Posted by Susan Harris
I hope you all get basic cable because gardening shows are a great lifeline for us gardening addicts trying to survive the winter. So I’ll be covering the (paltry few) gardening shows on Home and Gardening TV, then visiting the shows that PBS makes available to everyone.
Let me first introduce the folksiest, goofiest, most knowledgeable gardening guy you’ll ever see on TV – the host of “Gardening by the Yard,” Paul James. Ain’t he cute? Plays the guitar, too. Probably had a ponytail and played in a rock band.
Now be forewarned that Paul may take some getting used to. He and his crew are pretty goofy – no, make that silly in the extreme – but that’s just him not taking himself too seriously. What you get with the silliness is knowledge of gardening techniques that are almost always organic and that work with the land and elements, not against them. He encourages people to just accept a little insect damage, to not plant or transplant in the middle of the summer, and loads of other seriously practical lessons for gardening. He turned me on to conifers. He turned me on to one of my favorite garden writers – Ann Lovejoy. And he just keeps turning me on to gardening.
For just a taste of why Paul is a favorite of so many real gardeners, including yours truly, here’s a quote by him on HGTV’s website: “I remember watching gardening shows when I was younger, and I was amazed at how everything was always picture perfect. The soil was so soft and crumbly. The plants were pest disease free. And the hosts never broke a sweat! So when I got the chance to do my own show, I decided to make it as real as possible.” See, he’s one of us. And though he gardens in far-away Tulsa, OK, the climate there is surprisingly similar to ours.
Sunday morning in the garden
HGTV airs “Gardening by the Yard” on Sunday mornings at 7:30 – a major bone of contention with the legions of Paul James fans, one of whom actually started a website to campaign for MORE of Paul. Check out the campaign here. But the good news is that HGTV airs five gardening shows in a row on Sunday mornings from 7 to 9:30, so it’s easy to just set the old VCR or Tivo to capture them all. I collect tapes of gardening shows to keep from going stir crazy while I’m on the treadmill – another lifeline in winter.