Gardening Magazine

Gardening Inspiration from My Childhood

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

I have been undergoing self administered psychoanalysis of late (Don't worry, it's OK, I have a B.S. in Psychology ... well technically, I minored in it) in an attempt to determine where my love of plants originated from. It has been an overwhelmingly emotional exercise but I think I was finally able to "dig up" the "root" cause of this passion. 
I had always believed that my love of gardening started when I would stroll around my grandparents backyard as a tot and watch my grandfather gush over his huge azalea collection or get all giddy about his rose garden and the giant blooms he managed to maintain all summer. While this clearly impacted me at a young age and still remains in my blood today, I've come to determine it all started even earlier than that.
Admittedly, I was a huge TV junkie at a young age and to live through your childhood in the mid 1970's to early 1980's is pretty friggin awesome. TV for kids in that era couldn't have been trippier, wackier and stranger but it was also incredibly intoxicating. I couldn't get enough of it ... social growth be damned. 
Which takes me to current day and my self imposed therapy. I was laying on the couch one evening, ignoring my quarreling children when I found myself humming "See ya, see ya, hope you had a good, good time." I couldn't place the song at first but then my wife remembered that it was from the classic kid's show "Magic Garden." Once I heard her say that, I drifted off into all thing kids television from my childhood. And that is when it all made sense. 
These shows were all about the love of nature, plants, animals and maybe a recreational substance or two. No video games, just get outside and enjoy what Mother Nature has bestowed upon you. That was a comfortable place for me that felt safe and innocent and good for the soul. Who wouldn't like that and want to go back to it as they got older? Deep stuff, right? College has paid off after all.   
Don't believe me? Check out this series of clips from some of my favorite classic TV shows and you'll be feelin me dawg:
First up, the aforementioned "Magic Garden". I think this may have been a local NJ/NY thing, not sure. Pay close attention to that beautiful curved path and those phenomenal sunflowers in the back. Add in the folksy tunes and who wouldn't want to hang there for hours on end? 
Of course, what child of the 70's wasn't obsessed with "Sesame Street"? I remember watching this short clip and fantasizing about getting my hands dirty all day. And listen to those song lyrics, it's all about compost, bee pollen and everything natural. Kind of what we are aspiring to today, eh? 

Warning, this "Romper Room" video will f you up big time if you are not purposely medicinally impaired, but give it a shot anyway. All I remember is that bees were cool ... and could dance really well.

"It's the 'New Zoo Revue' coming right at you". GREATEST. SHOW. EVER. I always remember wondering how they could let Emmy Jo sing, but that was besides the point. The Owl was the coolest and wisest dude ever and I still am in awe of all owls today because of him.  

I was a huge "Brady Bunch" fan and can pretty much recite the dialog from every episode. But what stands out more than anything else for me was their ridiculous astroturf backyard. I always dreamed of my own backyard looking like that, where we never had to worry about cutting the lawn or weeds or the grass turning brown in winter. Check it out for yourself.

And finally, who could forget about "Captain Kangaroo". I remember thinking he was such a nice "grown-up" with a comforting voice, but his hair couldn't have been creepier. Check out the flowers on the window sill in this video. It just made everything seem so bright, cheery and positive. 

I am thrilled to have made such a breakthrough in my therapy and hope it may have jogged a memory or two for some of you.

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