My research reveals more reasons to cast your vote for Matt:
- His "heroes" start with the gods Paul McCartney and Jimmy Hendrix and continue in the garden design world with Piet Oudolf, Alan Titchmarsh, and Noel Kingsbury. (He left me in the dark after Oudolf, so I’ll be looking for those other guys.) And among his recently bought CDs are some by Marvin Gaye and Isaac Hayes. VERY COOL.
- Though his resume says horticulturist and garden designer, his "greatest passion" is trees and he proselytizes for urban forestry.
- Asked what he’d do if he weren’t a gardener, he says bricklayer or carpenter, something "get-dirty-hands creative." I told you he gets it.
- The teacher of a garden design class I took recently recommended watching "City Gardener" because Matt actually explains what he’s doing, teaching and inspiring along the way. Sadly, no other shows merited a recommendation.
- As I said when I first wrote about him, his designs are exciting works of modern art.
See, HGTV, we love you when you’re good. Please, more smart programming like "City Gardener." All my HGTV rants could be raves like this one.
My rave for "City Gardener" was SO sincere, which means I was a little disappointed by Matt’s new made-in-America show that debuted just this month – "Urban Outsiders." Here are some observations after seeing its first two episodes. He’s still cute as ever, but:
- In both of these episodes Matt was forced to design for homeowners in the L.A. area. Sure, fly a guy over from London to select plants for the desert, exactly what I’d do.
- Now dumbed down for the American audience, "Urban Outsiders" uses so much repetition you think you’re watching Sesame Street. Every single time they come back from commercial we’re told the same introductory info about the homeowners, their space, their feelings about their space, and so on. And it was boring the first time.
- Though his talents as a modern designer are still evident, I spotted a clear design mistake – a cute table-and-chair set perched precariously on field stones with gravel in between. Decidedly nonfunctional. Matt, are you losing your game because the suits at HGTV are pushing you around? Say it ain’t so.
- On the bright side, he still uses really cute British phrases like "I’m really chuffed about their garden" – huh? – and "These plants should look the business." And naturally everything’s "brilliant".
Readers with basic cable, what say you? And if you have a barren city lot in LA, SF or NY and $10,000, you could still be chosen to appear on the show. Check it out. Why those cities? Go figure.