Skip Mancini asked gardeners from throughout our broadcast area to participate in a special 'show and tell' series on Growing on the High Plains. A 'June in January' look at eight great gardens begins with an overview of the people and places that Skip visited during the summer of 2008.
If you're a frequent listener to Growing on the High Plains then you've probably heard me use the term 'talking gardens', because visiting with people about their horticultural experiences is one of my favorite pastimes. Today I'd like to give you a preview of a special project that started last April, when I asked listeners to 'give me a call at the station' if they wanted their efforts to be included on a Great Gardens Tour. The original idea was to title the project 'June in January', and to record my visits at the height of the growing season in June, then broadcast them in January when all about us was cold and dreary. Well, the response I got was most gratifying, and the January dates filled quickly, so we decided to add 'June in February' to the schedule, in order to accommodate most of the folks who invited me to come and see what they were up to. And to those who aren't a part of this series, please don't close the garden gate on me, because you'll be the first ones I contact when I do more site visits this coming summer.
But for now, starting next week we'll be visiting with eight gardeners who practice their art and craft at various sites in our broadcast area. And thanks to technology, we'll not only be 'talking gardens', but taking a look at them as well via our HPPR website. We'll go to Atwood and Amarillo, Colby and Canyon, and other points in between. We'll talk to people who have been gardening since childhood and to some who've developed the passion to produce green things later in life. One of our subjects makes her living from her garden, serving up the produce in a family restaurant. Others have found time in retirement to develop some of their botanical dreams. One of our gardens is laid out on a canyon rim and another overlooks a herd of buffalo. Vegetables say it all to some of our great eight gardeners, while others look at tomatoes as a patio accent in a container garden layout. Masses of blooms were on display at several stops, but other gardeners were proudest of having taken on the challenge of growing trees on our treeless high plains. And some gardens grew more than plants, as they featured metal sculptures, mazes, and colorful tschotckes that added art to the outdoor environment.
As I travelled from one prized place to another, I was amazed at the individuality of each garden, and how that space mirrored the individuality of each gardener. No two places or people were alike. But when I returned to the High Plains Public Radio studios and began (with the help of my technical producer Mark Anthony), to create the individual stories, I was struck by the similarities we shared. Everyone spoke of the importance of the soil, of creating good earth and then tending it with care. We also addressed the need for conservation of resources, especially water. And we all commiserated about the difficulty of growing things in a climate that sometimes seems to deliberately undue our efforts. But the strongest common thread in our long distance tapestry had to be the obvious commitment, or should I say addiction, we felt for this heart's desire called gardening. I hope you'll be able to join me each week for a series of great garden interviews, either on air or on the web. And if you'd like to reserve a spot to showcase your own efforts during the next growing season, let me know. You can always reach me at the station, 1-800-678-7444, or on the web at hppr.org.Skip Mancini is the program's producer and would be happy to hear your comments by email.