Victoria-based co-producers of the new Vision TV documentary series Ageless Gardens, Ian Toews, David Springbett and Mark Bradley compare notes in the legislature rose garden. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

New gardening series sprouted roots in Victoria

Documentary series premieres Monday on Vision TV

When it comes to pitching television series ideas, especially to a national network like Vision TV, it can take a while to come up with the right concept.

Ian Toews, part of the production team at Victoria-based 291 Film Company, knows this well having experienced both successes and near misses in that department.

The company’s latest hit, Ageless Gardens (Vision TV, 6 p.m. Mondays), is a good example of a blending of visions. Toews and his wife had been unsuccessful pitching their idea for a gardening project, but the final concept began to bear fruit, so to speak, when fellow Victoria filmmaker David Springbett entered the mix.

“It really was two disparate ideas that coalesced,” Toews says. “We wanted to do a film on urban gardening, but no one was quite interested. David wanted to do something about healing and wellness as people age. We were sitting around at lunch one day and we just put together [the concept].”

Vision TV, part of Canadian broadcast icon Moses Znaimer’s ZoomerMedia Limited, took on the documentary mini-series and has scheduled it for five weeks (Feb. 12 to March 12).

Toews and Ageless Gardens co-producer Mark Bradley went to film school together in Saskatchewan in the 1990s, worked out of Regina for 10 years then moved to Victoria in 2008. They befriended Springbett, a 40-plus year industry veteran and fellow Prairies native who has called Victoria home since 1993.

Having worked together in past, the trio fleshed out the topics and came up with what they believe is a winning combination that touches on the health and wellness aspects of gardening, the way it can build social connections, and traditions of working with the land that have been passed down through the generations.

“There’s some really good personalities in the show,” Bradley says. “It’s a gardening show, but it’s not like other gardening shows. It’s actually kind of funny in places, it’s quite touching in places, so it touches on a lot of emotions.”

The episode topics explore working with healing and therapeutic plants, harvesting wild food, the social benefits of gardening and how city dwellers have adapted their gardens to their space.

While the documentary format by its very nature becomes a learning experience for the filmmakers, Toews says a few things stand out for him from the filming process.

One was the health effects of regularly digging around in good soil, which is filled with probiotic microbacteria. “That research is in its early stages, but gardeners seem to have known this all along, that breathing in that dust and digging in the soil is really good for us,” he says.

A second point came in speaking with people who were discovering the health benefits of marijuana, including as a pain remedy for arthritis and a sleep agent, for the first time in their 70s and beyond.

A third was simply the wisdom that the predominantly older subjects interviewed had about the value of gardening and life in general.

“Those kinds of conversations are pretty rich, very humbling to someone like me,” Toews says. “I really want to pass that on, this is what people with years of experience can impart to us.”

A list of episodes for the documentary series, as well as a trailer, can be found at agelessgardens.ca.

editor@vicnews.com

 

Victoria-based co-producers of the new Vision TV documentary series Ageless Gardens, Ian Toews, David Springbett and Mark Bradley compare notes in the legislature rose garden. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Just Posted

Ferry passenger on Sidney boat rescue: ‘It was like the Titanic’

Lone boater rescued by BC Ferries, who called the incident a ‘close call’

One year later, life is much different in Saanich for the Bui family

‘We still hear cars screeching at the intersection,’ says mom of Leila Bui

Oak Bay teen collects more than 1,000 toys for those in need

Student seeks someone to take over drive next year

Strike averted at Greater Victoria Public Library

CUPE and labour relations association representing the GVPL reach tentative agreement

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Sidney

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Victoria Canadian Tire replaces toys stolen from Salvation Army

Children won’t have to go without toys this Christmas

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

$2.2M in cash for Christmas for 106 Greater Victoria charities

Victoria Foundation issues community grants ahead of the holidays

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

Most Read