Garden TV

In the Northern Hemisphere, many of us are trapped inside this month. That means it's the perfect time to browse those seed catalogs, dream of spring, and watch gardening on TV.

Since we are now spending most evenings in with the baby, we invested in premium cable and TiVo. So that means I could probably watch a couple hours of garden TV every week! But are all these programs worth watching? Here's my snap judgements on a few gardening shows I've recently discovered.

Garden Police (DCHOME, Thurs 8 PM)
On the cheesiness factor, this show rates very high. The garden police "bust" unsuspecting homeowners and cite them for neglecting their yards. Then they bring in a crew to help the homeowners makeover their yard in a weekend.

Pluses: It's satisfying to watch them cajole lazy homeowners into taking care of their yards. You might learn about a few new plants or pick up a new tip on landscaping.

Minuses: You feel a little bad for these people being chastised for having ugly yards. Although this conflicts with "My Name is Earl", don't fret; there are frequent re-runs at other times.

Garden Smart (PBS)
This is a straight-forward educational show that showcases amazing gardens around the US, as well as sharing many gardening tips and ideas. The focus of the show varies week to week, so some topics may interest you more than others.

Backyard Blitz (Australia)
I watched this show when I worked in Australia for a few months. It's fun because they send away the homeowner on some ruse, then they return to find a newly beautified backyard. So it's great to see the appreciative owner return and be surprised. And did I mention the host is kinda cute? I saw him recently on Oprah, so I'm hoping he starts to make it in the US.

Gardening by the Yard (HGTV)
The host is kind of manic and goofy in an almost scary way, but I did pick up a lot of good tips. Each show features several themes and projects. This show is for real gardeners looking to learn something.

Expeditions (South Carolina ETV)
This isn't really a gardening show, but it's about the plants of the Carolinas. It's unusual to find a nature show that actually focuses on plants, so I think it's a fantastic concept. Unfortunately, this show overlaps with 60 minutes with my husband insists on watching every week, but it comes on at other times so I'm working on recording reruns.

Any shows I missed?


Squirrel torture

I recently heard about two new ways to keep squirrels out of your bird feeders:

1. Add hot sauce to the bird seed. The birds don't have the same taste receptors as mammals, so it won't bother them, but squirrels will run away with burning little squirrel tongues.

2. Buy one of the new bird feeders with a built-in motor that spins the feeder when a heavy animal lands on it. You might scare away a few doves, but nothing is more hilarious than seeing a squirrel hang on for dear life as he spins in circles and then is sling-shot 10 yards from the porch.

Annie in Austin reports that the hot sauce doesn't seem to work!

You can watch spinning squirels on the website for yankeeflipper . This is the company that made my mom-in-law's feeder. They sell them at various retailers and you can find out where from this site.