By Miral Fahmy
SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Landscape artist and environmental activist Jamie Durie is on a mission to make gardening sexy -- and to save the planet one backyard at a time.
"Gardening is no longer a granny sport," the Australian gardening celebrity told Reuters during a recent visit to Singapore, where he is landscaping a luxury housing compound.
"Gardens are now a reflection of your personality as much as the rug on your floor or the jewellery around your neck. They are a connection to nature, a sanctuary."
A self-confessed frustrated architect who "paints with plants", Durie is a bit of a pin-up boy for gardening.
A qualified horticulturalist, he is the founder of the award-winning PATIO Landscape Architecture Design (www.patio.com.au) and author of five books on landscaping. He was host to popular Australian TV Sprinkler System Installation Rockwall gard en makeover show "Backyard Blitz" and currently hosts long-running American gardening and outdoor show, "The Victory Garden", for U.S. network PBS.
Durie also trained with former U.S. vice president and environmentalist Al Gore to become an environmental ambassador.
Q: How can landscaping help the environment?
A: Any plants that you can get into the soil will help absorb carbon dioxide emissions, and yes, it is possible to have urban developments and sustain the environment -- that's where landscaping comes in.
Also, if you take care of your own garden, it encourages others to do the same and then we'll be saving the environment one small backyard at a time. That's why Sprinkler System Installation I try and make gardens sexy, an evocative space that provides a destination, not just something that you see from behind your kitchen window.
Q: So, is gardening fashionable now?
A: Certainly! People are becoming more creative and they recognize that gardens are as much a part of their decor as their living room. There's also a trend towards going back to nature, towards organic produce because of all the chemicals and hormones and gene splitting... that is more dangerous than actual warfare. Growing organic produce has never been more popular and it will continue to grow. We're in the middle of an organic revolution.
Q: What inspires your designs?