We had the good fortune of connecting with Misti Little and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Misti, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Creativity has always been important for me and has manifested itself in different ways over the years. While I pursued a science based track in college and for my primary career, the need to create always bubbles to the surface. Producing The Garden Path Podcast was a way to take the gardening side of myself to the public, to share my thoughts and ideas about my garden, as well as plants and nature with others. I knew nothing about podcasting but teaching myself how to produce a podcast went hand in hand with that creative side, the need to learn and expand my skills. Gardening may not seem creative on the surface but you are constantly learning which plants work together, what needs to be edited out or into the garden, and then of course there’s the bountiful harvest that comes at the end of a season and you get to take raw materials and turn them into something delicious to eat!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My goal growing up was to become a marine biologist and to decode the dolphin languages! Ah, 12 year old dreams! I did get a degree in marine biology but once in college I found myself drawn to wetlands and plants more than marine mammals, and focused my studies on that. Eventually I found myself working in south Florida in the heart of the Everglades and fell in love with the wet and dry seasons on that vast wetland. My desire to grow plants and see how I could make them thrive expanded while living in Florida and I carried that back with me here when we moved to Houston.

Over the years I became more interested in our native plant communities and attempted to get them to grow in my own garden. Finding and sourcing native plants can be difficult. A limited palette is available at most nurseries and only certain varieties are grown for the home gardener. Slowly I’ve sourced native plants that work for my ecoregion and have been growing them out in my garden. With The Garden Path Podcast, I want to get more gardeners acquainted with native plants growing in their region and entice them to try out more plants than they will find at their local nursery. Sometimes that means finding plants through native plant societies or botanical garden sales, but often you can source seeds online from reputable sellers. Growing native plants means supporting our ecosystems and the insect populations that rely on them to survive. With habitat destruction and climate change affecting ecosystems globally, the more we do in our own gardens, the better. Through the podcast I want gardeners to look beyond a pretty flower and see just what they flower means to our pollinators and other insect populations.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As a nature enthusiast I would say, go for a hike! Even in the swelter of our summers in Houston, if you get out early you can still have an enjoyable time. My favorite place to go is the Lone Star Trail in Sam Houston National Forest. At nearly 100 miles long, the Lone Star Trail is the longest wilderness footpath in Texas and it is right in Houston’s backyard! There are multiple trailheads to dip in and visit but I go to the Little Lake Creek Wilderness area often, right off of FM 149 near Montgomery. There are multiple loops out there to explore. Another great park to explore is Brazos Bend State Park, near Sugar Land. With front country trails that let visitors scope out alligators and wading birds from a safe distance, and plenty of other back country trails that wind closer to the Brazos River, there’s a something for every kind of outdoor enthusiast. And you can easily make a weekend out of it by bringing a tent for camping!

After all of that exploring and if you wanted to buy some plants for the garden, well, Houston has plenty of nurseries to explore! A few of my favorites come to mind–in the heart of the Heights is Buchanan’s Native Plants on E 11th Street. While on a smaller property, there’s plenty packed into this nursery! In Seabrook, Maas Nursery is larger and offers a wide array of tropical and native plants–it’s one of my favorite nurseries in the area. Closer to Galveston in Santa Fe is Jimbo’s Nursery, with an eclectic selection of bromeliads as well as other tropical plants. On the north side of town is Arbor Gate, which has a little bit of everything from roses to edible plants to native plants as well as a wide array of classes and speakers throughout the week.

And to wind down the day, during the summers I would recommend visiting the Waugh Drive Bat Colony near Buffalo Bayou. Prior to Hurricane Harvey there was an estimated 250k-300k Mexican free-tailed bats living under the bridge that would emerge at night to forage. While their populations were hit hard by Harvey and the recent 2021 freeze, it is still a sight to see right in the heart of Houston.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to give my maternal grandmother a lot of the credit for my interest in gardening! She didn’t have a lot of money and relied heavily on her extensive vegetable garden to supply her food at her suburban Fort Worth home. That meant a lot of canned foods on her shelves and gorgeous flowers she cultivated. She passed away in 2013 but not a day goes by that I don’t think of her when I walk through my garden. Closer to home these days, my husband has supported me in this wild podcasting endeavor, getting me hooked up with a great mic to record interviews and helping me have time to record and edit episodes while he takes care of our son. I’d also like to recognize our natural and wild spaces throughout the country that protect our native flora and fauna—I am constantly amazed at the biodiversity and plant species I get to learn about and see when I am out exploring. Recognizing these special habitats only makes me want to create a garden that works to support our diverse wildlife populations even more.

Website: http://www.thegardenpathpodcast.com & http://www.oceanicwilderness.com

Instagram: @thegardenpathpodcast @oceanicwilderness

Twitter: @nyssabiflora

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn4WJUyK_p6wrIqx8HQeOvQ

Other: I also have a podcast about the Florida Trail: http://orangeblaze.thegardenpathpodcast.com Instagram: @orangeblazepodcast

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.