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August 21, 2016

Garden Story s01.

PBS USA 2007

"Garden Story" is a documentary series depicting the extraordinary power of gardens to transform our lives and strengthen our communities. Ten engaging episodes filmed across America profile a wide variety of remarkable gardens. Some are creating positive social change in our cities, while others are protecting our natural environment.


A poet of the Harlem Renaissance, Anne Spencer was also an avid gardener who received creative inspiration and rejuvenating energy from her garden. What most would consider an ordinary plot of land in an urban setting, Spencer regarded as a natural extension of her artistic endeavors. This episode explores in detail how Spencer designed her garden and how in turn it influenced the themes and language of her poetry. It also depicts the rich social and cultural life that centered in her garden, which served as an outdoor gathering place for family, neighbors, and visitors to the Spencer household.

This episode explores the meaning and significance of an ethic of land stewardship by focusing on a nature preserve in the mountains of West Virginia. The Upper Shavers Fork Nature Conservancy Preserve is rare in ecological complexity, and blessed with extraordinary scenic beauty. It is situated in the million-acre Monongahela National Forest within the southernmost section of the northern boreal forest and contains the highest major river in the eastern United States.

The Ashintully episode is the story of one man, composer John McLennan, and his conviction that his happiness and peace could be found in a place, his birthplace high on a ridge in the Berkshires. His family's elegant mansion was lost in a dramatic blaze in 1952. Only after it was destroyed did McLennan begin work on a garden surrounding the farmhouse and barn in the forest below. The creation of the garden and McLennan's ultimate desire to preserve it as his legacy is the story of one man's discovery of peace through the creative process of working closely with nature.

This program presents the many ways the gardens of the University of Virginia enhance the lives of students and faculty and serve the academic mission of the university. It discusses how gardens were an important part of Thomas Jefferson's original plan for the University of Virginia by providing quiet places of respite for faculty, outdoor classrooms to teach science, and sources of fresh vegetables for the dining halls. Today the gardens continue to enrich the lives of students and faculty and serve an even wider range of uses.

This episode features the Prudential Outdoor Learning Center, New Jersey's first urban environmental education resource center - a facility that serves low-income youth, grades pre-K through 12 - from Newark and surrounding urban areas. The center houses one of the most effective programs in the country to teach inner-city children about the importance and beauty of the world of nature. Host Rebecca Frischkorn visits the gardens and talks with volunteers, teachers, and students who recount their love of these gardens and the many things they have learned from them.

Gardens can be powerful instruments of social change. In New York City, community gardens have helped create strong community bonds, lowered crime rates, and raised property values. This is an episode about how the community garden movement evolved and how these gardens continue to affect the lives of individuals each year in New York. The focus is on the East Village since this is where the movement began, and it contains the largest concentration of community gardens in the five boroughs of New York City.

This program is about the power of gardens to heal in a variety of contexts, including several medical facilities and a memorial to the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Featured gardens include one for AIDS patients, a rehabilitation garden for children with neurological and orthopedic problems, a garden addressing the needs of those suffering from Alzheimer's and a series of memorial groves serving to heal the psychological trauma of the events of 9/11. The viewer experiences in vivid detail how such restorative gardens are an integral part of the practice of medicine through their capacity to relieve the stress of patients, their families, and medical staff.

This program focuses on some of New York City’s most important and original new parks. Their designers and citizen advocates discuss why and how they were created and their contributions to city life. They also explain how these parks both resemble and differ from older ones in New York’s rich legacy of park design. The color and lushness of their planting design and many imaginative features suggest we view them as engaging “public gardens”, enriching the lives of New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Often a garden is a portrait, rich and revealing, of its creator. The remarkable garden of Harvey Ladew, sportsman and art connoisseur, is just such a portrait, etched in the rolling hills of southern Maryland. This program explores Ladew’s passion for gardening and how that passion, bordering on obsession, led him to create one of America's most original and eccentric gardens. The 15 rooms of Ladew's immense garden, built over more than 40 years, delight us with constant surprises and expressions of his wry sense of humor.

This program depicts the extraordinary efforts of the Missouri Botanical Garden to preserve and protect our natural environment on a local, regional, and international scale. It explores the many facets of the garden's vital mission to promote biodiversity through its outstanding programs in scientific research, conservation, sustainable development, and public education. The program corrects the popular misconception of a botanical garden as merely a kind of zoo for plant life or a showcase for dazzling botanical displays.

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