Thursday, January 5, 2012
O Happy Day! A Gardener's Diary is back!
This is a great day! I just watched an episode of A Gardener's Diary, one of HGTV's original shows that launched with the channel in 1995. The show was about a beautiful garden around an ancient mill on a river in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There are some great ideas for landscaping in this episode and some great plants to consider.
Kathryn MacDougald, Mimi Fuller Foster and I started A Gardener's Diary, and it ran for 11 years on Home & Garden Television (HGTV). We went all over the U.S. and even to Canada to tape episodes. Our idea was, instead of giving you a quick six-minute tour of a garden as was the case on Victory Garden (at the time we launched one of only a few garden shows on television), we'd take you to a garden for an entire episode. That way, you'd get to know the gardener, see a lot more plants and have an in-depth look at a private garden you'd otherwise not get to see.
We shot the first episode in June 1994. The channel came on the air on December 31, 1994, and our show debuted the next day. At the time, there wasn't a lot of programming, and the episodes would run several times a day and into the night. We've never had an official count, but we ended up making well over 225 episodes.
In late 2006, we were set to do two more years of 26 episodes per year. I had already scouted some gardens, and we were all set to go. Then, a terse e-mail from our editor at HGTV. There will be no more episodes of A Gardener's Diary. "Tomorrow is my last day," he wrote. No further explanation.
A new president had just arrived at the channel, and I'm guessing that because it was the height of the housing boom, they wanted to make more shows about flipping houses and couples deciding on which house to buy in a hot market. The garden shows that survived were about quick makeovers, with a team coming in and sprucing up a lot. Our show was basically a comprehensive tour of an already established garden. We had a lot of followers who were disappointed when it was canceled. People who desperately missed the show asked to buy video sets. Some of the old episodes were shown for a while, but then it was taken off the air.
But, we're back, this time on Hulu.com. Erica Glasener, the host of A Gardener's Diary, sent me an e-mail with a link to our show. I don't know enough about technology, and I don't know how many of our shows they'll stream, but this is an exciting day. A Gardener's Diary is back!
Pictured above is a path in Louise Poer's garden which was featured on an episode of A Gardener's Diary.