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Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the television camera?  



What we often see is just a small portion of what goes on behind the scenes as I have learned during my occasional appearances on television.

Today, I thought that I would let you see what goes on behind the scenes getting ready for a gardening segment on television. I documented what went on behind the scenes of my television appearance last Friday.

You may be surprised to find that appearing on camera is the easiest part.  Here is how it all happens…

– Typically a week ahead of time, I am contacted by the producer of the show I am being asked to appear on.  They give me a general gardening topic and then send me a guest sheet to fill out.  On the guest sheet, I list general questions for the host to ask and send in photos for them to use in the segment as well.

– Two days before my scheduled appearance, I visit my local nursery to get the plants and other ‘props’ that I will need.

– The day before, I am busy ‘cleaning’ up the plants – removing any dead leaves and/or flowers and wiping down the nursery containers with a wet rag to remove any dirt.  Often, I plant some of the plants in decorative pots.  Believe it or not, I have a stash of ‘props’ that I only use when I appear on television, which I will show you later.



The next day begins with an early arrival at the television station.  Plants are unloaded onto large plastic carts located in the television station’s lobby for transporting props.

I usually bring someone with me to help me set up.  For me, it’s usually a family affair with various members of my family accompanying me. This time, my nephew came along to help.  He recently graduated from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences and I thought that he would like to experience the workings of a television studio.


There is security in the lobby and only those on the list are allowed to enter.  Guests are expected to arrive 1 hour before the show airs.

After entering, you are shown to the ‘green room’ where you wait with others who will also appear on the program.


Most often, I bypass the green room as I am shown directly to the outdoor area in back of the studio where I will set up.  Along the way, we pass the newsroom.


In the outdoor area there is typically a rectangular table set up for me and I get to work on setting up my props.


When selecting props, color is an important element, so I always try include colorful flowers whenever possible.  


In this case, I was asked to talk about what to plant in winter, so I picked out the most colorful annuals that my local nursery had – in this case, primrose.

Earlier, I mentioned that I have a stash of ‘props’ that I use when I am to appear on television.  Well, I used three of them; a hand shovel, a hand rake as well as a galvanized steel container.  I don’t use them in the garden so that they will always look nice and I’m not having to clean them.  A nice pair of leather garden gloves usually appear alongside my other props as well.


Setting up my props is called ‘staging’ and I must admit that it’s not my strongest suit.  In general, tall plants go in the back with smaller ones in front.

My sisters and mother are very good at staging and have been especially helpful when they have come with me when appearing on television.


However this time, I was on my own when it came to arranging my plants and props.


This is the perspective from where I will stand when talking in front of the camera.  The small TV shows a live feed of what is currently being broadcast and is helpful when being interviewed since I can see what the viewers see – especially when the photos I sent in are shown on screen so I can speak directly about them.

About a half-hour before my segment, a producer comes out and sets up my mike, which is threaded through my clothes and clipped to my collar.


After a busy morning of getting up early, loading plants, driving to the studio, unloading plants and staging plants and getting ‘miked’ – it’s time to sit and wait until it is time for my segment to go on.

Since my segment is being filmed on the back patio and not inside the studio, I usually spend my time in the break room waiting until the television host comes to find me to talk about the upcoming segment.

It’s interesting to note that I never know before I get to the station, when I will be on.  I’ve been on at the beginning, middle and end of the show – I prefer to be on at the beginning instead of waiting.


Shortly before my segment, a ‘teaser’ is shown with close-ups of my plants being shown after which, a commercial is shown.


During the commercial, the host talks to me about what I brought and we both go over what I will talk about.

Finally, it is time for my live segment.  At this point, everything goes very fast.


My four minute garden segment feels like it only takes one minute to do.  I admit that this is the part that I like best – helping people learn how to enjoy their garden and hopefully inspiring them to try something new.  In this case, we talked about adding lettuce and other leafy green alongside colorful annuals in pots.

If being on camera makes you nervous, it helps to just talk directly to the host and try to ignore the camera.  I do that most of the time, but I do try to talk directly to the camera a few times as well.

After the segment is over, I load my things back onto the plastic cart and leave.  Sometimes, I make it home before the program is over.

Later in the day, I receive an email from the producer with a link to my garden segment.  I don’t like to watch myself on TV a lot, but I do watch it once to make sure that I didn’t make any mistakes.  Every time I go on, I find myself becoming a little more comfortable with the process.
And so, that is a behind the scenes look to filming a garden segment on television.  I hope that you enjoyed it.  

**If you would like to view this particular garden segment, click here.
January is off to a busy start.  We have gone from a house bursting at the seams to one that seems suddenly spacious after my two oldest daughters left for home with their children.  While I do miss them, I must admit that I never thought a house filled with 3 teenagers would seem quiet.

Enjoying last minute cuddle time with Lily before she flew back to Michigan.

As I drove my oldest daughter and her family to the airport, I felt that familiar tickle in my throat and knew that I was getting sick.  I wasn’t too surprised with all of the busyness of the holidays that my resistance was low.  

A few days later, I was due to make an appearance on the television show, Arizona Midday, which airs on our local NBC television station.  The topic was to be about winter gardening tasks.

While I have been on television a few times before, this was my first time on this particular program.  

As with the other times, I made a trip to the nursery for plants and other things for the television spot since the producers like a lot of props to make things look more interesting.

I came away with a bare root rose (my favorite Mr. Lincoln red rose), leaf lettuce and kale, parsley and cool season annuals for color.  Other props included different types of frost protection including frost cloth, old towels, and sheets.

Unfortunately, as the date of my television appearance neared, my cold got worse and evolved into a full-blown sinus infection.  


