“Stay Tuned”

So it’s day three of filming and so much has been going on.

My day starts with whatever I need to get going. Today it was white chocolate mocha. On set they have all kinds of snacks and a catered lunch. And they have special flavored water just for me.

I have a wardrobe and makeup team. Can you believe it, a whole team. So we decide what works best for the shot and also makes me look great. Then the makeup artist, Deb Garcia makes me look like a movie star, which makes sense because I am.

I’ve taped interviews where I get to go on and on about so many things in my garden and about my experience. I’m considered the expert on set!

Then Chris and I do our working scenes which are really easy and so much fun. We have a banter going that keeps everyone laughing and we work well together because we both love the work so much. There were times when the director told us to slow down cause we got to work and we forgot we were on film. I’ve been reminded repeatedly that I don’t need to concentrate or work so hard.

I’ve also gotten a lot of great compliments. Jason, the director of photography or DP, and Jerry, also behind the camera, keep telling me that I am doing a great job – natural, animated, compelling, captivating, knowledgeable, passionate, attractive, and inspiring are some of the specifics. Danny, the Executive Producer, is also incredibly pleased with my performance.

So I’m due soon for today’s round of interviews and then tomorrow is some final shots and I’m on my way home Friday.

I am in a full page ad about these commercials in HGTV’s magazine too. The first ad is in the March issue, available sometime in February. I’m going to get a bunch of copies to show everyone. There will be two more ads, one in March and one in April.

More updates to follow. As we say on set – “Stay tuned”


Commercial Day 1

Greetings from San Diego,

First day shooting the HGTV commercial was awesome.  Chris Lambton is hysterical!  He is a joy to work with.  The design team did a phenomenal job on transforming this space.  They’ve got a half moon garden, a cutting garden, and a living wall.  Amazing colors and an abundance of beautiful plants.

We filmed the beginning stages of the new garden today and soon we’ll move into the middle stages where the flowers will be a little bigger and we’ll focus on how to treat them so well they excel throughout the summer.

Can’t post pictures yet but I’ll give you all more details tomorrow.


The Beauty of Pollination

A garden offers us color and scent and a connection with the amazing wonders of nature.  Sometimes we see nature at work — with a pollen covered bee or a butterfly landing on a sweet-smelling flower.  These are not rare occurrences; it’s just the capturing of them that is rare.  Imagine being able to see a hummingbird drinking nectar, or pollen shaken out of a flower.  You are in luck…

Follow this link  http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_the_hidden_beauty_of_pollination.html  to hear Louie Schwartzberg speak for a few minutes on the wonder of nature, and to watch part of his film “Wings of Life: A Love Story That Feeds the Earth”. You can learn more about him at his website http://www.movingart.tv.

I take no credit for this post.  I give all the credit to my mother, who sent me an incredible video; the filmmaker, Louie Schwartzberg, for his inspirational words and vision; and to the natural world around us offering such wonder in will take your breath away.

Just watch the video.  There is nothing I can say that can surpass the awe you will experience.

Until next time,


Making Mini Greenhouses

Here is another gardening project that can be done in the winter.  It’s January in Chicago, at least 2 to 3 months until we can think about getting annuals into the garden, depending on the weather.  So let’s take matters into our own hands and get some plants started.  Let’s make mini greenhouses to get seeds started outside as early as possible.  All we need is a milk carton, soil, seeds, and duct tape.  Oh and we’ll need something to poke holes and cut the carton.

Cut the milk cartoon open on three sides to create a hinged top.  Make the cut at about the halfway (or higher) mark on the carton.  Poke some holes in the bottom for drainage.  Fill the bottom with moist soil.  Sow the seeds in the the soil.  I set up all the milk cartons first, seeds and all, then sealed them up.

IMAG0710 mini green houses IMAG0714 mini green houses


Put them in a sunny spot with the caps off.  This will allow for watering and circulation.  As soon as it gets warm enough the seeds should germinate.  I put a lot of seeds in each carton so I may need to thin the crop.

Once the plants are large enough to transplant to pots or beds remove the tape and open them up, leaving the plants in.  This will harden off the plants, or acclimate them to the outside temperature and sun exposure.  After a week or two you can put them wherever you want.

I chose cool weather plants in the hopes of benefiting from them as early as  mid spring.  I will set up another round of greenhouses in the spring with summer plants that will hopefully be ready to go into the ground after any risk of frost.

If this project is fruitful I will have two kinds of Osteospermum daisies, a purple and a copper color, red Gerbera daisies, snapdragons in multiple colors, and a beautiful Nemesia.  

If anyone has any winter projects to share please do, we love comments and suggestions.


Garden Planning

As you know from a previous post I am working with Scotts Miracle-Gro on a short commercial series to be aired on HGTV.  I will be filming with Chris Lambton from HGTV’s “Going Yard”.  As part of my contribution on this project I have been researching multiple styles and layouts of gardens that I want to share with you.

Often gardeners maximize their gardens to get a great show for as long as they can.  This would be considered and all season garden.  This type of garden includes a variety of plants that, as a whole, offer something throughout the year.  A garden like this may contain spring bloomers like bulbs and lilacs, summer bloomers like Clematis and Coreopsis, traditional fall mums, and red twig dogwoods and Carex for winter interest.  All these perennials are incorporated into one garden with the possible addition of annuals to fill in space and add more color.  This is a great way to landscape when you have a limited amount of space and time.

Other designs may focus on one season, like a spring or bulb garden, a summer color garden, and even a winter garden.  Yes you can have winter garden.  If snow fall is heavy it can cover the garden for a portion of the season, but if you have variable snowfall like we do in Chicago a winter garden can really make a difference in these gloomy months.

You can also design color gardens, like whites, reds, pastels, and silver!  Oh and you can choose themes like hot colors-all reds and oranges, or cool colors-lots of light blues and icy pinks.

Edible gardens bring to mind vegetable gardens and orchards of fruit trees.  You can have herb gardens and edible flower gardens. And for small areas you can combine.  There is no rule that says you can’t plant tomatoes, oregano, rosemary, and raspberries all in the same bed.  Also for small areas you can plant a miniature garden, which allows for multiple plants that at their fullest growth are small, filling in only about 2-4 square feet.

Sensory gardens are extraordinary.  Use plants that give off a fragrance when you touch them like scented geraniums (Pelargonium) and Alyssum.  Use plants that are fun to touch like lamb’s ears.  For visual enjoyment try plants that have exciting colorful foliage.  Many plants will rustle in the wind and for other sounds add crunchy gravel to a path, a fountain, or bird feeders to attract song birds.  For your taste buds add basil or other herbs, and try honeysuckle, you can drink the nectar out of the flowers!

There are many more types of gardens we could talk about-for wet ares or near ponds, for dry desert areas, other themes like a Japanese garden or an English cottage garden.  One of the best ideas came from a friend of mine.  I call it the point-and-plant garden.  It is so simple-you just point to the plant you want, either in the store or from a catalog, and plant it.  This garden is truly a personal creation, you choose all the plants you love.  Once you have a good foundation you can perfect your garden layout and content.

Any ideas you want to share please comment, we would all be very interested.  Thanks for joining us.