I was waiting for Little Mosque on the Prairie to come on when I happened upon this Knowledge Network gardening program called Recreating Eden. I instantly recognized it as a gardening program when I saw Des Kennedy, an award-winning author and environmental activist, buck naked on my screen. With his shock of red hair, he’s hard to miss – naked or otherwise.
A second later, thankfully, he was fully clothed, walking viewers through his vibrant, luscious 11-acre garden on Denman Island, just a hop, skip and a jump away from me here in Vancouver.
Recreating Eden seems like a great show: part biography, part garden tour, it features intimate portraits of gardeners from Canada and around the world. Based on the belief that “to plant a garden is to change the world,” Recreating Eden has become a Gemini Award-winning series now in its third season. Where have I been? Oh yeah, I’ve never had cable TV before. I’m particularly sorry I missed last week’s episode featuring Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier’s garden.
But back to Des. A former monk “who left his order for an even greater calling,” Des has made a career of “combining his passion for the earth and love of the spoken and written word,” and the show made this abundantly clear. I didn’t realize, for instance, that like me, Des has a strong connection with Clayoquot Sound (he got arrested for blockading a logging road; I built a trail and cooked veggie chili for Bobby Jr.).
Des also writes a column for GardenWise, and has written a number of books, too. Maclean’s magazine featured his latest book saying it showed “Kennedy at his contemplative best.” In his syndicated column, Allan Fotheringham described Kennedy as “the Dennis Rodman of gardening” who “writes like a dream.”
His garden is nothing to sneeze at either. It is not open to the public other than during the annual Denman Home & Garden Show. (Held June 17 & 18 this year). The tour serves as a fund-raiser for the Denman Conservancy Association, a community land trust.
All quotes from Des Kennedy’s bio. Photos are from the Recreating Eden website.