Sunday, March 02, 2008

Whatever happened to the folksy "do it yourself" gardening shows?

These are my curmudgeonly thoughts today.

I can remember gardening shows on radio and TV, that were really about gardening. I just did a web search on "Doc and Katie Abraham" who had a show in the 70s, and came up with essentially zilch. As I remember (at this much later, I can't promise an accurate memory), their show was really about gardening - how to improve the soil, making compost, propagating the plants, dividing, taking cuttings, pruning, starting seeds, planting.

There was also Crockett's Victory Garden, in the same era. This was more sophisticated, but was still really about gardening - all of the above, and maybe more, like cooking your garden produce, and visiting gardens, and traveling to gardens in other countries. I'm not the only one who feels this way, of course - here is a related thread from the gardenweb.

Of course, the old "Organic gardening and farming" magazine was pretty much the same thing, pre-counter-culture, with a greater gardening aspect. But if you wanted to learn how to grow aspargus, or graft your apple tree, or get a start from your Dad's 50 year old grape vines, you could find it there.

What do we have now? HGTV, with all kinds of garden make-overs, curb appeal, ,'garden rooms' , landscaping, hardscaping, and lots of stuff to buy, of course. There probably is something that I dont know about, but it seems like it's all marketing and consumer oriented, instead of true gardening oriented.

Of course, there's the GardenWeb, where everyone can sign on and discuss their gardening, and all of the how to and success and failures. Maybe that's the 21st century answer to those old garden shows. And of course, some blogs.....

I would still like to turn on the TV, some time, and watch someone walking through their back yard and pull a grub off a leaf and talk about it. Dirty fingernails, and shirt tail half out, and all.


  1. They disappeared under the weight of a lack of advertising and a younger audience that wanted "easy" gardening and instant rooms rather than gardening skills.

    There are places to learn real skills but you're right, they are few and far between.

  2. There is still "Gardening by the yard" on HGTV not too bad information there and Paul James is quirky but definately entertaining.

  3. I have seen that show. True, it is closer to what I was thinking about. Still, I would love to get my hands on a DVD of the old Doc and Katy Abraham garden show....