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Garden Design

Top 10 new gardening show ideas

Mary Gray

Mary Gray

March 22, 2012

As many others have pointed out before me, there is a dearth of quality gardening programming in this country. What a shame!  Here are some of my ideas to rectify the situation:

What Not to Plant

What Not to Plant

Each week, a snarky pair of hosts selects a different homeowner who has no design sense whatsoever. After forcing her to watch black and white videos of her hideous front garden, the hosts visit her home and tell her why all of her plant selections are god-awful. Even if the homeowner protests (“But my grandmother planted those camellias!”) the merciless hosts whack each plant down one by one with a machete and toss them into a wheelbarrow. But it’s all really funny because the hosts are super stylish and witty.

Gray’s Botany (photo mhofstrand)

Gray’s Botany

Ah, young love. In this show, things get pretty steamy down at the County Extension Office. Young, impossibly attractive horticulturists and plant pathologists breathlessly discuss soil test results and severe budget cuts ….does it get any sexier?

Kitchen Garden Nightmares

The gardening world is waaaay too polite. It’s not fair that cooking shows get bad-ass hosts like Gordon Ramsay and we get only meek, dewy-eyed creatures like P. Allen Smith (no offense!). Kitchen Garden Nightmares would be an elimination-style reality show in which contestants compete to design, plant, and grow the most bountiful vegetable garden. Elimination challenges would include who can make the best tomato cage out of old couch springs and who can concoct the most effective deer repellent using only bodily fluids. But the real draw would be the ruggedly handsome but psychotically angry host, who would scream profanities at the contestants: “OH FOR F#@K’S SAKE!!  YOU DIDN’T PUT F#@KING INOCULANT ON THE F#@KING PEAS???  GET THE F#@K OUT OF HERE!”  When a contestant is eliminated the host would jab a pitchfork through a photo of his or her face.

Two and a Half Hens (photo nutmeg66)

Two and a Half Hens

Sophisticated, twenty-something eco-couples argue over whether to use their urban chickens for eggs or meat.

Composting With the Stars

Get an insider’s look at the kitchen scrap cans and compost heaps of the rich and famous. Here’s a little teaser. Gwyneth Paltrow: soybean hulls, peach pits, and organic carrot tops.  Jack Black: Frito crumbs.

So You Think You Can Cloud Prune? (photo Ann Hohenberger)So You Think You Can Cloud Prune

So You Think You Can Cloud Prune

D-List celebs compete to clip their hedges into whimsical shapes, as popularized by the likes of Piet Oudolf, Jacques Wirtz, and Thomas Rainer. In the first episode Danny Bonaducci fashions a “sort of mashed potato blob” out of a yew bush.


The sequel we’ve all been waiting for. While Jack Bauer is out fighting terrorists and stuff, what is happening with his outdoor spaces all that time? Featuring simultaneous, split-screen footage of his lawn, shrubs, and flowerpots – all in real time. (A slower-paced show for the older demographic.)

Curb Your Enthusiasm for Firepits (disqualified contestant)

Curb Your Enthusiasm for Firepits

In this show, three different landscape designers each present a design proposal to the same prospective client, who then selects his favorite. The crazy catch: none of the designs may include a firepit. Tune in to see if it can be done!

Pimp My Hive

Each week, an unsuspecting beekeeper is assaulted by a flash mob of designers who want to make his apiary more fabulous.

Pimp My Hive (photo Peter Grima)

The Bulb Whisperer

At a Montana ranch, a woman experiencing inner turmoil because her tulips won’t bloom seeks the help of a taciturn older gentleman:

 ”I hear you help people with bulb problems.”  

 ”Truth is, I help bulbs with people problems.”

It’ll be really deep.

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