HIRING: Lunaria Gardens Intern, Philadelphia

Lunaria Gardens Internship

Lunaria Gardens is offering ongoing internships at several locations in Philadelphia: at the greenhouse in West Fairmount Park, at the nursery and growing fields in Roxborough and North Philadelphia, and occasionally at farmers markets in Chestnut Hill, Old City, and Fishtown.

Job type: Part-time educational internship, hours to be discussed
Location: Philadelphia (mostly Roxborough and North Philly)
Compensation: Unpaid/ student credit, possibility of developing into paid position depending on skills & commitment
Position updated: March 8, 2017
Position available: Immediately
Contact: Kristen Jas Vietty, [email protected] (no phone calls)

Position Description:
As this is an educational position, the tasks can vary according to the interests and skills of the applicant. However, some examples of projects include:

▪ Nursery operations: seeding, transplanting, watering, loading for deliveries
▪ Retail assistance at farmers markets and special events
▪ Field assistance: preparing beds, planting, weeding, harvesting
▪ Floral design assistance, creating market and subscription bouquets
▪ Construction projects: raised beds, compost bins, trellises, planters
▪ Food processing & preservation
▪ Photography, writing, web/ graphic design, marketing, educational event support

The only requirement is a desire to learn about horticulture and ecological design. Some familiarity with plants, construction, or design is a plus.

About Lunaria Gardens:

Lunaria Gardens is an urban farm, plant nursery, and floral design studio. We produce a wide range of specialty edibles, natives, ornamentals, and houseplants for the landscape and the home. Our seasonal florals are primarily grown and foraged in Philadelphia, and we provide delivery arrangements, weekly subscriptions, DIY buckets, wedding packages, custom event design, and wholesale cuts to florists. We also offer educational programming like design parties, pop-up events, and workshops.

Owner-operator Kristen Jas Vietty has a background in visual arts, administration, & education, and knows firsthand the value that internships can offer those seeking low-risk exposure to an unfamiliar industry. She has interned with non-profits, a visual artist, and several organic farms throughout the US. She has since founded and co-operated several businesses and continues to enhance her education.

Women, people of color, and LGBTQ applicants are especially encouraged to apply. To be considered, please contact Kristen Jas Vietty, [email protected] (no phone calls)

Updated: March 8, 2017

Mid-Atlantic Native Food Forest Polyculture for Rain Gardens & Wet Sites

On June 6, 2015 at Edge of the Woods Native Plant Nursery, I taught a workshop on Creating Native Food Forests. We discussed our woodland biome & the cycle of ecological succession, contrasted the outputs of wilderness with conventional agriculture, and detailed some possible direct and indirect uses of edible forest gardens. We then looked at some agroforestry case studies, like Mark Shepard’s 100+ acre New Forest Farm, Fields without Fences in Frenchtown, NJ, Eric Toensmeir & Jonathan Bates’ 1/10 acre Paradise Lot, and Steven Gabriel’s ‘De-slugging the Woods‘ maple-mushroom-duck polyculture.

It seems that everyone has a downspout or some greywater that could be redirected into a rain garden, so I pulled a selection of Edge of the Woods plants favoring moist to wet soil conditions. I wanted to highlight how these native species could produce nuts, fruit, berries, vegetables, tea, and medicine, as well as ecosystem services like nitrogen fixation, pollinator habitat, stormwater management, and watershed quality improvement.

mid atlantic native food forest polyculture rain garden

Species List (roughly from largest to smallest mature size)

1. Pecan / Carya illinoinensis / 70-100′, delicious nuts, high value timber

2. Pawpaw / Asimina triloba / 10-40′, most commonly 20-35′, delicious fruit (improved seedlings and grafted forms available), deer & pest resistant, host to zebra swallowtail butterfly.

3. Downy serviceberry / Amelanchier arborea / 15-25′, species within the Amelanchier genus go by many names and have varying sizes and habits, but all have highly ornamental white spring blossoms, followed by small, flavorful berries, and burgundy fall foliage. Not very picky about soils, serviceberries offer a nice alternative to acid-loving blueberries.

4. Hazel alder / Alnus serrulata / 12-20′, nitrogen-fixing, high wildlife value, glossy, ribbed leaves tinged with red, winter interest.

5. Spicebush / Lindera benzoin / 6-12′, a graceful shrub providing lemon blooms in early spring, glossy red berries, and yellow-gold fall foliage. Aromatic twigs and leaves can be used as tea. Host plant for spicebush swallowtail.

