The Gardener Guy

What happens when the garden shows get canceled on television? What happens to the hosts when it's all done? They start web sites! The most recent former television host to do it is Paul James, of Gardening by the Yard fame. His new website is called, "The Gardener Guy." The page I just linked to is his "HGTV and me" page where he explains why he is no longer on HGTV. Paul also explains why television is dropping gardening shows left and right. He say's, "I know it’s hard to reconcile how on the one hand interest in gardening is stronger than ever, and that gardeners spend billions of dollars every year on garden-related products, while on the other hand there’s an apparent lack of interest in garden-related programming by networks. On the surface, you’d think they’d be clamoring to acquire new garden shows." He continues, "the simple truth is that gardening shows, for whatever reason, don’t produce significant ratings, my show included. Basically, not enough people watch them."

What will be interesting is whether people migrate to a website of a former host for HGTV when there are a million other websites about gardening. There is no doubt that Paul is an entertaining guy.  I would occasionally watch his show just before going to work. It was what's on, and if you watched garden TV it's what you watched. That's the nature of old world television programming. New world TV programming includeds hundreds of channels and hundreds of hosts (bloggers). You don't have to watch any particular show just because it's on. Don't like the addvice from one source, just head to another.

Will the former hosts of Televisions more popular gardening shows find success on the internet? I don't know. Anyone can be a star now. What happens when scarcity (only a few garden shows programmed by networks), meets infinity (new garden bloggers everyday)? We are going to find out.

We had a conversation back in 2006 ago about Mr. Flowerdew, an English televison gardening host. It came about when Claire of An Alameda Garden  lamented that, "the fact that we here in the U.S.A. don’t have a Mr. Flowerdew and “that if there was an American Flowerdew–someone knowledgeable, funny, charismatic, and (it goes without saying) organic–that he could be the pied piper to seduce more of us into taking up the shovel and rake? That he (or she, of course) could actually grow the audience”? My answer then is the same as I would give now, "We already have our own Mr. Flowerdew. It’s us! People like Calire and other garden bloggers, and readers, are our version of Mr. Flowerdew. Instead of learning from one man on the television screen, we are learning from hundreds and soon to be thousands of people blogging. Why watch another boring garden show on HGTV with a paid celebrity when we can share with so many others, ideas that are so far ahead of anything we are seeing in mass garden media." Now of course I was not talking about Paul when I said boring garden show. Paul is anything but boring, but the decline in garden television shows was clearly noted over three years ago.

I still don't hold out hope for a national gardening show or host like they have in England.  It is going to be much more localcentric (a new word?)in the future. The future lies in connecting with others who garden in your region or other regions like your's. Watching garden shows produced from back east makes little sense here in our arid west. Gardening is local as my friend Angela say's. 

In addition the garden blogger usually works out of passion, certainly not a pay check.  People with passion are always more fun to read than paid performers. Paul was fun to watch, unlike many others on the little screen. Perhaps Paul's passion will relate to readers on the internet, and his webpage will become a go to place for information and entertainment by many. Best of luck, Paul.