HGTV -Gardening programs

borderbarbDecember 31, 2009

It seems to me that HGTV is missing out on a HUGE audience. With the economy "constriction". the number of home gardeners is increasing. Ditto for green/carbon-footprint folks. Ditto for folks coping with drought/water shortages. Ditto for soils/mulch/compost. Ditto for gardening with children or the handicapped. Ditto for vermiculture. Even a casual look at the vitality and variety of the forums in the Garden Web format should convice the folks at HGTV that they are missing a vibrant segment of the viewing & PURCHASING public.


The main HGTV site is below:

HGTV main website

Check out LANDSCAPING at top of page. I noticed that the few "gardening" programs were

on very early in the day. This may be the reason that I thought they never had

garden-based programs. Nothing in prime time.


A letter form to contact them:

Do you have a question, comment, compliment or concern regarding this site?

We value your opinion and would like to hear from you.


NOTHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED. If lobbying HGTV is something you think has value, may I suggest that you stay positive and focused with your SHORT [repeat mssg. for different subject] messages?

If the HGTV programers would take just a fraction of the forum threads for program ideas they will be tapping into a world of very interested and interesting folks.


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luke_oh(zone 5 NE Ohio)

What has happened to The Victory Garden? It used to be a very enjoyable and informative Crockets Victory Garden. I've watched it go down hill over the years to the point that its like watching a Billy Mays/Crocodile Hunter gardening infomercial.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 10:01PM
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Luke -- I know what you mean. The old VG respected the process and the gardener. I think that was on public TV.

I enjoy the DIY programs on HGTV. Can't stand the man who does the Gardening By The Yard guy ... too glib and chipper for me.... seems to make a joke of the whole thing. But even that is better than nothing.

HGTV's coverage is out of balance ... too heavy on home buying, decoration etc. Since that part of our economy has tanked, seems like they might bring their programming into better balance.

But a copy of the old Victory Garden or looking at some of Rodale's test gardens might be a good start.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 11:01PM
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I've given up on HGTV. They've been lobbied for years and continued to drop gardening shows. Veria or other serious channels would probably be more interested in our opinions.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:31PM
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Right there with you except Paul James is the gardening Chuck Norris. The should take the G out of there name.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 6:32PM
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I donÂt like to say it, but they probably would get a lot more viewers if they focused on having a greener lawn than your neighbor rather than how to have a nicer vegetable garden or on how to have healthier trees and shrubs.
The shows are fixated on changing and transforming the interior and exterior of your house on a whim or fleeting fashion - go check out the buying and selling homes forum here and see how many are angry about their overpriced houses not selling because HGTV fosters unrealistic expectations (which they do).
It seems to me that people who are buying or selling a house are their market, not those hoping to improve a home in which they intend to live .
There is quite a difference between a house and a home - I would suggest the name HLTV " House and Landscaping Television.
I do agree that they are making poor decisions in the long run because their more loyal viewers are going elsewhere.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 11:44PM
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hgtv is supposed to be home and GARDEN tv, there's what....1 show about garening (gardening by the yard) and i think it's not making new episodes.

the other so called gardening shows are yard renovating shows: how many people want to (and plan to) renovate their yards vs. how many people want to learn how to maintain a healthier lawn and garden? i'm sure the latter has a lot mroe people.....

and IF they wanted to focus on the people looking for a better lawn vs. a healthier vegetable garden, that would be fine, i also understand that have some renovation shows is a good thing, it give people ideas.

but what happens to the yards that they renovate months and years down the road??? do they even show the homeowners how to maintain them?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:26AM
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The decline in gardening programs is a conscious choice by HGTV programmers. I've been watching this network for years - even ramped up my cable service a few years ago just so I could access this network when my cable provider realigned all the listings. The primary reason I did this was to access the gardening shows they offered, which at the time were a significantly larger portion of the programming than they are now.

Apparently, the network decided these were not the revenue generators they had hoped for, both in terms of advertising dollars or viewer popularity and so they started cutting back the garden programming. In fact there was a big push several years back on these forums to encourage more gardening programs by contacting HGTV in much the same manner the OP can see how effective that effort was :-)

To be honest, there were very few real "gardening" shows anyway. Most of them were landscaping shows - full yard renovations with big $$ budgets that were not all that relevant to the average, middle income homeowner or to the hobby gardener. 'Gardening by the Yard' was one that actually presented real gardening info, regardless of how you feel about the host - the information was accurate, broadbased and pertained to plant care and basic gardening tips rather than how to relandscape your yard when money is no object. There were a couple of others as well - 'The Perennial Gardener', 'Rebecca's Garden', 'The Gardener's Diary' - all long since gone. GBTY was the last holdout, due in large part to Paul James' personality (he's a love him or hate him kinda guy but he knows his stuff), but that too has been cancelled.

