Carol Klein may be the world's most enthusiastic gardener. In print — and most definitely on film — she bubbles with life, laughter, and love of gardening. Nowhere is it more apparent than on her 6-part BBC series: "Life in a Cottage Garden," filmed in Klein's home landscape in Devon.
I stumbled onto Klein's program on YouTube trying to keep my spirits up while the temperatures are going down. I was hooked from the first moment— especially watching Klein work in her garden in January and February while mine is buried under the snow.
Each segment is 28 minutes long and covers two months. I found the programs especially gratifying since they let us see a TV gardener with dirty clothes, dirty shoes, and very dirty hands. She doesn't seem to wear garden gloves or a hat, though perhaps this is more about being filmed than how Klein behaves off camera.
I've known Klein was an expert at plant propagation but here we get to see her collect and sow a wide variety of seeds and bring them on — and on. There are informative sidelights with specialists installing a beehive in Klein's garden, cloud pruning boxwood hedges (with Jake Hobson) and laying a traditional hedgerow.
I was fascinated to discover Klein plants dozens and dozens of tulips in pots because her soil is wrong for them and Klein loves them. When the tulips bloom, she lines up pots of single colors to edge various garden beds to stupendous effect. She shares all sorts of tricks and tips and seems to never stop working. A wonderful group of programs that I watched in an evening. Klein has given me the boost of enthusiasm I need to get myself through these last cold weeks until I can go out in my garden as well.
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While I was looking up a bit of information on Klein, I discovered she had to close her nursery located at her home due to a feud with a new neighbor who owns the land she rented for the sale plants. He complained about her compost heap and untidy views. Sounded like the typical rant of someone who moves to the country and got more than he bargained for.
I will say, however, that I've been to a two or three talks that Klein has given here and I can see how she might annoy a neighbor. Klein was always a great speaker with wonderful images and lots to say. Alas, she always had too much to say and could not keep to the allotted time, frustrating the audience and other speakers on the program. After the last time I went to hear Klein, I came away vowing to only read her books. Now I can enjoy her on YouTube where she gets edited to fit into the show's time slot!