With Gardener Guy.com, Paul James Hits the Web and Rants….a lot



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.


  1. First of all, thanks for staying abreast of the Paul James situation and giving us the heads up that the Web site has been launched.

    For a brand new Web site, I think it’s fantastic. (Having recently launched a Web site at work I know what a pain this is to do.) He’s got oodles of content, that I sincerely hope he doesn’t tire of updating, and the whole thing is very user friendly.

    I do think the forum might be a mistake. An acquaintance with a very popular non-gardening Web site and daily e-newsletter once told me the worst thing he did was launch a forum. It’s a huge time sucker and he spends much of his time trying to encourage people to use it. Of course forums don’t work unless you have a large base of people participating. I think an alternative to Dave’s Garden (there’s a rant topic for you) is greatly needed, however.

    My only other gripe is that I wish Paul had someone editing his stuff before it was posted. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a few grammatical errors on most blogs (they are supposed to be fun, and sometimes that means you just go for it without getting caught up in the details), Paul’s got a book deal and well, it’s not good to have a lot of errors on the Web site when you have a book coming out. (P.S. I’m available for side editing jobs, Paul.)

    I see he’ll be featuring you, Susan, in an upcoming Gardening Gurus column on the site. Looking forward to that!

  2. Wow, great site. I just toodled over and I wouldn’t have known it was brand new. It doesn’t have that empty website new site smell to it, ya know.

    And forums, yes, huge time sink and not usually worth it. I also don’t particularly like that Daves is pay to play, but it does keep the trolls out and serious gardeners usually frequent it. Maybe not so bad for those reasons, yes?

  3. Wow, a nice piece of information on Paul James and then for no reason at all we have to be hit with some useless fact right at the end that he hails from a state that didn’t vote for the Messiah. Believe it or not, not all gardeners and lovers of the outdoors are leftists. If this site is about the marriage of gardening and socialism then fine, I understand, and I will go elsewhere. If not, then can’t we just enjoy some good info on Paul James?

  4. Thanks for the heads up! I just went over and read the first blog post, and it is so bizarrely about what I wrote about last night without even reading it. I look forward to keeping up with his blog.

    He seems like a real gardener. I can be very suspicious of people who garden on TV, but he appears to be the real deal.

  5. Great! Finally a gardening guru for my area. I live in Kansas (We call ourselves mid-westerners although I think Oklahomans consider themselves Southeners).
    As for forums, I think some of them are important. I like GardenWeb, maybe because it was the first garden Web site of any type I ever run into). We do need more Master gardeners out there informing us of what’s what.

  6. Hey Susan

    Great Post!!!! We have all worked for several months on the launch of gardenerguy.com, and I am please with the outcome. The website has tons of good info and we will continue to bring you more. I do apologize about any errors, whether it is grammar or typos. Dear readers don’t blame Paul, those typos are most likely mine. We had some technical issues on the first day of our launch where viewers using a MAC had text running over photos and a few other issues. In my hast to fix I am sure I created some mistakes. Again I apologize. If you do find a mistake please email the mistake and it’s location on the site and I will fix. brian@gardenerguy.com

    And by the way, this Thursday May 7, and Friday May 8, Paul will be doing his media tour for National Public Garden Day. He will broadcast from St. Louis and will be on over 30 morning and afternoon news stations. There will also be several newspaper and magazine articles about this event.

    Check out the website – http://www.publicgardens.org/web/2009/03/national_public_gardens_day_2009.aspx

    Again, fellow Gardener Guy fans, thanks for your support and send us your questions and comments. Paul is sincere when he says he wants to hear from you.

    One more thing, Susan your Rant Rocks!!!!!!

    Brian – gardenerguy.com

  7. Launching on-line is always a hassle, but it seems worth it all when the information is so good. Thanks for letting us know about the Gardener Guy.

  8. Thanks for the link to his site. He did a show about my friend’s garden last year and she said he was the best. As for forums, people typically put them on their site because they drive up your page views and visitors and build community around the site.

  9. Please. Stop. You’re all too kind. And Susan, well, I can’t wait to give you a big hug!

    Launching a website is a bit of a chore, but I’m having fun with it. I’m on the site every day, often several times a day. Hey, it’s not like I have real job any more. We have plans to produce a series of webisodes once I straighten out some contract issues with HGTV. I can’t wait for those to hit the site.

    So thanks to all of you for supporting my new venture, and for the endless half hours you’ve set aside in your busy lives to watch my show. I’m grateful, and I know that each and every one of you is responsible for my success.


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