Jamie Durie's Physique, Product of Gardening

Tanned and muscle-bound, stripper-turned celebrity gardener Jamie Durie attributes his physique to regularly swinging a garden hoe.

As a former member of the male striptease act Manpower, Durie isn't shy about ripping off his shirt.

"A good day working in my garden gives me a much better workout and a lot more satisfaction (than stripping)," he says, displaying a formidable six-pack.

Durie is the ultimate outdoor guy. In his younger days, the 37-year-old was into gymnastics, acrobatics and trapeze; a path that eventually led him to Manpower.

His Manpower days are behind him now and these days he cites running, kayaking and surfing as his regular activities.

And now he's added outdoor furniture designer to his resume.

The launch this month of his extensive new range of garden furniture is a logical next step for the bloke who made gardening sexy.

His down-to-earth, gregarious personality has helped keep shows like the Nine Network's Backyard Blitz, The Block and Renovation Rescue, as well as Seven's Australia's Best Backyards, at the top of the ratings list.

"It's still showbiz, but these days I do it with plants," he says.

"In my mind, it's a much more sustainable relationship and it's a much better place to work in."

And he adds, it's helping reduce his carbon footprint.

"For every single plant I've put in the ground, that tree takes up one tonne of carbon emissions," he says.

As a qualified horticulturist and landscape gardener, Durie has made Aussies rethink their relationship with their gardens.

The Backyard Blitz team was a simple concept: Take an average backyard and in a 24-hour timeframe, give it a makeover and the odd water feature.

The owners are then led, blindfolded, into their new sexed-up backyard, where they inevitably burst into tears of joy.

"We've done close to 260 garden over the last 7-8 years," he says.

What really drives Durie mad is seeing a home with a bland garden.

"It frustrates me when I see simple changes that could be made to a garden, that I know would enhance someone's life and their weekends so much more," he says.

He lives by his word, and when he's at his northern beaches home you'll usually find him outside, no matter what the season.

In winter he uses outdoor heaters and open fires, while tall plants protect against the wind.

Durie's strong belief in the outdoor ethos is behind his new range of gardening and outdoor living products, marketed under the brand Patio by Jamie Durie.

"Everything you do inside the house, can be converted to the outdoor," he says.

"You can dine outside, lounge outside, sleep outside - every single room in the house can be taken outside."

He says people need to treat their own backyards as an extension of their living space - make it the quintessential Australian outdoor room.

"Gardens provide well-being, there is nothing like being surrounded by plants.

"I feel good when I'm in a garden, children study better, adults relax better, the sick feel better - gardens bring you all of these things."

Durie has had his green thumb since he was young.

"I've always loved gardens because my mum was a very keen gardener, so it's a very natural thing for me to be in a garden.

"But I really learnt to understand it well after studying horticulture.

"It's hard to switch off. When I sit in someone's garden, I'm thinking 'these people really need to plant a row of Photinias'."

Originally from the Sydney's beachside suburb of Manly, Durie learnt about desert plants when his family moved to Tom Price in north Western Australia.

He says his own garden is a work in progress.

"It's mainly full of cacti and succulents, and it is drought-tolerant so I can leave it and it won't die."

Which is just as well, because he's spending less time at home.

Just like a good ground cover, Durie's fame is spreading overseas.

He's already scored a regular spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show and this month took over as the host of America's oldest and longest running gardening show, The Victory Garden.

He says he's keen to introduce the Americans to some of his favourite Aussie flora.

"On my first segment with Oprah, I took Kangaroo Paw to California," he says.

With his company, Patio, Durie is designing gardens in about 11 different countries, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia.

He's excited about all his overseas projects and says that "after swinging a pick for eight years, it's a dream to put it down for a while."

But it won't be forever.

"I'll get my hands back in the cow manure in the future," he says.

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1 comment:

sbackl said...

It is suprising how gardening can keep you fit and toned from the digging, planting and pruning to lifting cleaning and moving some of the metal seats like aluminium garden furniture, there is also the size factor, the bigger the garden area the more exercise you will get moving around it, a friend has over an acre of garden area, the lawn is huge and he always uses a mower on it that you have to walk with, then there about two hundred yards of hedges he keeps trim, this garden alone must keep him fit.