Back in my younger days, I was an undercover cop in Detroit, Michigan, posing as a gardener, tree trimmer, landscaper, and seed salesman. While recovering from a job-related injury, I decided to turn to the more tranquil pursuit of gardening. Through a lot of hard work in the “School of Hard Knocks,” I eventually became America’s #1 expert on lawn, garden, and plant care.
My folksy humor, practical know-how, and homespun philosophy are in part derived from my Grandma Putnam, a Native American who first taught me to talk to plants. I lived with her for several of my most formative years, and it was she who showed me many of the tips, tricks, and tonics for common plant ailments and gardening problems that I now use. With a time-worn almanac in one hand and a dog-eared Bible in the other, Grandma Putt instilled in me a deep respect for Mother Nature, Mother Earth, and all things green and growing.
Since my days with Grandma Putt, I’ve been on a mission to spread her gardening gospel, along with the thousands of gardening tips, home remedies, and amazing cures I’ve picked up along the way.
I first gained a measure of fame and notoriety with the publication of my runaway bestseller, Plants Are Like People, in 1972.
I was also the guy who started the national craze of talking to your plants with the publication of a book by the same title the following year. Since then, I’ve written more than 50 books, and more than twenty million copies have been sold, including my most recent bestsellers, Terrific Garden Tonics, Supermarket Super Products, and Kitchen Counter Cures, found in my online Bookstore.
Starting in the 1970s, I was a frequent guest on TV shows like Dinah’s Place, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. I hosted my own TV show, Plants Are Like People, on KMOX (a CBS affiliate) in St. Louis, MO. I also often appeared as a gardening expert on TV morning shows like Kennedy and Company in Chicago and on the ABC affiliatesí morning shows in New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles.
In 1987, I helped found American Master Products, Inc. (AMP), a direct marketing and multi-media company based in New Hudson, Michigan. AMP now owns and manages the Jerry Baker brand, develops content and private label products, and is involved in licensing.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, AMP produced a series of Jerry Baker gardening programs that ran on Public Television stations in the USA and Canada. They were used by PBS as pledge drive specials; the programs featured my down-home wisdom and commonsense solutions to all sorts of gardening problems. These shows are now available on DVD, and various video segments can also be viewed on this website and YouTube. From 1987 to 2007, I hosted my own national call-in radio show called On the Garden Line, which was produced by Westwood One and broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting Network.
Over the years, I’ve served as a product spokesperson for a number of national lawn and garden companies including Jacobsen Lawn Mowers, Hudson Sprayers, U.S. Gypsum, and Plantabs. My big break came from my affiliation with the Garden Weasel, where I was the spokesperson in advertising materials, radio and TV ads, print, and point-of-purchase displays. I became widely recognized for my signature line in the Garden Weasel TV commercial, “If you’re into gardening like I am…” In 1982, I returned to my roots by becoming the national gardening spokesperson for Kmart Corporation’s Garden Centers, a relationship that lasted until 1996.
The website went live in February 1998. I tell you, the web changed a lot of things, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. With all of the modern technology that is now available, I can do research and find things faster than ever before. And that means I can bring you even more great home, health, and garden tips, tricks, and tonics at the click of a mouse.
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. No matter where you live or how much fancy equipment you have, gardening is still gardening. After all of these years, I still longingly look back to those days I spent with my Grandma Putt, who said that all a fellow (or gal) needs is the good earth, a handful of seeds, a little “grow-how,” and a desire to get back to basics. It was that simple back in her day, and it’s still that simple today.
As you can see, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for in my life, and I owe a large debt of gratitude to a lot of folks who helped me along the way— my parents, my Grandma Putt, my family, and last, but certainly not least, to all of you who have loyally and faithfully followed me over the years. Without your support, I couldn’t have gotten involved in all of the things that I’ve done, and I would never have had the success that I’ve had. Like a green thumb gardener, you’ve helped me develop, grow, and flourish as a person, educator, and entertainer, for which I’m eternally grateful. For all of that, I have but two heartfelt words to say: “THANK YOU!”