This piece belongs to the series "The UpBeet Gardener Series"
Produced by Marion Owen
Other pieces by Marion Owen
Posted on March 29, 2005 at 10:08 PM
Marion Owen has got a great idea going with her series “The UpBeet Gardener”.
As someone who reluctantly hosted a two-hour live gardening program, I know that gardening on the radio does not work – unless your audience is made up entirely of fanatical gardeners.
This program however has a much wider appeal. It usually combines an interesting anecdote with an unexpected plant link. I was drawn in by “Jimmy Carter Builds a Tree House” and went on from there to “Chilling Inspiration: How Clarence Birdseye Launched Frozen Foods.” The titles are quirky and Marion’s descriptions of plants, such as the pea, that “nutritional hero” are funny and somehow endearing.
The items works best when plants are central to the story. I found “Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett: A Bond of Flowers” a bit of a stretch.
The program could also do with more interview clips and archival material to break up what can at times be a rather long narration. Where sound is used, the mixing needs to be improved. Music fades out rather suddenly; Captain Birdseye’s arctic squall lasted about three seconds.
Marion’s delivery can be a bit self conscious – a more natural style would match the earthiness of this series.
These flaws are easy to remedy. The core idea is what makes “The UpBeet Gardener” work. Marion Owen clearly has a passion for plants and she’s found an interesting way to draw the rest of us in.