Reality TV For Gardeners
Thanks to the blog pbmGarden, I have discovered a British TV show called Love Your Garden, which is available on Netflix. It’s a show that has its flaws, and yet Judy and I are hooked.
It’s telling and a little sad that garden TV shows exist in Britain but not here in the USA – at least, not anymore. In Britain there are garden celebrities with a real mass audience. Here there are at best gracious living celebrities who do a bit of gardening as a sideline. I would not consider them real gardeners.
When we lived in Wisconsin there were a couple of gardening radio shows on the air, but in Chicago there’s not even that.
Anyhow, Love Your Garden features Alan Titchmarsh and a team of helpers who transform the gardens of families struggling to cope with harsh circumstances (in the episodes we watched, a severely ill child or spouse).
The family is whisked away for a few days while Alan and his gang work a total transformation. Unrealistic, sure – and yet so gratifying in its fantasy fulfillment. Similarly, money is no obstacle in this show, and yet I think the average gardener with a budget can get a few useful ideas out of it.
One of the things I like about Love Your Garden is how Titchmarsh talks to the family about what they want from their garden, and then comes up with a design that meets their needs and wants in a personalized way.
I also enjoy how the show moves from design concept to hardscape elements and specific plants and plant combinations. There are also visits to other gardens that exemplify the effects that Titchmarsh and his team are aiming for.
You do have to wonder how they manage to stay so clean while installing the new garden, especially the garden designer and horticulturist, who sometimes wear dresses (though with boots) as they dig holes for planting.
Also, I found myself squirming at times with the show’s attempts to generate sympathy for the families selected. Not that they don’t deserve sympathy (they do), but their treatment seemed at times intrusive or even bordering on manipulative.
Will these families be able to maintain the new gardens they’ve been given? The show emphasizes low maintenance design but it’s still not clear to me that the gardens shown were really sustainable for these families.
Nonetheless, the families’ delight with their new gardens is undoubtedly genuine. I challenge anyone to find the pleasure they express to be anything less than heartwarming.
For the audience, Love Your Garden is soothing, enjoyable, and reasonably informative.
Have you seen this show? What do you think of it? Are there other gardening TV shows (British or otherwise) that you would recommend?