It was way back in GardenRant's first month online that I nominated Paul James "Sexiest Man in Gardening," then went on to quote him and rant about HGTV not airing enough of his shows. Meanwhile, his other fans Googled Paul, found my blog posts about him, and left hundreds of messages for him in comments. But did I complain? Okay, yeah, but only because I was hoping Paul would get his own website or blog and talk to us. But noooo, the bigshot TV star was nowhere to be found online.
Til now, with the May 1 launching of the aptly named GardenerGuy.com – finally. So what's it like? See for yourself – I know you will – but I'm a pretty severe judge of gardening websites and I think it's great because:
- There's a real person there, not a PR firm writing boilerplate. One section describes his garden – which is what I most want to know about a garden writer. (More photos, please!) Another explains his status with HGTV.
- He rants. First in a section call Rants, then I noticed his first Tip of the Week is also a rant. Hope he doesn't run out of topics before he guest rants with us.
- The site highlights other "garden gurus", which is unusual, and generous. We sure don't see that on those unnamed websites dominated by ego or Google ads.
- And good content, of course, from a real gardener, a knowledgeable guy whose gardening style and philosophy are so similar to my own I can't help but be a fan. (Love those conifers.)
All of which make him a perfect addition to our band of Regional Garden Gurus, and he'll represent, um, whatever region Oklahoma is in (South Central?)
Paul also launched his very own blog, and guess what his first post is – another rant, this one about Roundup. So, the long-time TV jokester seems to have a backlog of things to get off his chest.
I shouldn't be surprised, though, since he told me in an interview "I love controversy," and hinted at rants about the hort industry and about fertilizer ("the biggest con ever perpetrated on gardeners"), which gardeners use far too much of – even the organic stuff. Asked what else we might be seeing on his website, he mentioned webinars, and maybe a monthly live chat with video. (What, no podcast?)
One question I'll pose to readers, though: What's up with all these forums? Paul's got one, and I see them sprouting up everywhere, but I just don't get them. Can they all attract enough participants to succeed? Will there be a winnowing of them? Is it because people are looking for a free alternative to Daves Garden? And how do you keep up with the conversation?
But back to Paul. Viewers of "Gardening by the Yard" know his garden, his wife Carrie, his kids, his dog, and of course his goofy crew. I hinted that fans would like to know a little something more about him and got some tidbits. He's a third-degree black belt and instructor in Tai Kwon Do, with 14 fractures to show for it. He still plays the guitar. And he may live in the reddest state in the nation, but the Gardener Guy is a true blue American.