As I am a professional horticulurist and have had a longtime involvement in the retail nursery industry, I have access to gardening statistics and demographics and hobby gardening IS on a decline. The aging of the baby boomer generation - the bulk of the 'serious' gardeners - the decline in leisure time, tiny lot sizes, the changing economy, ongoing droughts in many parts of the country.....all of these factors and more have made an impact not only on the retail nursery industry but on gardening as a whole. You can even see evidence of it here on GW.......the activity on many of the forums has slowed considerably over the decade or so I have been a participant. Many folks, and especially the younger generation, just do not have much of an interest in gardening. They'd rather be snowboarding or hiking or windsurfing or traveling or any of a zillion other outdoor activities that occupy their precious few leisure moments.

I'm not saying that this isn't a noble cause but don't expect too much success....times change and not always in the way we'd prefer.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 12:44PM
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gardengal, thanks for that post. It certainly was worth the read.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 2:27PM
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The new gardening show will probably make it even worse. The brainless guy from Austrialia or New Zealand has been on the VG and the few times I have watched he seems to know next to nothing about plants and is reading from a script where he is supposed to be hyper at all times. He was one of the announcers for HGTV's Rose Parade and there seemed to be much of the plant material on the floats that he was not aware of. Sorry if you are not aware that most onion seeds look like they are black in the sun and you are supposed to be a knowledgable gardner you need a little more training on what is available here and what it looks like. End of Rant.

VG is now generally carried on local PBS stations generally Saturday mornings.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:40AM
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Victory Garden is on PBS as well as PBS's Create as is P. Allen Smith and several other "gardening" shows. I get these over the air since I see no good reason to pay someone for something that is free and very little of what is on cable, or satelite, is worth what they charge.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 7:13AM
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sammy zone 7 Tulsa

I have been disappointed in HGTV for years, and now I do believe that our Cable Company is going to stop showing it.

I remember years ago when we tried to get them to give us more gardening shows, but our petitions did not work. Unfortunately there do not seem to be enough companies to finance them. We don't spend enough -- compared to putting in new floors or a kitchen.

We do get the shows on PBS, and I like Erica and Rebecca. P.Allen Smith is not bad, but seems rather repetitious to me.

Anymore it seems to be that we have so many stations, such large TV's, and so little chice.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 7:20PM
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Yes . . . the "old" Victory Garden with Jim Crockett, then Bob Thompson, & then Roger Swein were much more of the "how to" gardening and not the lavish, over-the-top mansion gardening we see today. The last couple versions of the Victory Garden are rather boring with boring hosts, other than Kip (a real gardener) who does very little on-air time. The new chef "Michel" is OK. I've seen Garden Smart, P Allen Smith, & Cultivating Life with Cultivating Life being the better of the shows. One great older gardening show was Gardening Naturally with Elliott Coleman & his wife Barbara Damrousch, but alas that is long-gone. Yes, HGTV is now more interested in high-end homes, design, cooking but very little gardening. We need a gardening show for the do-it-yourselfer that likes to get their hands in the soil, start their own seeds, do their own landscaping, etc., and get away from shows that show only mansions with the owners doing very little of the work!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 10:49AM
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Dan Staley

I agree with gardengal's analysis (did she copy one of my on-line rants somewhere?!? ;o) ) and what tommyk wrote, I really miss Roger B Swain.

Nonetheless, the trend of spending money and energy to replace effort may be on the wane as our economy continues down this path and cheap energy goes away. We will then, I think, turn to places such as HGTV for examples and how-tos and success stories to teach us/remind us how it used to be done.

