Gardening Magazine

Why Gardening and Reality TV Do Mix

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0
**Disclaimer - What you are about to read is truly groundbreaking in the arena of reality television. These concepts will soon be formally  presented to a number of TV networks so don't even think of stealing them. Thank you.**

In my recent post on the "art of weeding", I discussed how important it is to fill your thoughts while weeding for hours on end. It is a survival mechanism and allows the time to fly by while you are painfully pulling ugly plants out of the dirt.
While recently on a weed eradicating expedition of epic proportions, I started analyzing why there is such a lack of quality gardening programming on television. There isn't one "must-see" show on TV and I will scream to holy hell if I have to watch another garden makeover show starring photogenic wanna be actors. There is an absolute lack of quality gardening shows on HGTV (please remove the upper case "G") and it is time to make a stink over it.
Funny thing is, as the hours dragged on and my hands became more and more mangled, I started to think more about TV and plants but in an admittedly less "intelligent" manner. I'll blame it on excessive fatigue.
Since we are all friends here, I can admit to you all that I watch some seriously awful reality TV. And you know what? There is no gardening representation on any of these shows.
You say "that's a good thing".
I say "you haven't thought it through enough".
There are some seriously awesome opportunities to fill this void and I will do just that for you today.
Here are four shows that I guarantee would be successful if managed properly:
1)The Gardener/Gardenerette
The show would be modeled after "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette". On that show, men or women vie for the heart of the bachelor/bachelorette through cheesy cocktail parties, bizarre group dates, one on one dates that defy reality (like personal fireworks over a river in Paris) and numerous trips all over the globe. At the end of each episode, the bachelor/bachelorette hands out a rose to those "competitors" they want to stick around longer:               
Why gardening and reality TV do mix
It is all in the name of love (or so we are told) with one winner emerging who usually proposes in a garish ceremony that defies description. It is fantastically awful and I can't get enough of it.
For "The Gardener" or "The Gardenerette", I envision the same sort of set-up where the contestants are given gardening tasks to complete and they are judged on their work. Or beautiful gardens are visited and we can watch and see if the potential couple are in agreement on what they like ("Seriously, can hydrangeas be any more boring? He's outta here"
The show could have a romantic angle or the true focus could be on the gardening aspect. Maybe a super wealthy individual seeking a gardener for their large estate would work? We'll really need to test this with audiences first.
Some of the gardening tasks I've mulled over:
Sample task 1 - Plant a butterfly garden in 4 hours. This includes working on a budget, shopping at the nursery, plant installment and design capability. I could see someone emerge as the winner if they snip off all of the flowers at planting time knowing that would ensure better long term plant success. Someone not afraid of commitment.
Sample task 2 - Clean up an old overgrown garden filled with nasty weeds and potentially nasty creatures. Who will take the plunge all in the name of garden love?
Sample task 3 - Who can prepare the best dinner using only plants found in the wild. We'll need a doctor on stand-by for this one.
I'm still working through the details on this show and whether or not it has a romantic angle. Either way, I smell a future hit.
2)Garden Swap            
This show would mirror the show "Wife Swap" where two families swap wives/moms for a period of time. The interest lies in how the families adjust with the new arrangement and of course the two families chosen are drastically different:
Why gardening and reality TV do mix
Yes, that is Gary Busey above who actually participated in the show.
In my version of Garden Swap, two avid gardeners swap gardens and each has to maintain the others while relocated. To make it interesting, the garden styles of each participant are completely opposite of the others.
Scenario 1 - A vegetable gardener who cares little about appearance vs a high maintenance gardener who allows a weed to emerge.
Scenario 2 - A Miracle-Gro loving gardener who shuns all fertilizers.
Scenario 3 - A tropical gardener vs. someone who gardens in the cold of the northern hemisphere.      
Not only would there be drama and some awesome bickering and fighting, but lessons would be learned so each episode could be wrapped up in a nice package at the end.
Hear that ABC Family?
3)Only Homegrown
This show would be very similar to the show "Survivor" where contestants attempt to survive on a deserted island with no modern amenities:
Why gardening and reality TV do mix
In my version of the show, participants are not allowed to leave their property for a period of time and they can only survive on the food they've grown themselves. Who ever lasts the longest wins.
There would have to be some prep work ahead of time by each contestant to ensure there is food available at the time the contest begins so that will have to be ironed out.
But the point of the show would obviously be "Who needs to buy processed foods and garbage when you can get everything you need in your own backyard?".
I smell an Emmy on this one. You hear that Fox?
4)Garden Makeovers Revealed
Maybe my personal fave. This is less of a reality show and more of an investigative report. We will visit families who were given garden makeovers from other shows to expose what happened after the cameras were gone.
Why gardening and reality TV do mix
Were the families given proper advice on how to maintain their new landscape?

How did things look when the 25 mums planted didn't survive the winter?

How was it working with the host and the crew?

Did the hunky host make a pass at the unsuspecting wife?

Did that same hunky host know a thing about soil PH?
This will be some hard hitting reporting and I already can hear the dramatic score to accompany it.        
So what do you think? Would you watch any of these? Am I a genius or a disturbed individual with too much time on my hands?
Thanks for making it all the way through this nonsense if you've read this far.

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