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New regional gardening show set to air

By Faith Peppers
University of Georgia

Beginning this spring Southern gardeners will have another tool to help them in the garden. “Your Southern Garden” with Walter Reeves is a new educational television show to help gardeners of all levels learn new tips, get fresh ideas and visit interesting sites.

“We anticipate that in this economic climate, more and more homeowners will begin doing their own landscaping and lawn maintenance,” said J. Scott Angle, dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Many will take on this work for the first time and need to know where to start. Others will be looking for the latest drought-tolerant plants or water-conservation ideas. We hope this program will offer something for all gardeners in our region.”

The show, produced by University of Florida IFAS Extension and UGA CAES, is a one-of-a-kind program specifically for the Southeast.

“Our goal in creating this new show is to give gardeners in our growing region a program that will provide educational information they can use outside today,” Angle said.

“Your Southern Garden” is a spin-off of UGA’s highly-rated “Gardening in Georgia,” which has aired on Georgia Public Broadcasting for a decade. Show host Walter Reeves, a retired UGA Cooperative Extension agent and gardening expert, brings the same down-home flavor to this new project.

“This show provides the opportunity to really educate Floridians and others in the region about landscaping and outdoor water conservation,” said Millie Ferrer, interim dean and director for UF Extension. “Watering in the landscape is such an important issue right now, and the faculty at UF and UGA can provide great tips and information to help conserve water.”

Working closely with UF and UGA Extension specialists and researchers, Reeves shows viewers how to put the universities’ expertise to work in their yards.

“Land-grant universities are loaded with cutting-edge, yet practical, information that gardeners need,” Reeves said. “Whether you are a beginner, a piddler or a Master Gardener, there’s something here for you.”

Ferrer agrees. “Our faculty have the expertise to really know what works in our growing zones. ‘Your Southern Garden’ will showcase plants, maintenance tips and conservation techniques that really work in this region. Our goal is to practically show people how to be more sustainable in their yards."

Each week’s show will include a blend of how-to projects, visits to local sites and tips.

“Each state’s land-grant university and their Cooperative Extension units have their own areas of expertise within agriculture,” Angle said. “This is a chance for us to showcase the best of our two schools, give viewers in the region access to the latest horticultural information that’s best suited for their garden and demonstrate the value of the work that is going on in our colleges to public we serve.”

The 2009 season of “Your Southern Garden” will begin airing on public broadcast stations in north Florida on May 9. Beginning in April 2010, it will air throughout the Georgia Public Broadcasting viewing area and throughout north Florida.

“We chose to air the show in areas with similar growing zones,” Reeves said. “We don’t want to be like the national gardening shows that tell you how to make fabulous landscape designs out of plants that just won’t grow in the South. Our aim is to show you only what will work here, now.”

Check your local public broadcasting station’s programming listings for days and times “Your Southern Garden” airs in your area.

(Faith Peppers is a news editor for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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

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