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Garden videos give you Spring when it's Winter and expand your sense of what's possible in your garden.
Garden Videos: Why They Are Useful and Which to Watch
March 15, 2002 by Evelyn J. Hadden

Videos Soothe the Weary Gardener

I bought my first garden videos on a whim, at a sale table in a garden shop. It was during March. Cold weather seemed to last forever that Winter, and Spring wouldn't come for a couple of months, and I craved green. I bought a double set: English Cottage and Country Gardens and The Great Gardens of England, and went home, cooked up a big bowl of popcorn, and watched them.

It was like sinking into a warm bath, throwing off the cold and stark of Winter and climbing into a series of verdant English landscapes, some sculpted and others exuberant, but all emphatically not winter. I've since sought out other garden videos during the cold season. They make a great therapy when I'm "under the weather"—truly ill or just feeling oppressed by Winter's whites and browns.

Videos Expand the Repertoire

Aside from pure pleasure, videos offer inspiration and ideas for my own garden. Touring other gardens is one of the best ways to broaden one's base of design ideas and one's conception of what's possible. Even a group of gardens built in the same region, such as the collection of gardens tended by members of my neighborhood garden club, demonstrates incredible variety of style, mood, and structure, as well as the particular plants each includes.

In fact, even gardens that contain similar plants can look and feel very different from each other. For instance, hostas are popular in my region (if you don't know what hostas are or why they should be popular, click here) and some shade gardens contain little else but varieties of hosta, yet the diversity of ways that individual gardeners have combined and arranged this limited palette of plants astonishes me.

Watching video footage of other people's gardens offers some of the benefits that visiting their gardens would, but cameras can also take the viewer to places he or she wouldn't have noticed or been able to reach in person. A good photographer carefully controls the perspective and framing of each shot in a way that can highlight structure and patterns that the viewer may not notice when seeing the same landscape in person. Videos allow us a chance to look at a garden through another's eyes, and often I learn just as much from how a photographer sees the landscape as I do from the other content of the video.

It Pays to Share

I've previewed videos alone, then shared the worthwhile ones with gardening friends. It makes for a nice evening—especially with treats, a blazing fire, and lap blankets—and in discussing the video afterward, others invariably point out things I didn't see.

Many of my garden club's meetings have featured a video. We take turns hosting meetings and contributing educational content, which keeps our individual costs down.

If I had a family who were not convinced we should convert our lawn to a more interesting landscape, I'd find an appropriate garden video, one that showed landscapes that we could feasibly create on our property, and share it with them.

Where to Find Garden Videos

You can rent or borrow garden videos—in a wide range of subjects, but also widely varying in quality—through local horticultural societies, university extension programs, community libraries, conservatories, and arboreta. If you belong to any garden-related organization or support any horticultural endeavor, chances are, they'll be able to point you to a source of videos.

You can also do as I did and purchase a few especially good videos that you'll watch time after time. Unfortunately, the garden videos that are available from online sources like Amazon.com aren't reviewed as thoroughly as one would wish; some listings don't even include a description of the video's content.

Here's a list of garden videos I've found to be worth watching at least once.

See all garden video reviews from LessLawn

Shop for garden videos and books recommended by the LessLawn Editor.

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