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Episode 27 – “Garden of Cosmic Speculation”

Scottish architect, Charles Jencks combines theories of science and nature to create “art”

In the gardens of Charles Jencks, the internationally acclaimed architectural critic and designer has combined traditional and modern philosophies of nature and science with sculpture, architecture and landscape to create some of the most original and unique gardens of the 21st century. Inspired by his late wife, Maggie, Jencks uses the power of landscape and form to tell perhaps the most personal story of all: our search for meaning in our universe.


Episode 28 – “Garden of Earthly Delights”

Artist Marcia Donahue uses earth and plants to create a unique living canvas

Marcia Donahue is a hybridizer, but not in the common horticultural sense, as she has successfully blended her two worlds – as an artist and as a gardener – to create an elaborate tapestry of colour, texture, and patterns in the backyard of her Berkeley, California home. As a horticultural thrill-seeker, her garden is a whimsical and fantastical one – that not only serves as her personal paradise, but also as her art medium, as she believes that “gardening is kinetic sculpture, because it doesn’t hold still, it is always transforming itself”.


Episode 29 – “Gardens of Worship”

Architect Fariborz Sahba defines the relationships between structure and spirit, gardens and God.

Iranian-born, Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba has designed and built some of the most holy sites in the Baha’i religion including the Terraces of the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa, Israel. Aesthetically and symbolically, these spaces are designed for celebration and worship, bringing people closer to the divine. But for Sahba, it is in the garden that relationships between structure, spirit, design and God become most apparent.


Episode 30 – “The Hand of Man and Nature”

The love world-renowned artist Robert Bateman has for nature’s details is rendered in a personal art: his garden.

Renowned artist, Robert Bateman is known around the world for his paintings of nature, but it is in his garden that the self-professed ‘nature faker’ lends his aesthetic eye, artistic skill and use of often man-made materials to create a stunning balance between what is natural and what is fabricated. On his new 80-acre property, located on Saltspring Island, British Columbia,  Bateman’s gardens clearly demonstrate his artistic attention to detail by creating a natural landscape more real than reality, inspired by – and inspiration for – his art.


Episode 31 – “On Grassl’s Pond”

The story of how one man produced a pond the size of a small lake in his suburban backyard.

The word ‘extreme’ comes easily to those who try to define John Grassl’s spirit, adventures, and private garden. As an adult, John has leaped off the CN tower, hand-glided across Lake Ontario, and rode a ferris wheel for 20 days. But his most extreme task took over 30 years to come to completion: a pond which grew into a private oasis complete with an underwater garden of fish, plants, flowers, a rustic cabin and wilderness trails surrounding it. Encompassing most of the backyard, this unexpectedparadise is a natural escape from the sights and sounds of the big city for the man who lives life to the extreme.


Episode 32 – “The Giving Garden”

How the creation of the Kingsbrae Public Garden is a creation of care.

At first, Lucinda Flemer’s dream to build a world renown public garden in the town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, was received with skepticism, but the result of her perseverance cannot be underestimated: eight award-winning gardens spread over 27 acres of land. Named Kingsbrae Public Garden, the property was built by individuals from all walks of life including the young, the elderly, troubled teens, abused women, and people who’d never been able to hold down a steady job in their lives . According to Mrs Flemer, “We don’t just grow plants. We grow people”.


Episode 33 – “A Therapeutic Community”

Providence Farm believes that caring for the land is by nature healing and therapeutic.

For co-founders Jack Hutton and Sister Frieda Raab, Providence Farm was an answer to a growing lack of resources for people with social, physical and mental needs. For the members of Providence Farm, this beautiful 400 acres of land offers much more. Located in the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island, Providence Farm has healed and changed the lives of many through the power of working and caring for the soil. Offering a unique horticultural therapy program, the farm operates as a community caring and nurturing the land together, and as a result each individual is in turn healed.


Episode 34 – “Gardens in the Sky”

A rooftop paradise provides calmness and tranquility for those working in a downtown core.

Built in the asphalt desert of downtown Toronto’s rooftops, Mike Moody’s garden developed unintentionally with the placement of one potted plant on the roof of 401 Richmond Street. Two years later, the result is a beautiful rooftop garden retreat that is now relied upon as a place of refuge by the building’s tenants looking to escape the heat, noise and stress of working in an urban downtown metropolis. It truly is an example of how one can create a space of beauty and environmental well-being in the least likely of places.


Episode 35 – “Tomato Royale”

How one woman’s search for heirloom tomatoes leads her to France to meet the “Tomato Prince” .

Montreal filmmaker-turned-organic-farmer Gwynne Basen loves tomatoes, but not just the kind you get at the grocery store. Basen’s passion is for heirloom tomatoes and her goal is to find those varieties that have been passed down through generations of families, many of which are now on the edge of extinction. In her pursuit of the rare, Basen casts her eye abroad and travels from her own farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec to the Loire Valley in France, location of the Conservatoire de Tomate and the annual Tomato Festival hosted by the ‘Tomato Prince’ himself, Prince Louis-Albert de Broglie.


Episode 36 – “Searching for the Simple Life”

How Philippe Levesque, by the age of 30, has a lifetime’s worth of gardening experience.

Accumulating more experience before the age of 30 than most gardeners do in a lifetime, at age 17 Philippe Levesque quit university and moved to London to work for a garden shop where his talent and charm attracted many of the city’s rich and famous. By the time he was 20, he returned to Canada to pursue his dream of opening his own nursery and founded Macrophylla, an environmentally sustainable nursery in Dundee, New Brunswick. The nursery was a huge success and transformed the community with a new environmental consciousness, but left Philippe with a desire to change his life… again.


Episode 37 – “The Lily King”

How one man’s obsession with the “poor man’s orchid” transformeda small town.

The small prairie town of Neepawa, Manitoba is now claimed to be the World Lily Capital thanks to the work and passion of one man known as the Lily King: Barrie Strohman. An accomplished hybridizer, Strohman has dedicated himself to developing and growing over 2,000 named varieties of the flower at his nursery known as the Lily Nook, and his excitement and passion for the flower has spread to the community as volunteers beautify the town with thousands of lily beds and the birth of the annual National Lily Festival.


Episode 38 – “Teaching to Grow”

Cassie Scott uses the garden to foster social change amongst the children of North Richmond, California.

Cassie Scott uses her love of gardening to make a difference within the community of North Richmond, California. Located in a low income neighborhood where racial tensions, violence and drive-by shootings are common, Scott’s teaching garden at Verde Elementary School provides the students with an area to escape the daily stresses of their living environments while at the same time bringing children of different races and backgrounds together in hands-on projects that for many represent the first joyful experience of helping something grow.


Episode 39 – “Gardener of Eden”

Working with the land brings focus, responsibility and a sense of purpose for Natalie Zaidan of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Who wouldn’t wish to live on a beautiful island and work for famous celebrities and 5-star resorts? For most, this vision presents itself with images of a partying and luxurious lifestyle. But for Natalie Zaiden, this dream became reality with some unexpected results: a sense of self that transformed the self-confessed “wild-child” into a responsible, focused, hard-working landscape designer. With a client list that includes actor Bruce Willis, and as an employer that has provided work opportunities for over a hundred local Islanders, Zaidan’s dream is to change the desert landscape into a panorama ofecologically responsible – and beautiful – gardens.

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