Gardening Australia has been off the air since June 26th. The unusual production hiatus has been providing a qualifying bonus for rival Friday night lifestyle shows Better Homes and Gardens and The Living Room just rebooted. The host of the ABC television gardening program Australia has been told that his services will no longer be needed next year. Gardening Australia Live in Sydney delivered last weekend, but where were they all? The show seemed to have everything right: all the TV presenters on board and a pretty good list of exhibitors.
But with only a few thousand visitors, it was a disaster for everyone involved. When I visited late in the morning on Saturday, hoping to be blown away by the rush, the main market was like a ghost town. Although Costa is a charming guy (whatever you feel about his hair) and very committed to what he believes passionately, I think the strong and constantly repeated ecological message on Gardening Australia TV is counterproductive: it disconnects more people than he converts and convinces. It was well-stocked with gardening knowledge from the TV presenters who held consecutive talks and workshops in 3 different stages, there were nurseries such as Coachwood, Geranium Cottage and Garden Express that sold excellent plants and any number of suppliers of quality ancillary products, from fertilizers even tools.
Over the years, the range of products available at the show has become less varied and I would love to be able to buy an Australia gardening bag or a Felco display bag or a Neutrog display bag. Millie shows some simple ways to collect and create the materials you need to feed your garden, free of charge. While they are environmentally conscious, I think the constant message of “ecological and organic sustainability” currently being promoted by Gardening Australia is a real displeasure for them. It would be nice to hear again about the cottage gardens for an example that has always been popular with Australians and their love of roses.
I'm not commenting here if I think Gardening Australia has lost the overall plot, just that this doesn't appeal to the demographics of showgoers, who then voted with their feet. Regarding the right time for a show, I think the best time is late winter, as gardeners are eager to get stuck in the backyard work. With that said, both my husband and I enjoyed the talks and it was a pleasure to meet all the different Gardening Australia presenters who are down to earth people. I would like to defend the GA TV show, which I think has very interesting segments on gardening techniques, as well as the broader topic of sustainability.
I'm just going to the Easter show to see all the regional crafts and exhibits and the addition of more gardening displays would be an added attraction. It would be very welcome to return to the basics of showing the average gardener how to overcome and deal with common garden problems. Let's face it, gardening isn't a priority for most Sydneysiders, so these programs inevitably try to attract the same crowd.