It's the Plants, Darling, Watch Someone Else Do It

How to Recommend Plants with Video

Great-performing shrubs in my garden.

Great-performing shrubs in my garden.

Searching the Internet for good gardening videos for over a year now, I’ve come to lament their dearth in one major category – ornamental plants. Thanks to Extension universities and a few media-savvy experts, there’s plenty of help for new veg-growing gardeners, but if you want to beautify your yard, finding answers on Youtube is much harder. For example, what might be the best-performing shrubs for your garden?

Well, to answer that question I first published a draft video on the subject, then polled the GGVideos Advisory Team for their feedback and answers to the big question: How to inspire gardeners to use the plants and give them enough information to succeed at growing them? The overwhelming response was to provide lots more information, but keep it short.

The resulting video (still a work in progress but hey, you gotta go public sometime) uses still photos only, which makes garden videography much easier. The photos show just the plants (no narrator!) but it’s plants at their most beautiful, in gardens, fully developed and often with other plants. In other words, the most aspirational photos I could get my hands on.

YouTube Preview Image

Click through to Youtube and scroll down to the Description for useful links about each shrub, and a bit more about me (in response to another nudge from the team).

A Few Good Plant Videos


Eric Larson, director of Yale’s Marsh Botanical Garden, is an expert I trust and his videos for Garden Clips are conveniently arranged for browsing by plant type. (I profiled Eric and videographer Patrick Volk here.)

I’m also a big fan of meteorologist/horticulturist Dave Epstein, whose Growing Wisdom Channel (with over 31,000 subscribers) I recommend often. Playlists by plant group would help the gardener find the information they’re looking for. (Hint.)

And it’s great to see the industry stepping up, video-wise. Proven Winners has 366 videos on its Youtube channel, and similarly, separate playlists for shrubs and perennials would be a nice addition.

One green-industry expert started his Youtube channel – HortTube with Jim Putnam – just 3 months ago and already has growing advice for dozens of plants. The information is super-useful and exhaustive – well, maybe too exhaustive for today’s impatient viewers (and I’m definitely in that camp). So shorter, summary versions for the home gardener would be a great addition to HortTube’s offerings. The channel uses playlists to great advantage, though, with separate ones for foundation plants, shade plants, screening plants, natives, and more.

More Ideas?

So now’s the time for savvy Rant readers to weigh in. What type of plant video would you watch ’til the end, and what other topics would you like to see covered? Also, do you know of other plant videographers we should check out?

Posted by on December 16, 2016 at 8:36 am, in the category It's the Plants, Darling, Watch Someone Else Do It.
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7 responses to “How to Recommend Plants with Video”

  1. Chris s says:

    Thank you for that video. I love that concept, easy to use. Please do more!

  2. Loretta DeMarco says:

    Chicago has an outstanding public planting program. It is one of the best and has been in operation for quite a long time.

  3. Chris B says:

    You inspire me to try Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ again. I’ve admired and lost it once way back, but now my garden has inched (barely) into Zone 6, so worth another experiment. So your video is doing its inspirational / aspirational work! Thanks.

  4. Garden Rant Garden Rant says:

    Thanks, Evelyn. And you just keep reading! Susan

  5. Although I don’t turn to videos for my information (I prefer written sources; they’re easier and quicker to absorb, for me), I did want to weigh in with some comments. I think your shrub video is informative and to-the-point. It’s useful seeing photos of a plant in different seasons — especially a plant that will take up so much space in the garden. The “pause for more” prompt was a great idea and reminded me of collapsible outlines, letting viewers choose a quick path through or a longer one. Good strategy to pack more info in without making the video any longer.

    I know a lot of folks prefer videos to reading articles/books, so I’m happy you’re developing ideas to help share information through this media. Keep up the good work!

  6. lwc says:

    I think there should be more discussion of neo-nicitoid usage in the plant industry.

  7. Steve F. says:

    My gardening observation.
    I work in downtown Phila and wanted to know if any other cities have as much going on as this city. I was in Baltimore harbor in march 2016 and was highly disappointed with gardening goings on there. The few containers were and planting areas in the harbor area were pretty sorry to look at. I know PHS has a lot to do with Philly’s gardening seen, but how do other cities compare.