The Coastal Gardener:

TV show might appeal to gardeners

January 15, 2010|By Ron Vanderhoff

I don’t watch much television. But, as a career gardener and horticulturist, I still regularly scan the channel guide in the hope of a worthwhile gardening show. I seldom find one, but like hunting for snipe, I keep searching. When HGTV launched more than 15 years ago, I had great hopes, but the “G” seemed to be nearly invisible from the channel’s programming.

What few gardening shows are on TV are usually so off the mark and regionally incorrect that I can’t bear to sit through them. If you’ve read these columns for long, you’ve seen my comments on the unfortunate misinformation that most national gardening content offers.

Exactly three weeks ago today, in this column, I said “I have a gardening wish for 2010...that during the new year, local gardeners stop reading national gardening magazines.”


Good thing I didn’t say “national gardening television shows,” because I think I’ve found a show that local gardeners might find worth tuning into.

“The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie” (8 p.m. Saturdays on HGTV, and repeated at other times) has kept my attention for three episodes now. It’s far from perfect, but it is worth the 30 minutes.

What makes the show worth watching? It is a combination of four things that I haven’t seen in similar shows before.

First, the gardens are all here in Southern California; second, for better or worse, Durie has a lot of personality; third, the show has a generous production budget; and finally, the design work is really quite good.

Some of you may already have seen Durie on television before, most likely on episodes of “The Victory Garden,” the long-running garden show that unfortunately has lost its way in the past decade. Durie is an environmentalist and a good visionary landscape architect. Durie, now with both a home and a design business in Los Angeles and his native Australia, is the real deal.

As he clearly demonstrates on camera, Durie, like most of the best designers, is very much about vision. In his own head, he clearly pictures the end result of a project that he is working on. Like other great designers and great creators, he can see the finished result, before the first grain of soil is touched.

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