Where Have all the Gardening Shows Gone?

I planned to pen a vicious, slobbering rant here about the dearth of proper gardening shows on tv, but it seems that everyone else has beat me to it!  I don’t want to repeat all the same complaints that I just recently read online, but still wish to contribute my two cents worth.

HGTV certainly bears the brunt of many of these attacks.  Well, what do you expect when you call yourself Home and GARDEN TV?

Granted, some would argue that they do offer plenty of “garden” programming.  If your idea of gardening involves ripping out an overgrown mess, or finding a previously barren yard and converting it into a pristine hardscaped “outdoor room”, complete with a chef’s kitchen, then you’ll be thrilled with most of their gardening shows.

Frankly, they make me shudder.  I do have a patio, with seating, a table and a barbecue, but it is woefully underused.  I even asked for, and received for my birthday last year, a lounge chair, imagining that I could recline indolently, perhaps to read a book or nap on a warm summer day.

My underused patio

The chair is lovely, comfy, and rarely sat upon!  I spend my time in the yard DOING STUFF!  And I like doing stuff, whether it’s weeding, digging new beds, planting, pruning, watering, squashing bugs, fertilizing, or any of the multitude of tasks involved in tending a garden.

The view from my lounge chair

Whatever happened to the half hour garden show offering bits of seasonal advice, highlighting new or noteworthy plants, demonstrating a particularly useful skill, and answering questions sent in by interested gardeners?

I used to enjoy watching Get up and Grow with Gord Nickel, because it’s local and because I used to work with Gord many years ago.  It’s funny watching someone you know on tv, I keep waiting for him to tell a dirty joke, or talk about the party he went to last weekend… Well, when I knew him he was a university student! Clips from Gord’s show can now be found at GardenWise Magazine Online.

I understand that it’s difficult to create a focussed garden show due to the vast differences in climate across North America, we are all on different garden schedules depending on our regional climate, but surely there is enough overlap, and I wouldn’t be averse to learning how to grow grapefruit, even though I have no hope of doing so in my garden!

I wonder if the internet has overtaken the task of educating people about gardening, due to the vast store of information available online.  For example, if I search on the term pruning apple trees, Google returns 351,000 results, 582 of which are in video form.  That’s a lot of information!

Maybe avid gardeners like me just need to find new ways to get our garden information.  My strategy for learning about new products and plants involves scribbling notes when I see new things at the garden centre where I work, then looking them up online when I get home.

In fact, pretty much whenever I have a question about gardening (and many other subjects); Google is my go-to.  Not that you can believe everything you read online, but after a while you find resources that are trustworthy.  I particularly enjoy reading about plants on forums like those found on GardenWeb.  There you will hear from people with firsthand experience and definite opinions about just about any plant!

I still wish that there were a bunch of good old-fashioned gardening tv shows though.  I would watch them, and I’m sure that many other gardeners would too!  In the meantime, I guess we’ll just have to rely on trusted online resources.  There is good information available from professionals with experience who are willing to pass on their knowledge…hmmm, I guess I could count myself among them!

Maybe someone should offer me a tv show!

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About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
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9 Responses to Where Have all the Gardening Shows Gone?

  1. ohanabee says:

    love your garden, is beautiful

  2. You should sit in your chair more 🙂 the view is beauty…

  3. barb19 says:

    You have a beautiful view of your garden – you should make more use of that chair and enjoy your hard work!

  4. Shauna Lambeth says:

    I agree! I used to love The Victory Garden. Perhaps people would like to see Janis and Shauna on a tour of beautiful gardens with real questions that we don’t already know the answers to. They could be gardens in town or Tuscany! HGTV are you listening?

  5. It’s funny, I like the “gardening” shows on t.v., but I think of them primarily as design shows. There is certainly not much in the way of “how to garden” at all. T. Allen Smith on PBS isn’t bad, but I keep seeing the same shows over and over. And he gardens in the South, so sometimes his plants are not hardy where I live. But he is a real gardener and he discusses plants. It’s worth a look.

  6. Troy says:

    Landscaping sells, gardening doesn’t. Paul James (the Gardener Guy) points this out in his own discussion of his parting ways with HGTV. Home Depot and other home improvement stores have big pockets, genuine garden centers do not.

    Some gardening shows still exist in other parts of the world, usually those with a successful gardening magazine or government funding of television, such as Gardening Australia http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/video/download.htm, and Tips from Tatton Park http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/gardening-tips-from-tatton/id351332212 Although problematically one is always on the exact opposite season to us, and the british and North American continent are not much alike climatologicaly. Still they fill the gap admirably.

    The Victory Garden also has a podcast, but that hasn’t been updated in quite a while, and old episodes of Paul James’ show can be found on HGTV’s website and on Hulu (not all of them mind you).

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