GardenRant Airwaves

I say a bunch of dumb things on the evening news

Stephanieme300

by Susan
Well, that’s how it sounds to me, and I have a feeling you’ll agree.

Quoting anchor Lesli Foster: "Garden Coach Susan Harris says a light spray is good for grass seeds but not for shrubs, perennials and certain trees.  Deeper rooted plants should get no less than 3 gallons of water.  And always hand water because it helps to make your plants more drought-resistant."

Well, I’m sure it made perfectly good sense to me as I was saying it, or some version of it.  I believe I pointed to a plant and said I’d give it maybe 3 gallons when I watered it, and that deep watering, which I do by hand, develops deeper roots, which can handle longer droughts.  Ya think it matters that I seem to be warning: Never use sprinklers or drip irrigation?

Maybe I’ll go leave a comment to the story to clarify a few things.  Like that fine sprays are the wrong way to water ALL trees, not just certain of them.  Or am I just picking nits?

This next may be the dumbest, though.  After I’d said some clients become gardening addicts and really love it, I was asked:  "Even people without a green thumb?"  To which I said categorically: "Yes."  But friends and family will recognize a look of terror on my face as I’m saying that because I’m not sure I even believe in green thumbs and I had no fricking idea what to say.  So, what would you have said?

And how about when I distinguished between weeds and "real plants".  Jesus.

But okay, I should just GET A GRIP.  It’s great coverage!  They link to both my website and GardenRant.  It was actually fun to do.  The cameraman did an amazing job telling the story of gardening with those hours of "B roll" he concocted, taped, and then sliced together in an action-packed, entertaining way.  Very cool.  I should just thank Alia, Lesli and Stephanie, from WUSA9 – and I do.  Heaps.

Here’s the Channel 9 story, and the link to the video is on the right.  And here’s the blog post I wrote about the taping.

Posted by on May 17, 2008 at 3:16 am, in the category GardenRant Airwaves.
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22 Responses to “I say a bunch of dumb things on the evening news”

  1. Layanee says:

    The interview sounded fine but I cannot open the video. I am sure you look and sound maaaarvelous. I think we are all our own worst critics. Remember that most people don’t know a peony from a poppy. Keep up the good work with bringing gardeners together.

  2. For my part, I categorically do not believe in “green thumbs,” and in fact did a whole big rant on the subject a few months ago. (Click my name for the link.)

    The rest of it doesn’t sound so bad, though I suppose that could be because I have no idea what the “right” answers would have been. Always more to be learned, damn it.

  3. YAYYYY SUSAN! You did great! We’re all our own worst critics, you know. Was that your own garden featured on the vid? Niiiiiice.
    Anyway, congrats. I wanna be you one day.

  4. You gotta give yourself credit for simply trying to do a good interview. ( I haven’t seen it but I bet it is great)
    I don’t think the general public realizes how unnerving being rapid fired questions in front of a camera can be.
    It can turn anybody into a babbling wreck.
    At least you had the strength and conviction to look straight into the camera and say what you felt was correct ( at that moment anyways ! )

    I once tried doing a TV show segment for a gardening channel and ended up looking like a frosted white faced geisha girl from all the powder they puffed on my face to tone down my tomato red nerve torn face. – not a good look nor a good candidate for public TV.

    Give yourself kudos, you made it through the interview without swearing out loud in front of the camera crew. ( which actually can break some ice but is terribly embarrassing when that f word comes flying out of your mouth )

  5. Kim says:

    I think you’re being too hard on yourself – I think Layanee’s right. I think the most important thing is that gardening was on the news and you got some good publicity. If it piques someone’s interest, then you planted the seed. Don’t worry about the details; save them for your garden.

  6. Ann says:

    You are being WAY too hard on yourself! You sounded intelligent and confident. You had an even tone to your voice and spoke clearly — both very good things. You came across as friendly, approachable, and competent. This is what people will notice and remember. Congratulations!

  7. Way to go Susan! Great job,
    Shirley

  8. tai haku says:

    You should’ve cheesed up for the camera and said:
    “With a little help from someone like me, anyone’s thumbs can be green!”

    It would’ve been awesome.

  9. Valerie B says:

    I loved ‘weeds vs real plants’ – made me laugh out loud!

  10. Kim says:

    Green thumbs do exist. I have three experienced gardeners that work at my nursery. Two have green thumbs and whatever they plant thrives. The third one, I’m not having transplant anymore because of a high mortality rate and lack of plant vigor. She’s a great salesperson, though.

