Taking Care of Your Body While Taking Care of Your Garden

GARDENFIT Season 1 takes viewers to private gardens and specialty farms across the country, featuring a diverse group of gardeners of many ethnicities and ages, ranging from 33-95, and a stunning variety of garden design styles. The locations include a saffron farm in California, a tropical garden in urban Miami, a topiary forest in Massachusetts, a wild desert garden in West Texas, and an Indian reservation farm in Michigan. Each episode features stunning outdoor landscapes and teaches gardeners simple do-anywhere fixes, showing them how to get rid of the aches and pains associated with gardening.

Renny Reynolds

EPISODE 1: MEET RENNY REYNOLDS
HORTULUS FARM, WRIGHTSTOWN, PA (ZONE 7A)

Hortulus Farm, created by Renny Reynolds, is a 30-acre garden paradise featuring two-dozen separately themed gardens linked by paths and bridges that meander around ponds and creeks. The gardens are dramatically designed, creating a “larger than life” feel. This grand scale causes some grand aches to Renny’s knees and shoulders. Lifting, walking, and pruning adjustments prove to be the fountain of youth at Hortulus.

Bob Levine

EPISODE‌ ‌2:‌ ‌‌ZEN GARDEN
Japanese Gardens at Cedar Hill, Roxbury, CT (ZONE 6B)

Bob Levine has created an authentic Japanese-style garden that embodies the artful culmination of his lifelong study of Eastern philosophies. It features traditional rock placement and structures, Japanese garden antiques, waterfalls, and a charming tea house. It is truly a place for spiritual relaxation. Using the epic principles of Yin and Yang, Bob has relieved his knee discomfort, can weed pain free, and enjoys a return to his Tai Chi practice.

Brooke Bridges

Episode 3:  Bringing African Farming Home
Soul Fire Farm, Petersburg, NY (ZONE 5B)

Soul Fire Farm, an 80-acre parcel in upstate New York, focuses on creating community through food sovereignty and farming education. Brooke Bridges and the team use many African traditional techniques and practices that respect the land.  A very pregnant Brooke embraces a solution to foot-and-lower-back pain, learning to adapt to her restrictive environment by paying better attention to range of motion.

Raymond Jungles

Episode 4: Welcome to the Jungle
Grove Studio Garden, Coconut Grove, FL (ZONE 11A)

Raymond Jungles is one of the most famous landscape architects specializing in large-scale tropical habitats. He tours us through signature jungle environments that surround his newly renovated urban office building and his private residence.

Raymond’s goal is to be able to climb trees for the rest of his life. He is given a workout routine designed to introduce him into the world of strength training, enabling him to maintain his body for his life goals.

Lauren Springer

Episode 5: Propagation on the Prairie
Lauren’s Garden, Fort Collins, CO (ZONE 5B) 

Lauren Springer has created from scratch a five-acre prairie-style garden at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Her horticultural and design expertise are combined in features that include combinations of carefully placed boulders, stone paths, native plants, and over 200 trees and shrubs. The intricacies of seeding and propagation, along with limited range use of her legs have left her with wrist and leg pain. This is easily remedied with simple “do anywhere, even-in-the garden,” exercises.

Melinda Price and Simon Avery

Episode 6: Saffron Splendor
Peace and Plenty Farm, Kelseyville, CA (ZONE 9B)

Melinda Price and Simon Avery have transformed their lives by creating the largest saffron farm in North America. Their crop is now over half a million crocus sativus and worth its weight in gold. The dramatic sea of purple blooms suddenly appears in November and is harvested over a five-week period!  Additionally, they grow many vegetables and flowers as a source for their community’s needs, turning many into preserves, sauces and flower garlands, sold alongside their highest quality saffron.All farmers know the problems associated with harvesting at ground level. Follow Melinda and Simon as they hinge their way into immediate back pain relief.

Peggy Walsh

Episode 7: Barefoot and Fancy Free at 95
The Stone House, Peapack, NJ (ZONE 7A) 

The Stone House Garden is a charming space created by energetic gardener Peggy Walsh. She starts each day with a morning coffee walking through the garden barefooted!  She harvests vegetables daily, maintains her various plants and fills her house with beautiful flowers that reflect her labor of love. At 95 Peggy has created a lifestyle in which she has very little, if any, physical issues to address. Jeff works with her to complement her posture and sure-footedness.

