huge perennials, perfume, foodscaping_ declaring some ‘traits,’ with jared barnes

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EACH YEAR, the powers that be within the horticulture business declare what the traits are, what colour is in, and what design kinds we’re all meant to stick to—and what plant is sizzling, or not. Dr. Jared Barnes and I encourage to vary, and have determined to do some pattern declarations of our personal, from huge, daring perennials (like Baptisia, silhouetted within the morning mild, above) to why you need to study to propagate and share some crops.

Jared is an affiliate professor of horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State College in Texas, and the creator of the “Planted” weblog and e-newsletter, and the month-to-month “Plantastic Podcast.” He’s been gardening since about age 5, and I used to be glad to talk with him, to do some forecasting collectively.

Learn alongside as you hearken to the February 27, 2023 version of my public-radio present and podcast utilizing the participant under. You possibly can subscribe to all future editions on Apple Podcasts (iTunes) or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts right here).

naming our personal backyard traits, with jared barnes

Margaret Roach: Good day, Jared. Now we have so many mates in frequent, and crops in frequent [laughter].

Jared Barnes: Sure, positively. And I additionally wish to say thanks a lot for all that you just put into the world to make the world extra plantastic.

Margaret: Properly, ditto.

Jared: So, I respect it.

Margaret: I’ve been subscribing to your e-newsletter, which I take pleasure in very a lot, and studying an increasing number of of your weblog, so it’s mutual. Just a little background, you simply inform us rapidly: You educate horticulture. The place do you backyard? Do you’ve a backyard, a house backyard?

Jared: Certain. I dwell in East Texas. I’m a professor at Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches, Texas. We’re a pleasant college. We’ve received about 12,000 college students. And of these, now we have quite a lot of college students which are enthusiastic about crops. I additionally oversee our horticulture program, and our scholar botanic backyard, the Plantery, the place we entice and herald passionate, proficient college students, to assist us have fun crops with the neighborhood. It’s positively enjoyable.

I dwell about 20 minutes outdoors of city, and my spouse and I’ve a 2-1/2 acre homestead referred to as Ephemera Farm, the place we have fun the small moments of life that make life price dwelling. We’ve received stunning wildflowers that bloom within the spring, the stalwarts of summer time, after which after all fall curiosity that leads into winter curiosity as properly too. We’ve lived there about 5, six years now. It’s positively been enjoyable to begin from scratch, naked soil, and construct a backyard from that.

Margaret: That’s nice.

Jared: Thanks.

Margaret: I learn a current submit you’d did in your weblog concerning the naming of the place, Ephemera Farm. Very Buddhist; I liked it [laughter]. Celebrating-

Jared: Thanks.

Margaret: …as a result of as they are saying, “Nothing lasts.”

Jared: That’s true. That’s true.

Margaret: Nothing lasts. And holding on too tight, pretending it can, is just not going to get you wherever [laughter].

Within the intro, I promised we’d introduced Jared and Margaret’s 2023 backyard traits [laughter]. The heck with the business’s listing. Not likely; there’s loads of good ones on the business listing. It’s simply that I’ve different issues I wish to shout out to individuals, and I do know you do too. However possibly we should always begin by predicting which you could’t predict the climate anymore [laughter]. Final week, between Saturday and Saturday I used to be minus 14 and plus 54. And I feel you Texans have had some disturbing chilly snaps your self, sure?

Jared: Now we have. Two years in the past at our home… In actual fact it’s been, it’s principally now two 12 months anniversary as a result of it was Valentine’s Day weekend. We received right down to damaging 6 levels Fahrenheit. And at our home in East Texas, we dwell just a little outdoors of the city. Right here on the town it was solely damaging 3. However the factor to remove from that’s that we’re usually zone 8b, and we have been 6a for no less than eight hours. We have been under zero for no less than eight hours as a result of I checked earlier than I went to mattress at midnight, and it was already under zero.

After which again earlier than Christmas, we have been 9 levels Fahrenheit. I positively see that as we go ahead sooner or later, we’re going to have to begin fascinated about crops which are extra resilient. For us right here in East Texas, we’ve received quite a lot of broadleaf evergreens which have now had two tough winters out of three years. And final winter we had a really dry spell, so quite a lot of our spring ephemerals took a very long time to emerge. I assumed it was going to be perpetually till bloodroot emerged. Looking for crops which are extra resilient in landscapes is certainly one thing we’re going to must look extra into.

