What Gardening Videos Inspire You?
The shorter days and colder weather have kept me indoors lately. When stuck indoors I sometimes turn to books, blogs and videos that offer some inspiration for future projects.
Here's a question that often comes to mind. Why are the British better at creating shows around gardening than we are here in America? By gardening I mean all the related fields of Landscape Architecture, Landscape Construction, Landscape History, City and Regional Planning and of course gardening itself. In Britain they have gardening celebrities - household names that seem to be on par with Hollywood celebrities here in the States in the sense that they have gained a foothold in popular culture. Gardening as a whole just seems to carry more weight in Britain than it does here for the vast majority. To be sure we have our own landscape traditions going back a few hundred years and there are many of us who enjoy planting, growing and shaping the landscape - but it's different. I'm not entirely sure why it's different but that's part of an unasked question that I find fascinating.
Here's a few videos, or tv series, that I hope you'll find inspiring during these last days before Spring arrives.
Read more in this recent Architectural Digest piece on Umberto Pasti's home.
If you have not yet seen "The World in 80 Gardens" I highly recommend putting aside some time for a few episodes. My favorites of course are any episodes that cover gardens with Mediterranean compatible plants. The host Monty Don has been well known in Great Britain for a long time and has created many excellent shows over the years - many of which seem to be available on Youtube and Netflix. My only complaint about this series is the portrayal of American gardens... but I won't say more.
Also excellent from the same host are shows based around gardening traditions we take for granted and how they evolved from the local history of a country and or time. There is one multi-episode show each for France, Italy and Japan. The "Italian Gardens" series goes into the origins of Italian Renaissance gardens and how / why for a brief period some the worlds most powerful people were competing to create the most awe inspiring gardens. This series from Monty Don reminds me of an amalgam of different Landscape Architecture professors talking about the history, design, purpose and practicalities of famous gardens. A worthwhile watch if you have Netflix or are willing to hunt down the episodes on Youtube. Check out the trailer:
The host, Alan Gardner, views the landscape through the lens of autism. This gives him a unique and at times more insightful understanding of a garden's needs. I enjoyed the first season because it was so quirky and the often times whimsical gardens he and his crew created. To be honest (in the second season) the final product seemed more about him than the clients - but maybe that's just my impression.
Two full seasons are available on Amazon Prime - although sometimes you can find lower resolution copies other places on the internet which is how this I first bumped into the program.
But ... I'm not saying there are no Americans creating interesting, thoughtful, video content. Summer Rayne Oakes has the great Youtube channel #PlantOneOnMe. Where the Brits seem very into tradition and invoking names like Palladio, Capability Brown, Gertrude Jekyll or speaking about the history and nuances of Italian Renaissance gardens etc there are novel approaches to gardens (that perhaps borrow from the past) as in Thailand's Nong Nooch. Summer's style is not a directed, academic lecture (as seems Monty's style) and more about just letting interviewees speak.
Would like to hear about your favorite gardening related shows. What do you find inspiring?