Before design shows like Home Town, Good Bones and Battle on the Beach debuted on HGTV, one of the most popular faces on the network was Paul James. Nicknamed “The Gardener Guy,” Paul’s love for planting and maintaining his garden made his show, Gardening by the Yard, an instant hit. Keep scrolling to find out what happened to him and why he disappeared from TV. 

What Happened to Paul James?

Paul’s successful gardening career began in the late ‘70s after studying botany, plant physiology and plant pathology. He filmed most of his hit series, which made history as the first-ever HGTV gardening show, from the comfort of his own Tulsa, Oklahoma, backyard. The program aired new episodes from 1996 to 2009. 

“Some would argue it’s just plain stupid to stage a show in your home,” he told The Oklahoman in September 1999 about creating, writing, producing and hosting Gardening by the Yard. “It just makes the show so real. You can’t fake it.”

What Happened to Paul James? HGTV 'Gardener Guy' Today
Courtesy of YouTube/Paul James

Viewers fell in love with how raw and fun Paul’s show was and the enthusiasm he demonstrated when it came to teaching the ins and outs of gardening. The plant expert was dedicated to making every minute of his TV time count. 

“I remember watching gardening shows when I was younger, and I was amazed at how everything was always picture-perfect,” he once told HGTV. “The soil was so soft and crumbly. The plants were pest and disease-free. And the hosts never broke a sweat! So, when I got the chance to do my own show, I decided to make it as real as possible.”

After 13 seasons on the air, Gardening by the Yard was shockingly canceled by HGTV.

Where Is Paul James Now? 

In the years following his departure from HGTV, Paul revealed his true feelings about the network.

​​”I have no disparaging feelings toward HGTV at all,” he said during a February 2019 episode of “The Joe Gardener Show” podcast. “They were so good to me, they were wonderful. I still know people there that I respect and admire greatly, and I had a good run.”

His passion for gardening is still alive and well. Paul began working for Southwood Landscape and Garden Center in Tulsa in 2013, per State-by-State Gardening. When he’s not spending time outdoors, the TV personality loves hanging out with his wife, Carrie, and their kids Spencer, Dalton and Hannah.