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This guy's gardening's real McCoy

Michael McCoy hosts Dream Gardens.
Michael McCoy hosts Dream Gardens. Colin Page

IF YOU like Grand Designs then you'll love the ABC's new series Dream Gardens. The eight-part series follows owners and their garden transformations as well as taking viewers on a tour of some of Australia's most spectacular gardens.

From the first spade hitting the ground to the end result, Dream Gardens captures imaginative and challenging garden designs coming to life.

"It is a Grand Designs for gardens,” host Michael McCoy tells me.

"My best metaphor is when a builder is handing over a building they're handing over a fully formed adult and saying to the client 'dress this as you wish', whereas when a designer hands over a garden they're handing over a baby. They're saying 'nurture this, feed this and discipline this'. It's a much more malleable result that is much more dependent on the level of care it's getting.”

McCoy is a new face to TV but he's one of Australia's leading landscape designers. After completing his degree in botany at Melbourne University and doing a gardening apprenticeship with the National Trust in Victoria he now has his own garden design business.

He also published his first book in 2000 and has a blog called The Gardenist.

"They (the producers) were looking for someone who would have opinion and could commentate,” he says.

"There are a lot of people who present all their lives and don't get a chance to say what they think. I felt like I was stepping into a position of extraordinary freedom.”

McCoy believes each green space - the gardens on the show are all professionally designed - is a reflection of its owners. "You can almost do a palm reading off someone's garden and tell what kind of character they are,” he says.

"There isn't one look or solution; every garden is as unique as the owner.”

McCoy hopes the series will inspire viewers to work on their own gardens.

"Gardens are vision and dream driven, so you will only succeed in so far as you have clarified what you are hoping for,” he says.

"A show like this helps us tease apart the anatomy of gardens and get you to a place where you better know how to achieve the dream.”

Dream Gardens premieres on Thursday at 8pm on the ABC.



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