6. American black elderberry / Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis / 6-12′, insectary umbel blooms and dark purple fruits, usually stewed and consumed as cordials or cough medicine. Several ornamental cultivars are now available, featuring varied foliage and flower color, or improved fruit quality. Self-fruitful, although a pollinator will improve fruit set.

7. Ostrich fern / Matteuccia struthiopteris / 3-6′, ornamental fern producing edible fiddlehead vegetable of early spring. Will spread via stolons, and foliage will die down by mid-summer.

8. Swamp verbena / Verbana hastata / 2-5′, ornamental candelabra-like blooms, insectary, ‘cure-all’ medicinal, usually consumed as tea.

9. Goldenrod ‘Fireworks’ / Solidago rugosa / 3-4′, top herbaceous insectary species according to Douglas Tallamy. Ornamental golden sprays in late summer/ early fall. Medicinal/ tea.

10. Hoary mountain mint / Pycanthemum incanum / 2-4′, native, insectary mint. Medicinal, tea, potherb.

11. Nodding onion / Alium cernuum / 1-2′, ornamental flowers, insectary, deer/ pest resistant, all parts edible and used like scallions

12. Labrador violet / Viola labradorica / 4-6″, groundcover, ornamental and edible purple foliage and lavender flowers. Host plant for fritillary butterflies and seeds are favored by cardinals & other songbirds.


Related posts:

Lunaria Gardens Nursery

#SavetheBees: ‘Queen of the Sun’ screening and pollinator panel discussion, Doylestown, PA

Photos from Forest Gardening workshop at Fields without Fences

Notes from Edible Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier


Contact Kristen Jas Vietty

Workshop: Edible Forest Gardening / Doylestown, PA


 In a couple of hours, learn how you can be harvesting fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, & medicine from your land, WITHOUT tilling, seeding, planting, & weeding year after year.

Join the March meeting of the Ladies Homestead Gathering of Central Bucks County, where Kristen Jas Vietty of Lunaria Gardens will be leading a workshop on edible forest gardening!

Learn how to mimic the eastern woodland ecosystem in your garden, to provide not only diverse harvests, but also benefit soil life, watersheds, native pollinators, & wildlife. These natural, regenerative food forests can improve the value of your home while requiring relatively little maintenance over time.

The workshop will be held at Doylestown Fresh (home of Veg-E systems) on Thursday, March 27, 2014, from 6:30 to 9:00pm. The evening is open to all women, and the suggested donation is $10 general, $5 LHG members. Membership signup will be available at the meeting, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds. RSVP on Facebook!

If you want to hear about these kinds of events, subscribe to receive a monthly(ish) email!

Related post: Notes from Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier

HIRING: Garden Manager, Part Time


Lunaria Gardens is seeking a part time garden manager for a client property in Upper Bucks County, PA.

Job type: Part time, 1-2 days (8-16 hrs) per week. Additional hours may be available depending on season or special projects.
Compensation: $10-$17 per hour depending on experience
Commitment: After a trial period, we’d like a commitment of 1-2 days/ week through the 2013 season (usually ending Nov or early December). We’d like to offer additional compensation depending on level of commitment for the 2014 season.
Position available: Immediately
Application deadline: Thursday, August 1, 9pm
Contact: Kristen Jasionowski, owner, Lunaria Gardens, [email protected]



The garden manager will primarily be responsible for ongoing care of a client property in Ottsville, PA, as well as occasional assistance with other sites. Lunaria Gardens is not a typical landscaping company – there is no lawn mowing or formal hedge trimming involved. We instead design & install ecological gardens for food production & habitat. Watering, weeding, & harvesting vegetables are ongoing weekly tasks, while planting, mulching, & light construction will also make appearances on task lists.

Aside from the annual vegetable garden, the Ottsville property contains mostly woodland perennial plantings, so it’s a generally comfortable workplace. You’ll undoubtedly improve your understanding of botany, native ecology, food production, & sustainable property management by working with us.


– proximity to Upper Bucks County (much of position requires maintenance of client property in Ottsville, PA.) Occasional assistance in Easton, PA as needed.

– Reliable transportation. The only tools regularly required are some good hand pruners and a trowel.

– Basic familiarity with common plant identification, i.e. you should probably know the difference between a hosta & a hydrangea, or a dandelion & a thistle. We specialize in edibles, in addition to natives & ornamental perennials.

– Desire to enhance your ecological management & botanical knowledge.


– Plant identification skills, especially common ornamental shade perennials, “weeds”, and edibles.

– Familiarity with weeding, harvesting, planting techniques.

– Ability to lift 50 lbs (less physically able applicants will also be considered).

– Basic carpentry/ construction experience is a plus.