So on a brisk winter morning, loaded up with cold medicine and a pocket full of kleenex, I loaded up my plants and other props and headed to the TV station along with my mother who came with me to help me stage the table and provide moral support.  

We spent a delightful time waiting to be escorted to the studio in the green room with a pair of chili cooks who were talking about an upcoming chili cookoff.


Finally, it was time for the gardening segment, which went quite smoothly – I didn’t cough or sneeze once.  The host was kind, gracious and most importantly – laid back and relaxed.

After returning home, I got on my favorite pair of sweats and got back into bed.  I am determined to kick this cold!

If you would like to see the garden segment click here.

I hope that your January is off to a great start!

Have you ever been on live television?  


If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said “no”.  I had done some filming for “how-to” gardening videos for SheKnows.com – but they weren’t live and took place in my back garden.  Somehow, live TV is quite different.


Last time, I told you about my upcoming appearance on our local ABC station to talk about creative container gardening tips.  


Posing next to my newly-planted container filled with purple basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley.  White petunias add beauty to the pot.



This was the second time that I had been asked to appear on Sonoran Living, which is a local morning program.  

Last time I was on the show, I spoke about ‘Fuss Free’ Plants.  This time, I would be talking about  creative tips for container gardening.  


So, I went shopping for my ‘props’.  I decided to plant an herb container as well as a pot filled with vegetables and flowers.  I bought several medium-sized pots, a variety of potting mixes and of course, plants.


My sister came along with me to help with the props and setting up.  I had planted the pots ahead of time, so setting up wasn’t too difficult.

The main focus of the demonstration would be the three pots, the potting mixes and the recyclable grocery bag.

They tell you to bring a lot of props, which look good on television.  So, I brought gardening gloves, some hand tools and extra plants to help ‘set the stage’.  My microphone was there for me to put on and I was almost ready.

Finishing up planting my vegetable/flower container.

Last time I was on the show, mine was the first segment.  It went very fast and we were back on the road before the show was over.  

This time, I was to go last.  So after everything was set up, my sister and I were invited to wait in the staff break room.  

To say that I wasn’t nervous would be an exaggeration.  But, I was not as nervous as my first time.  It’s actually not as hard as doing a “how-to” video where you have to talk to the camera.  On the show, I am talking to a person who asks me questions so I don’t speak directly to the camera at all.  If you lose your train of thought, they are there to get you back on track.

Of the tips I shared on air – using recycled, plastic containers to fill the bottom of large pots as well as using a recycled grocery bag as a container were the most popular with the hosts.

I had a great time and hope to be invited back again.  

Below, is the link for my container gardening segment and at the end you see where I accidentally got involved in a conversation at the end about “Dancing With the Stars”.

I hope you enjoy it and come away with some helpful tips that you can use when creating your own container garden.

**You can view my first appearance on Sonoran Living where I talk about “Fuss-Free Plants” here.
Spring in the desert brings a flurry of activity out in the garden – much of it involving container gardening.

It is much like the saying, “Out with the old and in with the new.”  Cool-season plants are traded out for those that can handle the hot temperatures of summer.  

Yesterday, I spent some time at my local nursery shopping for containers and plants in preparation for my television appearance tomorrow morning on Sonoran Living.  

I was asked to talk about creative container gardening tips, so I thought that I would give you a little preview…

1. Jazz up the appearance of your containers by painting them a different color.


Let’s face it – beautiful containers can be expensive and cheap plastic containers can be a bit on the boring side.  I like to dress up plastic containers by adding a coat of paint.  

Many spray paints can be used on plastic and last a long time.  I have several painted pots in my garden that add a welcome spot of color.

2. Grow herbs and vegetables along with flowers in pots.

Leaf lettuce and garlic grow along with flowering petunias.

I enjoy growing vegetables and herbs in pots.  In the fall, I plant leaf lettuce, spinach and garlic in my large pots alongside flowering petunias.

Winter container garden with spinach, parsley and garlic growing with pink petunias.

Use a potting mix, which is specially formulated for containers and holds just the right amount of moisture.  

Container plants need to be fertilized.  You can use a slow-release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer of your choice.

Cucumbers growing with vinca and dianthus.

In spring, vegetables such as cucumbers, bush beans and even zucchini can grow in containers paired with flowers. 

*If you would like to try growing edible containers, click here for more info.

3. Plant succulents for a low-maintenance container.


Succulents do very well in pots and need less water than those filled with flowering annuals and perennials.

Desert Spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri).
Succulents are a good choice for planting in areas where water is not easily accessible.  While they will need supplemental water, the fact that they don’t need to be watered daily, make them a better choice for these areas.


In general, succulents are lower-maintenance as well, so they area great choice for the ‘fuss-free’ gardener.

Use a potting mix specially formulated for cactus & succulents, which will drain well.

Fertilize succulents spring through fall using a liquid fertilizer at 1/2 strength.

*For more information on how to plant succulents in containers, including how to do it without getting pricked, click here.

4. Fill the bottom space of large pots with empty, plastic containers. 


Let’s face it – potting mix is expensive and makes your pots very heavy.  If you have a large pot, your plant’s roots most likely will never reach the bottom – so why waste soil where you don’t need it?

Fill up this unused space with recycled plastic containers and then add your potting mix.  You will save money AND your container will be much lighter as well.

*Next time, I’ll have some fun ideas for containers including how to grow flowers or vegetables out of a recyclable grocery bag.

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Tomorrow at 9:00 am, I will be on our local ABC station’s show, Sonoran Living, talking about “Creative Container Gardening Tips”.  I hope you tune in!  I’ll be sure to add the link for those of you who live outside of the Phoenix metro area, tomorrow, if you’d like to watch it online 🙂