by Susan Harris
In mid-January many of us are in the throes of gardening withdrawal, some of us exhibiting its classic symptoms (general grouchiness – or worse!) But there IS a little help available from an increasing popular source these days – Netflix. No longer do its customers even have to wait for the next little red envelope to arrive in the mail – now they have thousands of movies ready to “Play Now”! Not the new ones, but many of the gardening movies. So let’s get right to them.
COMMUNITY GARDEN ACTIVISM
First up is a favorite of mine that also happened to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Documentary! It’s “THE GARDEN” and here’s what Netflix tells us about it: “Filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s politically charged, Oscar-nominated documentary follows a group of low-income families struggling to protect a 14-acre urban farm in the middle of South Central Los Angeles from bureaucratic real estate developers. A lightning rod for controversy in 2004, this cause célèbre drew the attention of numerous activists and politicians, including Dennis Kucinich, Joan Baez and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigoisa.”
HOW TO GARDEN
For general gardening advice and inspiration, do you remember the TV show Rebecca’s Garden with Rebeccca Kolls? Netflix describes her as “America’s Favorite TV Gardener” and
heck, maybe she is; I remember enjoying the show myself. Lots of “Rebecca’s Garden” is available on Netflix, including episodes about roses, container gardening, summer or spring gardens and “basic” gardening. “Garden Party” with host Jennie Garth shows that growing vegetables can be fun, always a good thing. “Bloomin in the Garden” features TV host George “Bloomin'” Newman, who I’m assuming appears on British television since I’ve never heard of him. And more hosts I’m unfamiliar with teach basic gardening and garden design on “The Complete Gardener” and “73 Skills to Create your Dream Garden”.
If you’re a fan of Martha Stewart (count me in!), check out her Spring Gardening advice. And England’s version of Martha may just be Penelope Hobhouse, who hosts Art and Practice of Gardening, which Netflix tells us is an “entertaining primer of essential skills for anyone interested in acquiring a green thumb. Viewers learn the secrets of planting, pruning and soil composition as Hobhouse hosts a tour of some of the world’s most magnificent gardens, particularly those that make the British Isles and America horticultural paradises.” Sounds great!
And probably the most loved gardening show in all of gardening-crazy England is “Ground Force”, so the “Best of Ground Force” is definitely worth a look. “Host Alan Titchmarsh leads his fearless acolytes on a grueling — and often hilarious — campaign of incredible garden recreations.” I’ve watched a few episodes and they’re fun!
And if you really want to get away from it all, how about a gardening tour? Like “Gardens of the National Trust” with host Alan Titchmarsh – again. He’s so popular that even lots of Americans have heard of him.
Or you can’t go wrong with “Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn”, for which Hepburn won an Emmy. This 1993 show on public TV deserves a re-viewing.
“Garden Story: Inspiring Places, Healing Places” features gardens that inspire – from North Carolina to Massachusetts to Missouri and beyond – and it’s now on my “queue”. I could use a little garden inspiration about now.
For something different (maybe too different? If you see it, let us know!) “The Beauty of Flowers and Gardens” combines “sumptuous gardens of the world” with “soothing music in this unique multimedia program.” Hopefully not too soothing as to put us to sleep? The blurb mentions Mozart and an instrumental version of “Amazing Grace.”
KIDS LEARN ABOUT ART, TOO
With no kids in the house I won’t be watching this myself but it sure looks like fun, and it’s available to “play now”. Linnea in Monet’s Garden is an “animated version of Lena Anderson’s and Christina Bjork’s popular children’s book that introduces children to the wonderful world of art appreciation.”
ONE “EXPERT” TO AVOID
That’s Jerry Baker, who describes himself as “America’s Master Gardener,” but whose home remedies have been debunked by actual scientists, including a few Agricultural Extension Services.