May 3, 2022

EP. 263 — Does Curiosity Grow On Trees? with Professor Beronda Montgomery

*A note from Jonathan and the Getting Curious team: We are covering the latest SCOTUS developments on Instagram and Twitter @CuriouswithJVN. Head there for insights from past guests, resources, and relevant episodes from our archive. We invite you to listen to this episode whenever feels right for you, and we hope that you’ll find comfort and energy from it.*


The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and we have a spring in our step because Professor Beronda Montgomery is back on Getting Curious, for an episode all about trees! How do trees know when to unfurl their leaves in the spring? Do they have growth spurts? What’s bud grafting all about? Learn all that and more—plus, catch up on the latest from Jonathan and Mark’s garden.

Beronda Montgomery is a writer, science communicator, and currently a Michigan State University Foundation Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics. Beronda will soon be Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean at Grinnell College. Her recent book is Lessons from Plants (2021, Harvard University Press).


If you aren’t already obsessed with Professor Montgomery and following her on all the socials, she’s on Twitter @BerondaM and @PlantLessons, and on Instagram @Beronda_M and @PlantLessons. Her website is And you can follow her New Scientist column here!


Jonathan is on Instagram and Twitter @JVN and @Jonathan.Vanness on Facebook.


Transcripts for each episode are available at


Love listening to Getting Curious? Now, you can also watch Getting Curious—on Netflix! Head to to dive in.


Our executive producer is Erica Getto. Our associate producer is Zahra Crim. Our editor is Andrew Carson.


Our socials are run and curated by Middle Seat Digital.


Our theme music is “Freak” by QUIÑ; for more, head to


Getting Curious merch is available on


Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness &  Professor Beronda Montgomery JVN [00:00:00] Welcome to Getting Curious. I’m Jonathan Van Ness and every week I sit down for a gorgeous conversation with a brilliant expert to learn all about something that makes me curious. On today’s episode, because all of you know I’m living for nature, I’m living for things that grow outside! Today, though, honey, it’s not about pumpkins. But it is with somebody who we have talked about pumpkins with in the past! I’m joined again by Professor Beronda Montgomery, where I ask her: Why are trees so clever?  Ohmigod, welcome back to Getting Curious. This is Jonathan Van Ness. You guys, if you are, like, driving, pull over. I mean, maybe don’t. I’m just saying, get excited is what I meant to say, because we have, like, one of our all time, like, greatest. If there was, like, a Getting Curious All Stars edition, like RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, but like Getting Cu

Recent Episodes

May 31, 2023

In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will hand down decisions that could have major implications for LGBTQIA+ rights, racial justice, tribal sovereignty, and beyond.

May 24, 2023

We’re dripping in jewels this week on Getting Curious! What does it mean for a diamond to be “hard”? Are lab-grown gems made to perfection? What’s the difference between rubies and pink sapphires?

May 18, 2023

New Orleans was one of America’s most important cities in the early 1800s. It was also one of the most deadly. This week, to mark the new season of Queer Eye, we’re exploring New Orleans history with Dr. Kathryn Olivarius in a special two-part episode.