Margaret: A pattern I do know that we each wish to see come true, as a result of I’ve learn once more, your weblog and e-newsletter and so forth, is huge perennials. Inform me about a few of your huge perennials. What’s a giant perennial?

Jared: Properly, a giant perennial is a plant that achieves some mass all through some level within the rising season. This may very well be early on, and for me, I do attempt to try to have a few of these in my backyard, like Baptisia alba [above]. A few of the baptisias, now we have truly baptisias right here in Texas that get 6, 7 ft tall simply.

In April, when the backyard is simply getting up and getting going, having that early mass is basically good. However the different factor, too, is that with these huge perennials, I feel particularly with extra curiosity in naturalistic design and doing this design plant communities, we’d like these major crops, these anchors within the panorama, to guarantee that now we have curiosity, and issues that we are able to form of maintain all through the season, in order that method individuals have multiseason curiosity on a few of these species. In order that’s one of many causes I really like Baptisia a lot is that, you get these early spring flowers, you then have this stemmy mass of plant tissue that lasts on into the autumn. For us in East Texas, baptisias have a tendency to begin going dormant truly in early September. They begin to fade away then. However then you definitely’re left with these stunning pods which are left behind for winter curiosity.

And the opposite factor, too, that I really like about these is that I don’t assume lots of people respect this about Baptisia and the wild indigos, however they’ve this tumbleweed motion, the place once we get these stiff December winds that begin coming by, Baptisia will begin breaking off on the base, and form of tumble.

Margaret: Oh, how humorous [laughter].

Jared: I do know. It’s a superb seed dispersal mechanism. So it’s an effective way to unfold your seeds round, simply tumble alongside and simply each time you hit the bottom, knock just a few out.

Margaret: Cool. I began with huge perennials possibly 35 years in the past, was what I used to be most interested in. With huge foliage like for us Astilboides [above], and its relative, Rodgersia. And I’ve a late bloomer, you have been simply speaking a few huge daring factor that occurs early, which is fantastic. However Lespedeza thunbergii, the bush clover, and that might simply get to be this large, nearly seems like a shrub, but it surely’s herbaceous. It may be purple or white flowers, and the bugs actually adore it and so forth.

The native goat’s beard that now we have, and I don’t know the way far south it goes, Aruncus dioicus, or nevertheless you say it. Boy, that will get to be additionally like a shrub. And now we have a local spikenard, Aralia racemosa, that additionally it takes on shrub stature, and flowers and fruits and so forth, huge insect attractor, a local. It takes on shrub stature regardless that it’s herbaceous and dies to the bottom within the winter right here.

So yeah, these are some nice ones. After which there’s one from the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. I don’t know should you’ve ever seen it, Darmera peltata.

Jared: I’ve heard of it.

Margaret: Oh my goodness. These umbrellas on these large stems, nearly like, properly over thigh, possibly hip excessive, and these huge inexperienced umbrellas on prime, and simply actually enjoyable. So yeah, numerous good, huge… I really like, that’s my factor, is huge perennials. Positively.

Jared: Superior. After which one other one which I really like right here is Rudbeckia maxima. Big cone flower. And so for us in East Texas is definitely a four-season plant, as a result of for us, it by no means actually goes dormant within the wintertime, even when it will get knocked again fairly exhausting. So you’ve that stunning glaucous green-blue foliage all through many of the wintertime to take pleasure in. [Above, the bold foliage of R. maxima in a bed at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.]

Margaret: No, I don’t, Jared [laughter].

Jared: Properly, no less than we do. At the very least we do. So I grew up in Tennessee, and even for my mother and father, it could die again to the bottom yearly and reemerge within the spring. However for us, quite a lot of instances once we do our January mow backs and cutbacks, we’ll already received foliage up, and we’ll simply minimize it to the bottom and it pops again up. However I used to be amazed how thick it will get within the ditches right here. There’s ditches out by the place I dwell, and actually it’s simply stable Rudbeckia maxima for most likely 100 ft. So sure.

