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Chanticleer, Longwood Star as Channel 12 Airs 'The Gardens of Pennsylvania' on Jan. 4
No matter how cold it is outside, it will be blooming summer in the gardens on your television set.
by Denise Cowie - 12/26/2008
Remember your Richard III? That’s the Shakespearean play with those immortal lines, “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of York…”
A lot of us are already discontented with this winter, though it’s only just begun. But visual respite is in store. Come January 4, some of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful public gardens will be “made glorious summer” thanks to the magic of television – though by a son of Pittsburgh, rather than York.
At 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 4, public television station WHYY will show “The Gardens of Pennsylvania” on Channel 12, a visual feast put together by Pittsburgh journalist Doug Oster and videographer Bob Lubomski. And they captured their footage of the gardens in our area in July, at the height of summer.
This one-hour look at some of the most beautiful gardens in Pennsylvania – which also happen to be some of the most beautiful gardens in the country – will showcase several in the Philadelphia region, including Chanticleer in Wayne, Longwood Gardens in Chester County, and Marywood University Arboretum in Scranton.
Altogether, eight gardens from across the state -- representing a broad range of horticultural interpretations -- were filmed for the show, including the Phipps Conservatorium Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh; Kennywood Park, a traditional amusement park with gardens that is an historic landmark in West Mifflin; a Holocaust Memorial Garden at Mt. Lebanon, south of Pittsburgh; the Erie Zoo and Botanical Gardens; and Hershey Gardens in Dauphin County.
Pennsylvania’s gorgeous gardens should be celebrated, Oster believes.
“To showcase and increase public awareness of these gems, WQED Pittsburgh and I have produced ‘The Gardens of Pennsylvania,’ a new public television program that airs in the Philadelphia market on WHYY on Sunday, January 4 at 1 p.m.,” he says. “The Gardens of Pennsylvania tells the story behind the gardens, the people who maintain them, and the reason they came to be.”
The television special was Oster’s idea. He pitched it to the Pennsylvania Public Television Network, which liked the idea and came up with $30,000 to fund it. Work on the show, which was produced out of WQED in Pittsburgh, began in May, and continued late into fall.
Oster, who gardens organically on his four-acre property near Pittsburgh, is ideally suited to the task. For a long time he was a photo editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette who wrote a gardening column on the side, but he is now a "mobile journalist" for the newspaper, taking photos and writing stories for the paper as well as shooting and producing videos for its web site.
In addition, this workaholic hosts weekly shows for both KDKA radio and KDKA-TV. He is a contributor to shows on WQED-TV and WYEP public radio. He pens an "herbs and cooking" column for the L.A. Times Syndicate, and writes freelance articles for magazines. And he is the co-author, with Jessica Walliser, of two recently published gardening books, Grow Organic: Over 250 Tips for Growing Flowers, Veggies, Lawns and More, and A Gardener's Journal: Life With My Garden.
“I love doing all this stuff,” Oster says. “I’m a story-teller – I like to meet people and get them to be comfortable enough to tell their stories.”
And people do. If you tune in on January 4, you’ll see that Oster and Lubomski talked not only with the people whose vision shapes these gardens – Paul Redman at Longwood and Bill Thomas at Chanticleer – but that they found interesting people wandering or working in the grounds as well.
So curl up in front of your TV that Sunday afternoon. And note that no matter how chilly it is outside, it will be “glorious summer” in the gardens on the screen.