Saturday, July 14, 2012

The other Gardening Makeover

There is no doubt that the garden industry is going through a slump right now.  HGTV has dropped the G for gardening out of its program line-up, instead choosing only shows that deal with makeovers, crashers or any other connotation that makes you feel if it's as simple as rearranging furniture.  If I have to watch another fire pit, water feature or over sized gazebo, Tiki Bar or TV go into a garden I'll hang myself.  Do they really think that fire pits are great around children?!

Even in the land of gardening, meaning England, there is a concern that people are moving away from horticulture and instead taking up cooking that has largely replaced garden shows on television.  The Royal Horticultural Society ran an article recently about college programs showing a drop in numbers that I know is echoed here in North America too.

So what can be done?  How do we get the sexy back into gardening? What does it take to attract more people back to the industry again?  Its not a simple problem to fix, the whole image of gardening needs a nip/ tuck and maybe a tattoo to make it appealing.  Gardeners are seen to be of the older generation and don't come across as hip and cool, more hip replacement than anything else.  I struggled when I first chose to get into horticulture because of the image; but I was blessed to work at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew in England that is considered to be mecca-like for gardeners.  My time there exposed me to plant collecting where I was privileged to traveled the world in search of plants making me to feel like Indiana Jones instead of weeding Rob.

Too clean to be a gardener
Sure P.Allen Smith and Jamie Durie are rocking it the best they can but they're still no match for rock star of cooking, Anthony Bourdain once crowned a culinary assassin for his strong opinions.  Given the choice I'd rather watch Bourdains 'No Reservations' show than see another bloody fire pit going into a garden.  That man made it cool to watch a travel/food show and then talk about it amongst a group of men.  Try doing that with primroses!


Only presenter I know to do a cooking show in a war-zone
If TV can make ballroom dancing cool with 'Dancing with the Stars' then surely we can reinvent gardening too.  Lets find some honest, down to earth gardeners and make a reality show about them like 'Deadlest Catch' or 'Gold Rush' and drop the poster boy presenters that only appeal to feminine types.  Men garden too and we want shows we can be proud to watch.  I want to follow the ups and downs of real gardening, the heart ache of droughts or deer attacks and the joys of harvesting the first apple, even if it is the only one left on the tree.  It worked for Kew gardens when a camera crew was based there for a year filming behind the scenes, why can't it work here?!  Changing up TV shows to appeal to the masses is just a start, but please, no more bloody fire pits!

8 comments:

  1. Well, I would say fire pits with kids who are not supervised are a problem, yes. We just bought one and had an awesome s'mores party last night with a bunch of kids that went really well. I know our fire pit has to be safer than the huge brush bon fires that I roasted marshmallows on when I was a kid (I grew up in a rural part of VA and controlled brush fires were simply a part of summer).

    My husband loves Anthony Bourdain but he is just so... unpleasant. Ugh. I adore P. Allen Smith - I suspect he is gay which is why he appeals to so many women. Have you ever watched his PBS show? He isn't all fire pits and mixed drinks!

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    1. I'm slow at responding but thanks for your comments. The world of gardening is big enough for all types to play. I still haven't seen P. Allen's show but I suspect its very clean. In England I grew up watching Gardener World with the late Geoff Hamilton. He was a blue collar type with dirty knees on his jeans but appealed to all types and being England, all classes. We need a broad spectrum show that appeals to many, to help increase interest again outside. One day.....

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  2. Welcome to BLOTANICAL
    un saludo

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  3. Very nice and helpful article. Pretty sure a lot of homeowners will find this very handy in their “botanical endeavour”. Please keep your posts coming.

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  4. If The Naked Chef guy can have a show with the word 'naked' in it, then so can gardeners. Maybe it could be filmed in a nudist colony. I'd just be careful of all sharp objects or tools that slice. Anthony Bourdain is incredible. Give the guy a shrub. :o) But P. Allen Smith I'm suspicious of. His hair is way too perfect.

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    1. Some things are best with the clothes left on. I suspect gardeners don't have even tans to be naked, speaking from experience, and it would be rather distracting to see a zebra patterned presenter on a show!

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  5. Hi Robert, i agree wholeheartedly about modern day gardening, i can't stand Jamie Drury, i wish the old shows were back like Burkes Backyard etc. A lot of gardeners these days are focusing more on gardens that don't require a lot of work. People seem to be losing interest in gardening, maybe it's the economy, the bad weather that seems to be affecting the world.

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  6. Thanks for your comments. Sad it hear that its the same down under! A beautiful country with many beautiful plants that I wish would here here.

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