Margaret: Now we have the large Joe-Pye weeds late within the season as properly. And now we have a Vernonia, an ironweed, which even known as New York ironweed, Vernonia noveboracensis. And that will get to be whoa, like method tall. Yeah. Enjoyable bloomer. So numerous these prairie-ish crops, prairie crops which are statuesque, too.

So huge crops, we wish to say to individuals, “Put them into your panorama as a result of they offer a special visible influence.” They break it up, don’t they?

Jared: Yeah, they do. They positively present some oomph in your panorama. So if in case you have huge perennials, some issues to consider are, quite a lot of instances individuals wish to find them extra in direction of the again of beds, or the again of plantings, however that doesn’t imply which you could’t put one up entrance for influence. so it’s nearly like a random planting.

And the opposite factor too is that, a few of them do reply to early season cutback, the place you go in and simply minimize the foliage down, possibly try this Chelsea Chop. After which that may assist to stop some floppage in a while within the rising season.

Margaret: Yeah. So right here, the explanation it’s referred to as Chelsea Chop is as a result of it’s often performed within the UK across the time of the Chelsea Flower Present in Could.

Jared: Precisely.

Margaret: So it’s like when issues are partway up, you narrow them again possibly by a half or a 3rd. And it really works nice for issues like quite a lot of the aster kinfolk and even Sedum, the large tall sedums, and plenty of different issues. So, you get just a little later the bloom begins, however just a little bushier, and rather less tall of a peak. Yeah?

Jared: Sure. After which the opposite factor too that we take care of right here within the Deep South is that as a result of we do have such a protracted rising season and issues can get so dry, we have a tendency to begin having crops that present what they name “the nekkid knees” [laughter], the place it’s like, it’s form of knee peak and decrease, waist peak and decrease, you’ve principally open stem tissue, and it’s quite a lot of instances crinkly, nearly useless foliage. And so generally a pleasant cutback in Could stunts that plant back-

Margaret: I see.

Jared: … and makes it fuller and bushier, in order that method it will probably develop higher after which look extra cleaner, in a while within the rising season.

Margaret: So we might discuss huge crops for a very long time, however let’s simply transfer on. Once we emailed and communicated the opposite day, you have been predicting just a few different sizzling traits of 2023 [laughter]. What else do you’ve in your listing?

Jared: Properly, one of many issues that on the listing was carnivorous crops. As a result of I don’t know if this has ever been on a traits listing, however they’re sizzling, as a result of one of many issues I really like about working with college students is which you could all the time see what individuals gravitate towards, and what they’re very enthusiastic about.

And so a few of the extra tropical pitcher crops like Nepenthes, however then after all we are able to’t neglect our natives as properly, too. And so, one of many issues we’re engaged on right here is attempting to get extra variety of a few of our native species, like Sarracenia alata, which is considered one of our native pitcher crops, Sarracenia rosea, getting seed of those, after which truly instructing college students how you can germinate them, after which develop them on. As a result of should you’ve received carnivorous crops, they promote hotcakes, because the plethora of individuals on Instagram can share and discuss.

Margaret: Sure, it’s positively a collector’s factor. It’s like this… And at the same time as a “houseplant,” at the same time as an offshoot of the houseplant craze, there are people who find themselves… like that nice nursery, California Carnivores, that’s been in enterprise perpetually, out on the West Coast. They usually promote them not only for planting out within the panorama. However they’re nice for making, if in case you have a moist space of your backyard, like a boggy form of space, or actually fantastic for these forms of spots within the backyard as properly, or for creating that kind of a spot, just a little poolish form of boggy spot. [Above, Sarracenia ‘Dixie Lace’.]

Jared: And I’ve truly seen individuals too, simply dig out a gap of their panorama, paint a kiddie pool black, after which set that down into the soil, after which truly fill that with a peat moss/sand combine after which simply plant the carnivorous crops immediately into that. So that you simply received to maintain it moist. However there’s quite a lot of actually artistic methods about how individuals can combine these into their landscapes, particularly the native ones.

Margaret: In order that’s like a fake bathroom.

Jared: Yeah, precisely.

Margaret: [Laughter.] A trompe l’oeil bathroom made out of kiddie pool. That’s a good suggestion.

