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Meet Our Community: Johanna Silver, author and weed grower

Photo credit: Rachel Weill

Let’s get to know each other!

Since we’re not able to meet up in person this year, let’s meet online. Every week we’re introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We’re excited to see what everyone’s talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you’d like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)

Johanna Silver

I write about gardening. I was in the garden department for 10 years at Sunset Magazine, beginning in the soil of the editorial test garden and culminating as the head of the department (though a friend told me it doesn’t count as the head when it’s a department of one, but anyway…), and I’ve written two books. I love telling people’s stories of how and why they garden. At this point, those stories move me far more than any plant obsession, design-heavy story, or how-to. Plant people are the quirkiest, and I love them. As I’ve fallen into cannabis gardening, the stories are unparalleled. I’m also really into farming. Anything related to small-scale farming peonies, tea, cannabis whatever.

My first book was The Bold Dry Garden, about The Ruth Bancroft Garden. My second book, Growing Weed in the Garden, came out March 24, right when the world shut down. It’s a real gardener’s look at growing cannabis. I’m not a stoner. Please don’t be shy to check it out! I’m making videos for Leafly about how to grow cannabis in the garden.

Let’s just say my own yard in Berkeley, CA, is not magazine-ready. I rent, so there’s a constant tension around how much I want to pour into this space. I kill things. I stand and stare a lot of the time. I like some things I’ve done and am still trying to figure out half the yard. I love growing cut flowers the most. Since Covid, I’ve started filming my toddler son and me in the garden and posting videos on Instagram. It’s been my biggest creative outlet during this time, and though I have mixed feelings about showing off so much of my kid on social media, he might actually be the smartest, funniest child ever, so the world deserves to see him. I was raised with zero gardening influence, and it’s utterly fulfilling to think I’m giving him some exposure to cultivation.

I’m a sucker for an angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia). The smell in the evening gets me every time. And I know I’m far from alone in this opinion, but I’m still not over the High Line in New York City. I enjoy watching its evolution from season to season and how it has matured through the years. The interplay between hardscape and softscape is among the most inspired I’ve ever seen.


Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Johanna! You can follow Johanna on her website and on Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of Johanna Silver, except as noted.


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