Published on 11/18/98

New Gardening TV Show Just for Georgia

You watch an hour-long gardening show about growing lilacs, taking tedious notes all the way, so you can have the fragrant, flowering shrub in your yard.

You plant them. They die.

You plant them again, carefully following your notes this time. They die.

Finally, you call your local University of Georgia Extension Service agent or gardening center and find out you can't grow lilacs in Georgia.

That will never happen to viewers of The Georgia Gardener.

This new TV series is designed with Georgia gardeners in mind. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is producing it, in cooperation with Georgia Public Television and Peachtree Film Company.

A pilot of The Georgia Gardener will air on GPTV Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. A second show will air Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

"Conditions in Georgia are different from Connecticut or Michigan or Florida or California," said the show's host, Walter Reeves. "A TV show like this addresses the immediate gardening needs of Georgians."

Reeves is a familiar voice to many Atlantans. He's the host of WSB 750 AM's top-rated Lawn & Garden Show, which airs every Saturday morning from 7 to 10 a.m. He's a frequent featured speaker on gardening and a best-selling author and has appeared on Discovery Channel's Lynette Jennings Show.

"This show will also be different from other gardening shows," Reeves said, "because it will be friendly, open, enthusiastic, yet down- to-earth."

The show, in part, will be geared toward the minimalist gardener.

"We'll have lazy-gardener tips, as well as new techniques that even gardening veterans will appreciate," Reeves said. "We'll have conversations with gardening gurus, for those who want to know what the best minds in gardening are doing right now."

The home garden for The Georgia Gardener is being built on the college's Griffin campus. But the show won't stop there.

"We will use the whole state as our garden," Reeves said. "We will go to Vidalia to see onions planted and harvested, and we'll tell gardeners how to plant their own onions. We'll go to Ft. Valley's Massee Lane Gardens, the headquarters of the National Camellia Society, to see camellias in all their glory, and we'll tell home gardeners how to achieve it in their own backyards."

Each show will take a road trip to see what's going on in Georgia gardening.

Reeves, a UGA horticulture educator, will draw on his heritage as a seventh-generation gardener and his 25 years with the UGA Extension Service. He'll also tap the wealth of knowledge of the university. Researchers and extension specialists have the technical know-how and latest developments to make your garden a show place.

The show will offer publications and a World Wide Web site that will give more in-depth information about most segments of the show.

GPTV, an Atlanta-based, nine-station public television network, is dedicated to creating and distributing quality programs that celebrate Georgia's culture and history.

For nearly 40 years, GPTV has been Georgia's storyteller, producing award-winning local and national programming. It is on the cutting edge of TV technology as the producer of Jessye Norman: A Holiday Homecoming, the first-ever High Definition Television performance special to air nationally on PBS. More than 4 million people watch GPTV each week.

Faith Peppers is the director of public affairs with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.