Will my garden get in the media? Probably not. Why would you want it to? Let me tell you what this frequently involves. This is a warts and all account, a personal exposé of graft and cheating. No sex changed hands at any time during this episode. Bad Luck.
Having reached the very apogee of domestic horticulture you are approached by a TV production company to permit filming in your garden for a popular local gardening programme. You eagerly agree, thinking Fame has arrived at last. The date is set and changed several times according to the availability of the star of the programme.
Whether or not you agree, arrangements are changed without consultation and regardless of your own commitments and family needs. Well, you will be recognised as a ‘true’ gardener won’t you, so fitting in with the maestro and his film crew is part of the deal isn’t it?
The appointed day arrives before which you have spent many hours and probably a fortune in getting everything in top-notch order for filming. A virtual child arrives and announces herself as the Production Assistant. The garden doesn’t look as she expected it would. She expresses her surprise and shows apparent disappointment. Never mind the camera-man will fix that with some clever shots and a lens misted with Vaseline. Meanwhile the star and crew will need power points, hot water, parking spots, umbrellas, cold drinks, chairs and somewhere to have lunch. No, they won’t eat with you, Thanks Very Much. Can you recommend a good restaurant not too far away? Never heard of it! Do they have macro-biotic chia and energised almond water? Oh, in Sydney we do…
Eventually the star arrives along with the camera-man, the sound man, and the producer. A start is made by the star making a few introductory comments. A plane drones overhead. The scene has to be shot again. A distant neighbour starts up his leaf blower. Do it again. The star fluffs his intro lines.a line. Do it again. A cloud blocks the sun changing the light and the shadows. Do it again. The star snaps off a branch that is blocking his entrance. Bloody Hell. Your dog wanders across the shot. You guessed it. Do it again. The camera-man squats on top of a rare plant to get the angle he wants for a shot. Bloody Hell. The sound-man backs into a big pot and sends it tumbling and shattered. The PA, from her chair under the umbrella, says she’s getting too hot. Poor thing. Double Bloody.
And so it goes all day. When it is your turn to appear you fluff your words, you stammer, you don’t talk to the star but stare into the camera, you wave your hands too much obstructing the star’s face, you say too much distracting from the star, you waffle off subject irritating the star, the star needs to touch base with his office and PR consultant; time is running out aggravating the star and the producer, a cloud passes angering the camera-man and the star again. The star is getting hungry and hot. The star needs to use your toilet. He’s never seen so many gardening books in his life (in the family room). Have they all been read? Amazing. He’s never read a gardening book in his life. And so it continues until it is all a wrap up.
The astonishing thing is that the segment, when it appears on the show, lasts only 2.5 minutes. You never appear and the star does most of it (face) to camera. And he gets your name garbled!
Ah, well maybe you won’t get any offers to buy the house anyway, and it doesn’t really matter if the dates of your open garden fund-raiser were wrong on screen. Remember you have got your wish and you have been ‘done’ by the horticultural media. And you asked for it.
There are some rather unexpected spin-offs too.
A doorbell rings as a family sits down for a Sunday birthday lunch.
Host: Good afternoon. What can I do for you?
Stranger: G’day, the name’s Kev. I’ve brought Mum and the family down to see yer garden. The wife wants to have a look too if yer don’t mind.
Host: Well, it’s not really convenient now. We are just about to sit down for lunch. It’s my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday.
Stranger: We come a long way to see yer, left ‘ome before 8.30 we did. We won’t be long. Just a quick squiz an’ we’ll be gorn before ya know it. Ya don’t even hav’ ter come with us. We c’n show ourselves aroun’. Mum saw yer garden on TV with that guy who used to be a wrestler ‘n that’s why she’s real keen to come down an’ see yer place. Yeah we can’t come down any other time ‘cos of the sheep and the harvest yer know so we come down terday hopin’ it’d be OK, right?
Host: (after a longish pause) Well, alright. It will be $5 a head for entry. That goes to the local pets rescue service we support when we have Open Days.
Stranger: (after an even longer pause) Jeez mate, that’s a bit rich, 5 bucks a head, but OK Mum’s really been getting’ on me wick about comin’ to see yer place. (hands over $15) I’ll just knock when we’ve finished so’s you‘ll know we’re goin’.
An hour or so passes…………….
A knock at the door.
Host: Finished looking?
Stranger: Yeah, not bad mate. ‘ow’s the birthday goin? Good? Great. Me Mum’s pretty chuffed. Maybe it was worth the $15 after all. Yeah, we’ll be goin’ ‘ome now. Should be there in time to get the cows in. Yeah, it’s a long drive. Mum and the missus will snooze off I bet, the kids too. See ya. (a pause hangs on the air) Oh, by the way Mum left little orange ice-cream sticks by the plants she wants bit of; no need to dig ‘em now but, we knows youse busy. Dig when yer can and send ‘em up. Here’s the mail box number ‘n all that. Thanks. See ya.
And that really did happen – to me.
So do you really want to have your garden in the media?
And do you really want to have the media in your garden?