Sure, that network is unwatchable now. That doesn't mean they can't change. I think they will when demand changes.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 12:33PM
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The most G HGTV ever had was just a handful of acceptable shows. I especially enjoyed 'A Gardener's Diary' with Erica Glasener; she knew her stuff.
The sad fact about most TV show hosts is they are not hired for their expertise. They're hired for decent looks, bright white teeth and the ability to smile unaturally while talking (think Giada on Food NW). Years ago, there was a terrible HGTV show about houseplants with a shamefully unqualified female host who pretended (badly) to know what she was talking about, she also appeared as a workout model in my Nordictrack catalog and I caught her on a home shopping network hawking leg hair remover and claiming her long absence from appearing on HSN was due to the many hours she'd spent formulating the newest jar of crap she was selling!
Most HGTV shows are cheap to make- follow someone around looking at homes for sale, film the progress of someone wealthy who has hired a landscape architect to design and a landscaper to maintain their yard, or an episode of 'my big giant over the top whole house remodel'. The rest of the shows are paid for by the Ho Depot and they are no longer subtle about that either.

Landscape shows did and still do concentrate on 'transform my yard in two days', badly. No one ever talks about what the plants are or why they have been chosen, or God forbid there be anything about landscape design principles (they never talk about interior design priciples either for that matter).
The comments above about the decline in gardening I expect are true; sad but true.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 1:12AM
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This is a bit off the subject, but I happened to be watching HGTV recently and they had on a new program, 'Design Interns'. Nothing at all to do with gardening - these were schooled but rookie interior designers competing for a internship position with an established design company. They were given 'challenges' of real-life design projects with real clients and had to provide solutions. What I found quite fascinating were the critiques provided by both the clients and the design company principals - some very astute comments made by both and coming from a design background myself (landscape, not interior), I felt they offered some excellent insight into the design process.

While they may diverge a bit from any gardening or horticultural content, I find quite a few HGTV programs rather good - Curb Appeal, Holmes on Homes, the Design Interns already mentioned - and able to provide the viewer with valuable information....if they are open to it. For gardening shows, I find local programming to better and certainly more relevant to the plants and gardening conditions of my area. Still not great but at least something.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 12:49PM
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I miss the old HGTV shows like Room by Room and Decorator's Cents, where people used a BUDGET to change a space. Now the shows spend tens of thousands of dollars to professionally redesign a room.

I think the same has happened to gardening. It's not enough for the programmers to take a realistic and budget friendly approach to change one yard or garden into something beautiful. Not everyone has $50,000 + to spend on their homes or gardens!

The other thing I'd like to see are shows that explain how to design and plant kitchen gardens, perennial beds with roses, cottage gardens, herb gardens, raised beds, formal rose gardens, organic gardening, etc.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 9:32PM
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molanic(Zone 5 IL)

I'm pretty disappointed as well in HGTV's lack of gardening shows.

The few shows they do have are just makeover shows for people with money, but no knowledge of plants or their care. I watched a few episodes of the "The Outdoor Room" and didn't care for it. It is very similar to the home shows were people show off their new huge gourmet kitchen with high end professional appliances, and then giggle and say how it has never been used because they don't know how to cook.

HGTV also seems to show the same reruns of the few actual gardening shows they did have over and over again. I started watching "Gardening by the Yard" and "Gardener's Diary" a couple of years ago, but I know they were on a lot longer than that. They air the same episodes from the last two years over and over again.

Many of the gardening shows are very light on actual helpful gardening information and repetitive, but are still kind of entertaining. Roger Swain and P. Allen Smith are unintentionally funny. Every time P. Allen talks about his love of "hwwwhhiite" flowers or how this or that shrub "really turns me on", it cracks me up.

If anyone has Netflix there are a few gardening shows on there that I hadn't seen on tv:

-People, Places & Plants with Roger Swain & Paul Tukey (this one is available for watch instantly)

-The Art and Practice of Gardening with Penelope Hobhouse (haven't watched this one yet)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 12:09PM
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Thanks to all who responded. I've been trying to put together an update, but have been waylaid by trying to get ready for CA's rainy week. -- But thought you might be interested in the HGTV corporate contact info ---
This includes e-mail for executives, which seem the best target for any suggestions for future program subjects.
You will note that HGTV's major competitors are:
-- Discovery Communications, Inc.
-- E'Entertainment TV
-- Public Broadcasting Serv.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 4:21PM
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i live in TN and there is a show called Volunteer Gardener on PBS, it's pretty good....for PBS, the occasional sections from Jeff Popper (a organic farmer) are my favorite, i can learn from this show, i never really learned anything from Victory Garden. Of course i learned tons from gardening by the yard. I'm gonna miss new episodes and updates from paul bad he's not a gardenweb member right?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 9:37PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Love him or hate him, Paul James is still around.


Here is a link that might be useful: Gardener Guy

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 10:46PM
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