Creating a gardening show with roots
Having grown up a passionate gardener, I’ve always appreciated my connection to the earth. From an early age, I recognized the relationship between a healthy garden and the bigger ecosystem around it. I guess that’s why I’ve been so aware of the delicate balance of it all, and how the impact a few careless moves can throw everything out of whack.
As my life progressed, so did my conviction for environmental stewardship. Although that term (along with eco-friendly, green living, organic, etc.) was rarely uttered at that time, my internal compass was navigating towards a greener world. Luckily for me, focus, good karma or some combination of the two landed me a role on national television as the host of a gardening show on the DIY Network in 2003. The series was awesome because I was able to teach people at home how to grow their own food, from seed to harvest. Every episode showcased another edible, and for three years and 52 shows I was in heaven.
When the series retired (we ran out of edibles to feature), I continued on-camera as host of another national gardening show, GardenSMART on PBS. Although this series presented me with a rare opportunity to travel the country to visit amazing public and private gardens, eventually I found myself getting anxious. I was seeing great places and engaging in high-level garden-speak with some of the best horticulturists in the country — who wouldn’t want that? — but the story I wanted to tell was different, and time was running out to do so.
By now, things had changed. Terms relating to the environment, sustainability and eco-friendly living were everywhere, and so were the calls to action for each of us to make our world a litter greener for future generations. As gardeners and weekend warriors, we create some really beautiful and enduring places but ironically, in the process, we can do some not-so-pretty things to the environment. With fewer and fewer gardening shows to be found on air, combined with the lack of practical information dedicated to how we could practice our avocation in a more sustainable way, my sense of urgency became imminent; I had to create a series that spoke to these issues.
Next week, I’ll pick up the story of how "Growing a Greener World" went from my own internal obsession to a broadcast television show — with the support of underwriter Burpee Home Gardens — and social media fixation in a matter of months. It’s a true testament to America’s hunger for this type of message!