Jared: Yeah, yeah. It’s a fake bathroom. Yeah.

Margaret: Yeah. There’s such essential components of sure native habitats, and but their territory on this planet has been abused and misplaced and so forth. Seeing them in nature is fairly superb.

Jared: Yeah, and that’s a part of the surprise of crops is I really feel like all gardeners have to play a job in attempting to preserve, and rescue, and be a part of. And that doesn’t imply exit and dig crops up within the wild, however everytime you discover them out there within the commerce, positively making just a little pocket space of our gardens, for a few of these extra excessive specialists, that want extra particular forms of circumstances to develop in.

Margaret: Yeah. So what else is in your listing?

Jared: Properly, one other one which I’ve on the listing is, I feel that this may very well be the 12 months of canopy crops.

Margaret: Oh, actually [laughter]?

Jared: As a result of, I feel we have to educate folks that, you’ll want to be fascinated about maintaining the bottom lined. And this is among the rules of naturalistic design, but it surely’s additionally, I feel, one of many rules that must be in vegetable gardens. And Mom Nature hates naked soil. She does. And so, if we’re profiting from cowl crops to go in there and plant in our gardens the place we’ve received open spots, then I feel that we’re extra aching to assist seize carbon, present habitat for pollinators and early beneficials, repair issues within the soil, possibly repair nitrogen. There’s proof that a few of the mustard crops may have excessive ranges of sulfur, that may assist take care of pathogens within the soil.

Margaret: Sure, they’ll. Sure.

Jared: And the opposite factor too is that, I realized about cowl crops from studying Eliot Coleman’s e-book, “The New Natural Grower.”

Margaret: Me, too.

Jared: So that is an concept I’ve have for a very long time. However I feel we’d additionally cowl the soil, too, in our gardens the place now we have issues like bluebonnets. In Texas, now we have bluebonnets that seed themselves round, and there’s different native wildflowers on the market which are these ruderals like Aquilegia, the columbines, and Gaillardia. Lots of people assume Gaillardia is a perennial, however actually it’s extra of this short-lived perennial, just a little bit longer-lived annual. And so having these crops which are form of self-sowing themselves in round our beds… cardinal flower, Lobelia. That’s one other nice one as properly, too, for moist spots.

So having these crops that if there’s disturbance or the soil is disturbed in a roundabout way, that we are able to are available in and produce into the panorama or the backyard, to cowl that soil, you’re additionally serving to to stop your weed points.

Margaret: Yeah. I’m a lot older than you’re, and I’m leaning extra now towards… I used to be all the time a canopy crop, inexperienced manure, kind of particular person, and that’s how I did my vegetable beds yearly and so forth, and turned it in. And I’m leaning now towards extra no-dig, the place I’m topdressing with compost with out disturbing the soil within the fall, and placing the beds to sleep that method and so forth. However they’re very established and the soil’s superb. And that fixed topdressing with the compost additionally works itself in nearly passively in a method. Yeah. So, however that’s fascinating. So cowl crops, as a result of I’ve used quite a lot of them through the years [laughter].

Jared: Similar to, yeah, the no-till dig, excuse me. Such as you simply talked with Charles Dowding about.

Margaret: Sure, sure.

Jared: Sure. Positively on that. However there’s additionally winter cowl crops that simply winter kill. So cowpeas is a superb ones.

Margaret: They’re nice.

Jared: It’s just a little bit stemmy, however winter kill. After which such as you stated, you’ll be able to put compost on prime, after which don’t dig once more.

Margaret: Proper, proper. Precisely. O.Okay., so cowl crops, carnivorous crops, huge perennials. I feel you want perfume. Like my buddy, Ken Druse, I feel you’re a lover of perfume.

Jared: I very a lot am. And I used to be not too long ago talking in Atlanta, and I forgot how quite a lot of these aromatic crops are on the Atlanta Botanic Backyard. They’ve Lonicera fragrantissima [above], they usually have Edgeworthia chrysantha there. And I’ve received a few of these crops in my panorama, however they’re simply small crops. However. I did grad college at N.C. State, and visited often the J.C. Raulston Arboretum. And that’s one of many issues that I liked within the wintertime is when all the pieces is useless and dormant, or simply rising, you’ve all these winter aromatic crops that come out within the panorama, like Prunus mume, the flowering apricot, and others.

