Behind the Scenes: Making a Video Trailer for a Gardening Book

Recording the soundtrack in my front room with Boise Blues Society Directors.  Thanks, guys!!
Left to right: Randy Reese, ‘Mojo’ Mike Witmer, James ‘JT’ Tyler, and Bobby Peters.

Though it’s no longer a new idea, it seems odd to me that a gardening book would have a video trailer. How can a video—a very different medium—give a taste of what readers might experience?

On the other hand, videos lend drama to their subjects, and though I’d hope a book would have more than enough personality to entice readers, we humans are wired to notice moving pictures. Plus, as my cohort Susan Harris will tell you, creating videos is fun and makes a nice change from writing.

A couple years ago, I made a straightforward trailer giving an overview of my book Beautiful No-Mow Yards, which explores different ways to design a lawnless garden. For my latest book, Hellstrip Gardening, I decided to play a little more.

Ken Harris on piano. They should call him “twinklefingers.”

It helped that Timber Press gave the book an attention-grabbing title and a bright yellow font reminiscent of urban graffiti. The subject—making gardens in ultra-challenging curbside locations—begs for drama.

To add to the fun, I brought in another passion of mine: blues music. It fits so well. Blues is all about facing challenges, and it is real (and often dirty), just like hellstrip gardening.

My husband (and awesome bass player) George, grooving with the great Dave Light on harmonica.

I wrote a little ditty for the sound track and roped my husband George and Boise Blues Society colleagues into performing it with me. Hey, there was no budget, and the BBS aims to spread knowledge and appreciation of blues music—why not spread it to gardeners? (Any other blues-loving gardeners out there?)

We recorded the sound track in my front room. These phenomenal musicians hadn’t heard the song before that night, but they only needed a few takes to lay down a useable track. I was lucky to have bass, piano, harmonica, an enthusiastic vocal chorus, AND photographer/videographer Ron Gardner to document this somewhat unusual collaboration.

So as I roll out the video trailer, I want to publicly thank all these fine folks for generously and playfully helping me to celebrate my new book’s birth. Hope all of you gardeners will get a kick out of our results.

We recorded the soundtrack straight onto the computer. I used iMovie software to blend photos, text, and sound. Presto, a video trailer.

Welcome to the world, Hellstrip Gardening!



  1. What fun! ~~
    And local (to DC) readers – there’s a Takoma Park hellstrip garden at 1:07 (in front of my former house) and I believe another one at 1:00.

  2. I love your joyful spirit, Evelyn…and your incredible wealth of gardening knowledge! Here’s to Hellstrip beauty…

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