Swanky Gardener DVDs: Penelope Hobhouse in The Art & Practice of Gardening

Eavesdrop on conversations with garden design greats and tread the paths of their creations.

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Tintinhull Garden by Penelope Hobhouse.

One of these summer days it's going to be too hot to garden. Order these DVDs right now so you'll be ready for that torrid moment.

When the temperature spikes, set up a tray of iced tea and cucumber sandwiches, then drop in the DVDs and wander through some cool English gardens with Penelope Hobhouse. Her Tintinhull garden is pictured above.

This two-DVD set is Anglophile-gardener heaven. Here's your chance to see garden designers Rosemary Verey and Penelope Hobhouse conferring in the grounds of Barnsley House, near the famed Laburnum Walk. Make a private visit to David Austin's very own rose garden. Does Mottisfont Abbey ring any Canterbury bells for you?

The American side of the pond's not bad either. How about the woods at Winterthur or Longwood Gardens?

This is decidedly not how-to-plant-a-tomato instruction. Experienced gardeners and garden tourers will welcome the opportunity to eavesdrop on conversations with garden design greats and tread the paths of their creations. New gardeners will have their horizons expanded as they learn fundamentals of design and plant selection.

Such good structure and strong branching -- I'm talking about the DVD menus, not the plants in the gardens. Menus allow you to choose English gardens or American gardens, gardens by style, or gardener's name. A soundtrack of chirping birds plays while you're perusing these menu options on the screen, bringing you garden atmosphere.

More than four hours of footage will have you hoping for a heat wave so you'll have an excuse to stay indoors. Be sure to take notes of course, so when the weather breaks you'll be able to rush out and start digging the beds for your new garden design.

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Charlotte Germane dishes the dirt on gardening in newsletters, radio shows, newspapers, and blogs. Follow her on Twitter to get the latest trowel-full of news. She live-blogged the Royal Wedding for The Morton Report and has series of royalty columns here.

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