After our lively discussion of the DIY Network's decision not to renew Joe Lamp'l's wonderful "Fresh from the Garden", with 65 commenters chiming in with their own complaints about TV gardening shows, I can't resist relating a recent incident I had with a home and garden show that I won't name (notice the restraint).
The show's producer calls to say they're doing an episode about "edible and stepable gardens" – because they're all the rage these days – and wants to know if I have a client whose "edible and stepable garden" they can film. So I explain that my clients don't have edible gardens and that "STEPABLE" is a brand name, not a type of garden that's a hot new trend. I suggest that one type of garden that IS suddenly a hot topic is the lawnless type. I then e-mailed him lots of examples, some of them even using the creeping perennials now heavily marketed as STEPABLESTM (always with the all-caps).
Next thing I know he's e-mailing me back, asking for the names of my clients with "edible and stepable gardens" that he could film, as though our 20-minute phone call had never happened! Back to square one, with me explaining again that creeping perennials are one type of lawn replacement, that that's just one brand, etc, etc. And he writes back to clarify FOR ME that "stepable" is a commonly understood generic name for a type of garden, "like Kleenex". Uh, no it isn't. But by this point I'm tired of trying to help someone who's clearly not interested in what I have to say.
Later I related the story to the landscape designer who'd given this guy my name. The producer had likewise asked HER for clients with stepable gardens and she told him she'd never heard the term! (Anyway, if it were really a generic term, isn't the ultimate "stepable" plant good old turfgrass?) So his insistence on using this term as though it really were a commonly understood word for a gardening craze sweeping the nation made us wonder: Hey, are they sponsoring this thing? And is the episode really an infomercial, with edibles thrown in for good measure? That's the only imaginable explanation for the producer's obtuseness.
THE PUNCH LINE
But wait. The most entertaining moment with the TV producer came when I asked when they wanted to do the filming. Get ready for it – mid-March! Yes, we all know how telegenic our veg gardens are in mid-March, just after we've planted our lettuce seeds and the ground is utterly bare. Heck, not even creeping perennials look like much in mid-March around here, no matter what expensive brand name they may carry.