Karl Cook

Episode 8: The Stable Vegetarian
Pomponio Ranch South, San Diego, CA (ZONE 10A)

In four short years, Karl Cook created an 8,000 square foot vegetable and fruit paradise in Southern California. Karl’s goal is to grow all the food he wants to eat, and therefore variety is the name of the game. He has even transformed all the beds around his ranch with edible flowers, shrubs, and trees. His signature strategy is to maintain organic soil from all his natural resources on the farm that will add nutrients to more than a dozen varieties of vegetables, and help establish a newly planted orchard with more than 90 types of fruit trees. Unlike all our other gardeners or specialty farmers, Karl has no aches or pains for Jeff to address. He has discovered his own methods of fitness and therapy to keep healthy and fit. Karl asked Jeff to project five years and plan what new routines and approaches he should incorporate as he ages. Jeff delivers a template that is pure GardenFit and helpful for everyone.

Elaine Burden 

Episode 9: Thinking Outside the Boxwoods
Seven Springs Farm, Middleburg, VA (ZONE 7A) 

Elaine Burden has created an enchanting private garden nestled in a picturesque pastoral setting with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as a backdrop. She taught herself the fundamentals of gardening and then adjusts traditional garden design to fit her own style, never one to let convention limit her. The result is a surprising combination of botanical rooms including English borders, formal gardens, and a French parterre, even though she lacked the level ground. An accomplished sportswoman, Elaine shares her gardening time with tennis, golf, and trap shooting, which are all somewhat rotational-dominate single directional movement sports. Elaine is able to relieve her back pain by learning to incorporate simple counter movements, turning them into lifelong habits.

Matt Larkin

Episode 10: Clipped to Perfection
Black Barn Farm, Richmond, MA (ZONE 5B)

Black Barn Farm, created by Matt Larkin, is a large-scale topiary operation started 20 years ago in response to the void in this underserved market. Customers can select topiaries from a wide array of existing creations, but most of the work is custom-made orders. Matt surrounds his eye-popping topiary forest with beautifully designed hedge gardens and imaginative potted plant combinations, as well as a dramatic stumpery. Matt’s biggest garden delight—clipping his topiaries—also causes his biggest physical challenge: lower back pain. This pain, which is exacerbated by sciatica, is relieved with a few simple turns of the leg and a new pattern to his daily—sometimes all day—clipping routine.

Rosebud Schneider

Episode 11: Three Sisters and a Brother
Ziibimijwang Farm , Carp Lake, MI (ZONE 5B)

Rosebud Schneider is the head of a traditional Native American Garden at Ziibimijwang Farm, situated on 300 acres of tribal land. In her personal garden, she continues the heritage work of her ancestors, collecting seeds and planting the crops that provided their main food base of three sister vegetables: corn, beans, and squash. With so much attention taken up by her duties on the farm, Rosebud has trouble—like most of us—finding time for recreation. She even struggled making time to stretch with her best stretching partner, her brother. Jeff teaches her how to incorporate her activities by turning her lifestyle into the solution.

Jim Martinez

Episode 12: The Wild Wild West
Marfa Garden, Marfa, TX (ZONE 8A)

Jim Martinez, a soil scientist, is also one of the foremost experts on native plants throughout Texas and the entire Southwest. His Marfa Garden is a unique environment designed to flourish in the desert, featuring an amazing plant diversity of natives and exotics, situated as they grow in nature. Jim has planted nearly 100 species in five main garden areas that he tends daily. All gardeners can relate to how daily chores can take a toll on shoulders and flexibility. Jim is given new stretches to add to his repertoire that target this very issue.

George Schoellkopf

Episode 13: One Vision – Two Coasts
Hollister House & Montalba, Washington, CT (ZONE 6A) & Santa Barbara, CA (ZONE 10B)

George Schoellkopf is the creator of a beautiful east coast English-style garden, which is in stunning contrast to his west coast Mediterranean-style desert garden overlooking the Pacific Ocean. However, both have George’s signature design of garden rooms connected by interesting winding paths, unique plant pairings, and creative use of a large variety of stones. Due in part to weak legs and ankles, George had trouble with one of his favorite pastimes: taking long walks through his gardens. With his new “do anywhere exercises” provided by Jeff, he is walking tall.