– Plant nursery, irrigation, earthworking, farming, or flower arranging experience is a plus.


– Have an interest in social media, e-communications, photography, writing, or teaching? We’re into Instagram & twitter (@kristenjas), and Facebook. We’re interested in expanding our blog content, and would like to host events and workshops in the coming year. This could be additional income for someone who wants to get more involved in these areas.

– The above skills would also apply to Kristen’s other music publicity work with Musette Project, Dallas Vietty, or Hot Bijouxx. If you’re interested in working with these projects, drop us a line. Or get yourself on the mailing list by using the little signup in the sidebar.


About Lunaria Gardens:

Lunaria Gardens is a custom permaculture consultation, design, maintenance, & education service, soon to be expanding nursery operations. We primarily help people grow food, as well as compost, keep livestock, provide native habitat, and generally close energy loops to reduce unnecessary energy expenditures. We currently have clients in Ottsville & Easton, PA. Owner Kristen Jasionowski has a background in visual arts, administration, & education. She transitioned from a self-taught hobbyist to a career in sustainable agriculture in 2009, and has apprenticed via the WWOOF program, co-managed a couple microfarms, and has studied with Eastern Pennsylvania Permaculture Guild & various permaculture & forest gardening professionals. Her company’s focus is on empowerment & connection via habitat creation and food production.


To be considered, please email the following:

– A resume & cover letter would be awesome, but a couple paragraphs about why you would be great for this job, and what you’re hoping to get out of it will do.

– Contact info including name, phone, address, & any web presence you’d like to share.

– How you found out about the position.

Women, people of color, and LGBT applicants are encouraged to apply. If you’d just like to get on the mailing list, you can do so in the sidebar at right.

Contact: Kristen Jasionowski, owner, Lunaria Gardens, [email protected]

Posted July 30, 2013
Application deadline: Thursday, August 1, 9pm

INTERVIEW / Tiny Terra Ferma / Manayunk, Philadelphia


Tiny Terra Ferma is Manayunk’s new ecological landscape design studio & garden shop, opening this Friday. Below is my interview with owner-designers Jeff Lorenz and Annie Scott, followed by details about the Spring Opening Party. [All photos courtesy Tiny Terra Ferma.]


Lunaria Gardens: Tell us about the evolution of Tiny Terra Ferma & the new space.

Jeff Lorenz: Annie and I have been working on urban garden projects for the last few years with Ivy Ridge Green, an organization she co-founded in 2009. From the get-go we connected over a love for native plants and the possibilities of gardening and food production in our small backyard spaces. With my 15 years as a horticulturalist, designer and business owner, and Annie’s experience and masters in landscape design and planning, we both had the expressed desire to create a design company and local hub for gardening and urban green space.

Annie Scott: This past year we started working on design projects together and planning our company. Our space is now in a repurposed garage on Main Street in Manayunk, that was abandoned for over 30 years. I had often walked by it and thought about how much potential the space has. We have both put in long hours working on the space – its really exciting to see it become our garden shop and design studio.

A vertical pallet planter at Tiny Terra Ferma.
A vertical pallet planter at Tiny Terra Ferma.

Lunaria Gardens: What are some common problems that you’re aiming to solve for the urban grower?

JL: Urban gardening is challenging and multifaceted, but in order to leverage its potential, it must be affordable, accessible and attainable. That is our mission through our design service and garden shop.

Lunaria Gardens: How does your vision relate to larger food issues in the Philadelphia region?

AS: Our goal is to enable people to grow their own food in both large and small spaces. Through proper design, it is possible to grow an abundance of food in tiny rowhouse backyards. We aim to educate, inspire and empower people to grow food themselves.

Closeup of herbs, greens, & succulents potted in the vertical pallet planter.
Closeup of herbs, greens, & succulents potted in the vertical pallet planter.

Lunaria Gardens: What other events do you plan on hosting in the coming year?

AS: We will be hosting various classes on garden related topics. We envision our space to be an educational forum and a hub for potential neighborhood greening.

Lunaria Gardens: What design project would you love to encounter?

AS: Projects that serve the client and nature. I love the challenge of fulfilling the client’s goals while serving nature, and creating food sources for both humans and wildlife through the use of native plants. I have done this through design on 40-acre farms, 400-square-foot backyards, and window boxes. I’m excited about any new design challenge that provides the opportunity to create beautiful spaces in both form and function.


Lunaria : Give us a little background on some of the other folks involved with the First Friday opening.

JL: The great accordionist Dallas Vietty, of Musette Project, will be performing selections from the French Musette and Gypsy Jazz musical repertoire. Our Manayunk neighbor, Ryan McNeely, will provide guitar accompaniment as well as bossa nova compositions.