I do know it has some tenderness up your method, however Chimonanthus praecox, wintersweet, these flowers are simply so intense. However even in a while within the rising season, candy peas, I lastly found out how you can develop candy peas in East Texas.

Margaret: Superb.

Jared: You simply received to begin them in November, after which they overwinter. So it really works superbly. After which there are different crops which are aromatic as properly, too, in a while within the 12 months.

Margaret: I’ve that Lonicera fragrantissima. I’ve a really giant plant of it. And really our mutual buddy, Bob Hyland, when he had a nursery not removed from me, he gave me that plant. And mine is, oh gosh, it’s most likely 10 ft tall, and it’s outdoors my entrance gate-

Jared: Oh, glorious.

Margaret: … within the late winter. Should you park your automotive in my driveway, you’ll scent it [laughter]. Or should you go to open or shut the gate, you’ll scent it.

So, within the title of time, I wish to simply be sure now we have just a little time for some discuss foodscaping, as a result of I do know that’s one thing that… I actually don’t know that a lot about it precisely. go about it, however I do know you steward this meals backyard there on the college referred to as Sprout [above], and different issues. So, that’s considered one of your issues that you just’d like extra of us to learn about in 2023 and past, sure?

Jared: Most positively, sure. As a result of I feel rising our personal meals, there’s something about elevating your individual meals that makes you’re feeling alive. It makes you’re feeling linked to the world round you, as a result of even when issues are going horrible… And that is one thing fascinating: I truly discovered an article years in the past that confirmed that just about each downturn in society from depressions, to wars, you sometimes see a gardening enhance after that.

And so, that’s one of many issues that we see is that there’s one thing about rising your individual meals. So such as you alluded to, now we have the Sprout Backyard right here on the college. After I got here, our enrollment numbers have been down, and my boss was saying, “I would like you to principally work out how we are able to attempt to enhance enrollment.” And so I knew how essential rising meals was for college students. And so, weoverhauled a part of the realm right here across the ag constructing, that ultimately turned the Plantery, our scholar botanic backyard. However we overhauled it, and turned it into an edible backyard, the place we educate college students how you can develop crops, small scale.

We sometimes do it extra… We educate them small scale, as a result of you’ll be able to scale that as much as any measurement. We educate it on a small 6,000-square-foot backyard. However they may scale that as much as do what Conor Crickmore does at Neversink Farm. Or they may go take that information and apply it to rooftop backyard, like Brooklyn Grange.

So I feel we’ve received to determine how you can develop crops in small areas, not utilizing plastic, and plasticulture, if you wish to go the route of utilizing the panorama material to maintain issues down. Now, ours is just a little bit extra of a manufacturing backyard, however what you’re speaking about foodscaping is after all integrating crops into the panorama that then have some edible part to them.

And I’ll let you know, too, at any time when I’m going out and provides talks, this can be a frequent query individuals have is, “How can I combine extra edibles?” And so, I feel we are able to come at it a pair other ways. One is to have a look at a few of these crops which are edible, which have decorative traits. Certainly one of my favourite ornamentals to make use of within the panorama are blueberries.

Margaret: Me, too. That’s so humorous. Me, too.

Jared: Yeah. And I really like them as a result of they’ve the attractive flowers within the spring. They’re small, however they’re nonetheless stunning and will be loved. They’re native. After which after all they produce the attractive blueberries afterwards which you could then choose, or the birds can attempt to choose them first. After which within the fall, right here no less than, in East Texas, and I’ve seen up too within the mountains of North Carolina, oh my goodness, blueberries flip this simply crimson purple.

Margaret: Right here, too. The purple colour is unequalled by every other plant, I feel. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. [Above, fall foliage on lowbush blueberry.]

Jared: And we even have purple stems on them that final all through the wintertime, too. So discovering woodies that we are able to combine which have… So once more, going again to a few of these different episodes that you just’ve performed, on unusual fruits with Lee Reich; I consider you probably did with that one. And so in search of these woodies.

