“Central Texas Gardener,” a popular, 20-year-old television series produced by KLRU, Austin’s PBS affiliate, filmed my garden on Wednesday. What a thrill! In the photo above (left to right): Tatiana Miller, Jerin Crandell, and Linda Lehmusvirta—the “CTG” team that made me and my garden feel like a star.
Blogging really does pay—in the currency of fun and publicity if not in cold, hard cash. A few months ago, “Central Texas Gardener” producer Linda Lehmusvirta emailed from my blog’s contact page to ask if they could interview me and tape my garden for the show. Could they? You bet they could!
She set a date for late October, and I was excited for about one minute before anxiety set in. I looked at my garden with a newly critical eye and found much to concern me. I began “fluffing” with a vengeance. I trimmed and clipped and planted and got started on a shed remodel that I’d been planning to do later in the year. I held off on a bed redesign that would have made part of the garden look puny and new.
I even timed how long it took for my salvias and roses to rebloom after a light trim, and then I followed a trimming schedule that would have everything blooming on the right day. Nature laughs at that kind of planning. A sudden cold front delayed the roses’ rebloom and subdued the salvias. The day of taping arrived, with my vision of a garden awash in roses amid feathery ornamental grasses and colorful salvias only half realized.
And you know what? It didn’t matter. Linda, cameraman Jerin, and assistant Tatiana were relaxed and funny and generous with compliments, and right away I was having a great time. During Linda’s interview, I babbled away about the garden, and then for the next hour or so, while Jerin and Tatiana worked on shooting the garden in the most flattering light, Linda and I just gabbed like two old friends. She told me about past shows she thought I’d like (many are now viewable on YouTube; search for “KLRU gardening”); I told her about the burgeoning field of garden coaching. Naturally, we talked a lot about our favorite plants and gardens.
Jerin and Tatiana getting ready to roll camera
I’ve enjoyed “CTG” for many years. Hosted by Tom Spencer, a Mouse & Trowel Award-winning blogger from Austin, the weekly, 30-minute show airs on PBS stations throughout Texas and in New Mexico. Here’s what “CTG” is all about, according to its website:
“Central Texas Gardener” showcases exquisite Central Texas gardens and teaches how to have your own beautiful garden. . .
“Tom Spencer and I want to help gardeners avoid the mistakes we’ve made,” says Linda Lehmusvirta, the program’s producer. “Central Texas has a unique combination of soil and weather conditions. We want to provide useful information to our viewers, whether they’re new to the area, first-time homeowners who aren’t sure how to get started, or veterans looking for ideas.”
Every week host Tom Spencer visits with experts who cover a lot of ground from plant selection to design. Producer Linda Lehmusvirta consults garden experts from around the state to get you the most up-to-date information on gardening in Central Texas.
Guests include growers, designers, nursery owners and authors. Visits to local gardens share homegrown stories and philosophies. Location footage captures inspiring ideas created by weekend gardeners on a budget, as well as techniques suggested by professional designers and landscape architects.
Austin is lucky to have this terrific, homegrown gardening series. My thanks to Linda for including me in it—and to all three for being good sports about being blogged about. I promised her that I’d make them look good if she’d make me look good, but keeping my word didn’t take any effort. The whole experience was wonderful, and I am so happy to have met all three of them.
I’m sure you are dying to know when “my” show will air. Well, I am too. Linda told me it could be as soon as next spring or not until next fall. I’ll let you know when I find out.
Meanwhile, several hours after they’d departed, the first of the new roses opened.