Judge Ian Visser knows an acroclinium from an angelonia when he damn well sees one.
"The hours I spend planting, pruning, and weeding give me boundless pleasure."—Martha Stewart
Gardening is a hobby that you either go for, or you don't. To many, time spent in a garden or flowerbed is among the most precious one can have; the effort and care required to grow something from seed to flower (or vegetable) is as important as the results. Others loathe gardening: the weeding, the bugs, the heat, and the sweat required just to get the whole thing started, never mind finished.
Martha's Spring Gardening is a DVD set that will appeal to those who love gardening. It's a somewhat unusual topic as far as instructional films go; there is a lot of information and tips here, but many of them won't show any fruition among viewers for weeks or months to come. As a result, a great deal of what is presented here is inspirational in tone. This certainly isn't unusual, as perusing other people's gardens for ideas or motivation is a significant part of the gardening experience. Martha's Spring Gardening does a good job of balancing this less tangible quality with hands-on examples of gardening that anyone can employ with great results.
The two-disc set covers many areas of interest for green-thumbers. Disc One explores topics such as planting, annuals, seeds, vegetables, cooking from the garden, tool, and garden tours. Disc Two explores potting, indoor gardening, arranging, and garden maintenance. Each of these subjects contains several features to create a wide variety of planting and gardening information. Even the most experienced gardener will likely find something new or informative in the 374 minutes of material presented here.
Novices planning their first foray into the garden will enjoy the Garden Design 101 chapter, while those inspired by the world's greatest gardens will find a little slice of heaven in the tours of the Keukenhof gardens of Holland and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. There are also a number of recipes, from bruschetta to rhubarb crisp, for those who enjoy eating from their garden as much as tending it.
Like the rest of the Martha Stewart collection of DVDs, Martha's Spring Gardening is sourced from her long running and popular television show. As with her other collections, the picture quality is high, even when shot outdoors in natural light. The color balance is excellent, and many of the segments burst with colored flowers and plants. The audio is also very good in both the indoor and outdoor segments.
I'm going to plagiarize my own review of Martha's Complete Weddings when addressing the special features on the discs, as I'm sick of typing the same complaints for each "Martha" disc:
Each disc in this set has additional bonus features, such as tips and hints, crafts, and gift ideas. Many of these are very short features, averaging only a minute or two, but they have a lot of appeal and can be quite inspirational in a "why didn't I think of that" kind of way.
But for the love of John, will someone at Warner Bros. and Martha Stewart OmniMedia please get on the ball with the internet and printable materials included on their DVDs? I've reviewed several of these sets, and the information is simply not accessible to home users. I know I'm not the only one having issues with this, as Judge Rob Lineberger mentions the same problem in his review of Martha's Baking Favorites. If I have to go to the website to get the content, that hardly constitutes a DVD special feature.
Aside from the non-functioning special features, there isn't much negative to say about Martha's Spring Gardening. Some of the tours of Martha's own properties smack of bragging, and you can only use the word "love" about gardens and vegetables so often until it starts to wear a little thin. These minor complaints aside, Martha's Spring Gardening is a valuable addition to anyone who anticipates that first sunny afternoon in the backyard plot with bated breath.
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