Farewell also shared that the study of art is broadly applicable to gardening. “In studying art, you learn about focal points, foreground, background, etc. You can apply all of that to the garden as well,” she said.
In Parsley & Sage, Pooley and Farewell play off of one another’s unique perspectives and approaches to gardening. Either Pooley or Farewell takes the lead in each 15-minute, unscripted episode, depending on the topic. The show’s first three episodes cover starting a garden, planting with personality, and selecting trees. In future episodes, the duo will cover topics such as how to hide ugly fences, coping with eco anxiety, and their favorite tools, including battery-operated equipment.
Pooley said that having differing perspectives on gardening makes for a better podcast experience for the listener. “It’s much more dynamic and interesting to have a different point of view,” she said. “I didn’t want to work with another business person like myself because we’d probably have similar tales. Jeanne’s day job is music and art; she brings her talents to her garden work, which is so fascinating.”
For locals who want to improve their gardening game, Pooley and Farewell have some suggestions. Pooley favors a focus on education, through classes, webinars and seminars. Farewell stresses the importance of immersion and making connections. She recommends joining a local garden club, such as Connecticut-based Mad Gardeners or The Garden Conservancy. “Garden clubs provide a lot of inspiration and are a really great way to get ideas and gain garden knowledge,” Pooley agreed.
No matter where people are on their gardening journey, Pooley and Farewell hope that Parsley & Sage will inspire a love for what nature can grow. “Gardening is restorative. It revitalizes and rejuvenates you,” Farewell said. Pooley couldn’t agree more. “When I’m working with plants I really feel like I’m getting energy from them. At the end of the day, instead of being tired, I feel energized.”