Garden snapshot seals reality TV debut

00:33, Dec 06 2009

Cameras have started rolling for a new garden show hosted by green-fingered celebrity Lynda Hallinan and featuring an Auckland family who will transform their backyard into a vegetable paradise for the reality series.

The show will screen on Prime early next year, with the aim of illustrating how even novice gardeners can grow their own food and become more self-sufficient.

Freshly picked star Devoney Scarfe, 34, who will appear on the show with husband Jon Coles and their two young sons, reckons it was the charms of two-year-old Otis that swung it with the producers.

"He was just cute, waving at the camera and stuff."

Otis doesn't quite fully grasp what's going on but his mum reckons the footage could at least make interesting viewing at his 21st birthday party. And, before then, "it's going to be amazing when he sees himself on TV because he doesn't recognise himself in photos, so I don't know how he's going to cope with that".

At the moment Scarfe describes her garden – which is planted with basics such as lettuce, carrots and celery – as "in need of a little guidance".

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She hopes that under Hallinan's guidance it will yield a wider variety of edible options, including enough basil to supply pesto all winter long.

"I've always been a bit of a keen vege gardener but my enthusiasm far outweighs my skills. Now I've got a home and a family I'd like to take it to the next level and really provide a decent amount of food from my garden."

One of the big drawcards was getting to work alongside Hallinan, who edits NZ Gardener and is a Sunday Star-Times Sunday magazine columnist.

"It's such a good opportunity to have her brains at my disposal for a few weeks."

The family put its hand up for the show after a Wellington friend of Scarfe's mother saw an article in the Star-Times about the upcoming series, and thought of the young family.

"So mum rang me and I thought why not – sounds like fun."

Volunteers were asked to send in a picture of themselves and their garden. So the family put the camera on self-timer and posed. Otis would only be in the picture if he could hold on to his motorbike and nine-month old Dash had his head turned away from the lens, but it was enough to secure them a follow-up interview.

And now the fun starts. Filming has been under way for several weeks. Hallinan, who met the family for the first time on camera, said: "It's going to be entertaining whether it works or doesn't work. I've always believed anyone can grow food and now I'm going to find out if I'm right."

But she has a warning for her co-stars: "I'm expecting them to put in some serious spade work."

Get Growing with NZ Gardener screens on Prime early next year.

Sunday Star Times