However then for the edibles, we are able to additionally consider issues… One of many tips I realized from my buddy, Brie Arthur, who wrote the e-book on foodscaping is, you’ll be able to take shrubs, and use them as trellises for tomatoes, or pea vines, issues like that, so that you just’re principally integrating, discovering these small patches.

So once more, it goes again to this idea: Mom Nature hates naked soil, and the way can we work out methods? One of many issues, too, that we did at any time when I began right here on the college is, we did a Swiss chard trial. And I feel individuals thought I used to be just a little bit loopy, however the purpose we did it’s as a result of Swiss chard is gorgeous. It’s decorative, it’s edible-

Margaret: It’s.

Jared: … it survives the winter [in Texas], and so why not analysis which of them develop finest? And now I feel that that’s positively coming full circle as a result of when millennials and younger individuals go into backyard facilities, they’re asking the query, “Present me crops that do some little bit of all the pieces.” So once we’re taking a look at foodscaping, that’s our objective is to search out the little pockets and holes, and in addition begin small. It may possibly appear just a little bit overwhelming to all of a sudden attempt to overhaul your entire panorama to make it edible, however begin small, make some small impacts on issues, and tuck in additional rosemary and chives.

And the opposite factor, too, is that quite a lot of instances now we have decorative beds round our home already, and we’re round that space shut in proximity to the home. In order that method, it’s not a giant concern if you’ll want to run out for some thyme, or some herbs-

Margaret: [Laughter.] Proper, precisely. [Above, ‘Rhubarb’ chard.]

Jared: … actual fast, and simply seize them.

Margaret: It’s just a little harvesting.

Jared: Precisely. Proper as you’re cooking.

Margaret: Yeah. I promised originally, one of many issues we each wish to put forth is that individuals take into consideration propagating and sharing crops, is there some recommendation you wish to give us rapidly about that ethic?

Jared: I might like to. I might like to. So I argue that we’re unbelievable propagators of crops, however one of many issues that we have to do higher about is work out how you can propagate extra gardeners. And so, a few the rules that I educate individuals is: 1, you must sow surprise. So when a seed goes to germinate, it takes in water, it imbibes water. And similar to us, just about each gardener on the market has had some expertise of surprise of their life the place they’ve skilled one thing that linked them to the pure world.

And so we’ve received to be ensuring that we share tales about crops, as a result of cultural info is essential, but it surely’s truly the tales that join individuals to crops.

We’ve additionally received to guarantee that we’re serving to beginner gardeners take root. And so we’ve received to guarantee that we’re connecting the worth of crops and that we’re not main them astray. That’s one of many issues that I deal with, too, is ensuring that the knowledge we’re sharing is truthful and correct, since you see method too many info that’s on the market.

For instance, one of many issues I educate my college students is that some individuals say like, “Properly, there’s male bell peppers, and there’s feminine bell peppers.” No. As a result of, bell peppers comprise seed, and that seed comes from feminine placental tissue. So we’ve received to verify we’re correct.

And the very last thing I wish to say too is simply that we’ve received to determine methods to graft curiosity collectively. So meaning connecting crops with artwork, connecting crops with music, with meals, with magnificence, with well being.

And the opposite factor, too, that we’ve received to do is that we’ve received to have enjoyable with crops. I feel that too usually, gardeners make crops boring, they usually do it as a result of they plant meatballs, or they only form of throw some stuff in to fill a panorama. However we’ve received to keep in mind that we share this planet with unbelievable organisms that rework the world, and we’ve received to have fun them extra.

Margaret: Properly, Jared Barnes, a superb place to complete, and I hope we’re going to speak once more quickly. I do know I study lots from every of your newsletters and so forth, and your weblog, and the podcast. And thanks for making time as we speak. Thanks for sharing all these concepts. I’ll speak to you once more quickly.

Jared: Sure, Margaret, it was a real pleasure. I actually respect you inviting me on. And till subsequent time, continue to grow.

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MY WEEKLY public-radio present, rated a “top-5 backyard podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper within the UK, started its thirteenth 12 months in March 2022. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station within the nation. Hear domestically within the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Japanese, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the February 27, 2023 present utilizing the participant close to the highest of this transcript. You possibly can subscribe to all future editions on iTunes/Apple Podcasts or Spotify or Stitcher (and browse my archive of podcasts right here).