Lunaria Gardens: Can you give us a sneak peak of some cool plants or tools that will be available April 5th?

AS: The plants we carry are functional – native, edible, extremely drought tolerant, and beautiful. We have adorable 5” baby fig trees, kale and swiss chard starts, herbs, blueberries and native plants. We also have a selection of quality garden tools and accessories.


tinyterraferma_logoTINY TERRA FERMA, 4324 Main Street, Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA, (267) 237-1489
Spring hours: Thursdays – Sundays 11am – 7pm

Spring Opening Party: First Friday, April 5, 2013
5 – 9pm drinks & light refreshments
6:30pm music by Dallas Vietty & Ryan McNeely
RSVP on Facebook


Notes from Forest Gardening Workshop with Eric Toensmeier

On May 7th & 8th, I had the opportunity to attend a Forest Gardening workshop with one of my permaculture heroes, Eric Toensmeier, in West Chester, PA. There were so many awesome aspects to the weekend! To minimize driving, I took the train to Paoli, had a beautiful 10 mile bike ride to the workshop location, and met and stayed with some awesome folks through couchsurfing!

The workshop took place at the home of  sustainability educators Alan Wright & Paula Kline, who had hired permaculture designer Aaron Guman to work his permie magic on their property. We spent some time discussing the clients’ needs and Aaron’s design concepts before helping to install some perennial plantings (above).

Mollie Caitlin Brigid communing with cultivated King Stropharia

Special guest lectures included a whip-and-tongue grafting demonstration with Backyard Fruit Growers founder Chris Manning, and mushroom cultivation tutorials with Jared Urchek. Jared came out from Boulder, CO and discussed mushroom life cycles, varieties, and inoculation techniques with woodchips, straw, and logs.

We also broke off into groups to do site assessments throughout the property, later designing polyculture systems for different patches. Here are some general notes taken during the workshop:

Edible Forest Garden (EFG): Edible ecosystem modeled on the forest; perennial & low maintenance, providing ecosystem services & useful products.

By optimizing impact on land, we can work with its desire to become forest. Diverse polycultures minimize pest problems, and can achieve higher yields than annual cultures.

Utilizing Multipurpose Plants

Direct uses:

nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, flowers & flowerbuds, roots, tubers, leaves, shoots, tea & culinary

firewood, medicine, craft material, income, livestock fodder, honey, cut flowers, charcoal, mushrooms, seed & nursery stock, silkworms

Indirect uses:
Nitrogen fixing plants
insect nectary plants
decomposers (i.e. edible mushrooms)


Architecture: layers, soil horizon, density, patterns, diversity

Social structure: niches, guilds, communities

Succession: patches, disturbance, non-linear evolution (mimic mid-succession)

Best Forest Gardening Species (N-fix means this species fixes nitrogen):

Tall Trees

walnut/ butternut/ heartnut
pecans/ hickories
nut pines
black locust (N-fix)
Japanese pagoda tree (N-fix)

Medium Trees

Chinese Chestnut
mimosa (N-fix)
alder (N-fix)

Small Trees & Shrubs

pears/ Asian pears
sea buckthorn (N-fix)
native plums
Amur Maackia (N-fix)


Amelanchier (serviceberry, juneberry, etc)
Nanking cherry
elderberry (native insectary)
highbush cranberry (viburnum)
Florida star anise
Ribes (currants, gooseberries, jostaberries)
running juneberry
raspberry/ blackberry
New Jersey tea (N-fix)
Amorpha (false) Indigo (N-fix)


grape (fox & muscadine)
kiwi (hardy & arctic)
groundnut (N-fix)
hog peanut (N-fix)
Chinese yam
Hablitzia (climbing spinach)
maypop (native passionflower)


jerusalem artichokes
Turkish rocket
ostrich fern
giant solomon’s seal
nettle/ wood nettle
baptisia (N-fix)
thermopsis (N-fix)
sea kale
good King Henry
native perennial ground cherry
sweet cicely (insectary)
large-flowered comfrey
sylvetta arugula
coreopsis (insectary)
Asclepias verticillata (whorled milkweed, insectary)
Astragalus glycyphyllos (wild licorice, N-fix)
Chinese artichoke
water celery (insectary)
camas/ quamash (wild hyacinth)

Ground Covers

alpine strawberry
foamflower (insectary)
wild ginger
prostrate birdsfoot trefoil (N-fix)
green & gold (insectary)
white clover
Waldesteinia (barren strawberry, inedible)
wild geranium (insectary)