  11. eliz says:

    You were wonderful, Susan, but honestly, being on TV is always a double-edged sword. I hate, totally HATE watching myself on TV, but then someone watches it and they say they learned whatever.

  12. Pam/Digging says:

    I could not see the video either, but I’m sure you’re being much harder on yourself than anyone else would be. I’m with Elizabeth. Having recently had my 15 minutes (7 actually) on a local gardening show, I agree that it’s not fun watching yourself on TV. Better not to overthink it, but revel in the good publicity for your business.

  13. Kaye Williams says:

    Way to go, Susan. I just watched the video and you really were wonderful, relaxed and confident. You continue to be my inspiration for my own garden coaching business.
    Keep up the good work promoting this great way to reach out to garden-challenged folks out there.

  14. Benjamin says:

    I’m a college teacher. I say so many dumb things, in ways I shouldn’t say them, that when I do say something really neat, really good, it’s that much more memorable. That’s how I look at it. I’m off to use my lawn irrigation on my trees and shrubs just to piss you off….

  15. Heather says:

    Wow, your post is reminding me of all the feelings I’ve had when I’ve been interviewed and things come out of my mouth or get interpreted in ways that I never meant. Kudos to you for using this medium to be real with us about how you felt and for clarifying what you meant. While I won’t bother watching the video, I did get a chance to learn more about gardening just from your clarifications. And that’s the whole point anyway.

    More and more every day I am relieved to see that the official authority of the mainstream media is being deconstructed and us human beings, especially me, are growing in courage to be ourselves.

  16. Lisa Albert says:

    I echo what others wrote – you did well, we are our own worst critics, and the exposure is great.

    But I do understand what you are feeling. Ten years ago I was interviewed by a local TV station about a school garden we (team of students and adults) were installing. The reporter asked me many questions, a few of which were used in the aired interview. I don’t remember too many details but what I do remember is that his wrap-up was a mashed-up amalgam of my answers in his words. I remember yelling at the TV, “Butterfly bush is NOT a native plant!” I’m still not sure whether, in my nervousness, my answers were incomplete or unclear or if the misinformation was the reporter’s fault. I wanted a chance to elaborate, too, Susan. Count yourself lucky, though. Thanks to the internet, you have an opportunity to add comments to your interview that I did not have 10 years ago. Good for you for taking advantage of it.

    There was also an additional lesson for me out of this experience and the other times I’ve been interviewed on TV, radio and for local papers for my involvement with various organizations and activities. I have first-hand experience of how editing and reporters’ interpretations can change the content and slant of an interview. I am much more skeptical about what I see and hear in the media – especially useful during political campaign season.

  17. bs says:

    it’s gratifying to see you trying so hard to get the information out there correctly. people like you really give me hope for the future. heather said it absolutely perfectly… this medium needs people who can push it for all it’s worth, and you’re doing that. you will have many more opportunities, and we’ll all benefit from the way you’re willing to scrutinize and polish up your work. thank you!

  18. vertie says:

    I thought you did a great job, although I was kind of wondering about the watering advice. Do you really not recommend drip irrigation? Everything I have been reading lately about limiting water use in vegetable gardens says TO use drip irrigation, instead of hand watering. Are you opposed to all drip irrigation or just for ornamental plants?

  19. susan harris says:

    Vertie, I’ve never used drip myself but everyone swears by it. If I had someone ELSE to install and maintain the irrigation system and tweak it every time I move my plants around, I’d probably love it, too. Since I don’t, I hand-water and really enjoy the individual attention I can give to my assortment of plants that way.

  20. I’m sure you did OK, Susan. But now you might have appreciation why politicians and pundits have their talking points and stick to them, and view every question as just something to move from and into the point just as fast as they can.

    It always disturbs me when the person being interviewed doesn’t answer the question directly, but in the case of most garden interviews I wonder if the host or producer know enough to come up with the right question.

    Never turn down an invite to be on TV. You’ll master the medium before you know it.

  21. Ed Bruske says:

    You have to watch out for those media types, Susan. Their idea of what the story is might be different from yours, and they’ll use whatever you say to fit their version because–here’s the truth–they have no idea what they’re doing!

    (Spoken as a former newspaper reporter.)

    In fact, you did great, but the bit about weeds not being real plants was pretty funny….

  22. Michele Owens says:

    Well, I think you seemed completely confident. Not so confident…the interviewer and anchor.

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