Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.
New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.
Put away the saltshaker and season your meals with herbs instead.
August 29th is National More Herbs, Less Salt Day. Substituting herbs for salt can increase the flavor and health benefits in your meals.
Use turmeric, fresh ginger and fresh garlic for added flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Fans of savory flavors can add onions and garlic for a bit of kick. Try dill on potatoes, tomatoes, fish and green beans.
Season your tomatoes, chicken and green beans with oregano.
And add rosemary to lamb, chicken and potatoes and sage and thyme on beef and potatoes. Use marjoram in soups, peas and summer squash.
Get the most flavor from fresh herbs by crushing or rubbing them just before adding them to the dish. Use them as rubs or in marinades to increase flavor.
Plus, fresh herbs can make your meal look and smell more appealing.
A bit more information: Though we can't grow all possible salt substitutes, we can add a few to our pantry. Try using cinnamon in place of salt. Season your soups, squash, and carrots with nutmeg. Try cloves for seasoning fruit and beef and curry powder or cumin on corn, tomatoes, and fish.
It's hard to imagine and even harder to wait for that stick of a tree or small potted shrub to grow into a much larger and beautiful addition to the landscape. But we can help speed up the process.
Fast growing species are an option, but unfortunately most tend to be weak wooded and short lived. Proper pruning starting at an early age can help establish a strong structure that is more resistant to storm damage.
Speed up the growth of slower growing trees and shrubs with proper care. Amend the whole planting bed, not just the planting hole, with organic matter when developing shrub beds and plant borders.
Keep the area around individual plants and throughout the planting beds free of grass and weeds that compete with the trees and shrubs for water and nutrients.
Mulch the soil around the plants and water thoroughly as needed.
A bit more information: Use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, like Milorganite, to promote drought tolerant growth without impeding flowering. Let the plant, soil and weather conditions, and your landscape goals act as your guide to how frequently you need to fertilize.
Cancer prevention starts on your dinner plate. Well, actually it can start in the garden. Growing your own nutrient rich cancer fighting vegetables allows you to grow pesticide-free vegetables, harvest them at their peak and use them right away, insuring the highest nutrient value and best flavor.
Include some broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and turnip greens. When cut or chewed these vegetables release cancer fighting substances that help fend off several types of cancer. Include these vegetables in your stir fries, as a side dish with meals or eat them fresh as a snack or appetizer. Three weekly servings of these vegetables can greatly reduce your cancer risk.
In the garden, grow these beauties during the cooler parts of your growing season for the best flavor and productivity. And don't worry about frost. These can tolerate a light frost, and for some, their flavor even improves.
A bit more information: Another popular and cancer-fighting vegetable, the tomato, can easily be grown in any size balcony or landscape. Whether eaten fresh, juiced, sauced or added to your favorite dish the lycopenes in this vegetable will help in the fight against cancer.
Don't send that drought stressed houseplant to the compost pile just yet. You may be able to revive it.
Vacations and busy schedules may result in neglected houseplants suffering from a lack of water. Most potting mixes are soilless and contain organic materials like peatmoss that shrink away from the pot and harden when overly dry. Water runs over the surface, down the side of the pot and out the drainage hole without moistening the potting mix.
Start the recovery process by loosening the potting mix surface with a fork. Then set the pot in warm water until the potting mix is moistened and you no longer see bubbles in the water.
Remove the pots from the water and allow them to drain. Place in a cool well-lit location and wait for a few hours. If you intervened in time, the leaves will perk up in a few hours.
A bit more information: Busy gardeners and those that travel a lot may want to grow more low maintenance drought tolerant houseplants. Cacti and succulents are great for those with lots of sunny windows. Gardeners with low light conditions can grow snake plants, cast iron plant and ZZ plant.
August 19th is National Potato Day. This simple vegetable is the fourth largest food crop in the world with an interesting history.
The potato was first cultivated by the Inca Indians about 8000 BC and made its way to Europe, North America and most recently outer space.
In October of 1995 the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Columbia grew potatoes. They used a combination of an agriculture technique from China and controlled environment technologies developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The goal was to develop growing systems for feeding astronauts on long space journeys and eventually feeding future space colonies.
One medium size potato is only 110 calories. It is high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, B6 and iron.
So take a moment to appreciate your next side of potatoes.
Aphids come in a variety of colors and some, like wooly aphids, look pretty bizarre with their white stringy protrusions.
Wooly aphids are small pear shaped insects covered with waxy strands that make them look as though they are covered in white wool. The waxy strands help protect them from predators.
They feed on a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Like other aphids, they suck plant juices causing the leaves to discolor, curl and drop when populations are high. These insects secrete a clear sticky substance called honeydew on the leaves and objects beneath the plant they are feeding upon.
Their feeding is usually just cosmetic and not harmful to healthy established trees and shrubs. Natural predators like lady beetles and lacewings usually keep the problem under control.
Provide proper care to reduce the overall stress and the impact of the wooly aphid feeding.
A bit more information: A black sooty fungus forms on the honeydew secreted by these and other aphids. The fungus does not attack the plant but can block the sunlight reaching the leaves causing some leaf drop. For a fun look at aphids, click here.
No fruit on your tomato plants? Blame it on the weather. Tomatoes thrive in warm sunny conditions; but temperature extremes can prevent otherwise healthy plants from setting fruit.
When daytime temperatures rise above 90 degrees and night temperatures remain above 70 degrees, blossom drop and poor fruit development can occur.
Cool weather can also hinder fruiting. Night temperatures below 59 degrees will reduce the amount and viability of pollen and consequently fruit production.
The simplest solution is to wait for weather to change. Once this happens the plants will begin producing fruit.
When hot weather arrives be sure the plants receive ample moisture. Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, pine straw or other organic matter to keep roots cool and moist.
If this is a yearly problem, look for tomato varieties better suited to your growing conditions.
A bit more information: With proper selection and care you will enjoy an abundant harvest in spite of less than ideal weather. Use recommendations from the local University extension service or use the Bonnie Plant tomato chooser guide to find heat tolerant varieties and those that best fit your gardening style and cooking needs.
Nutritious, flavorful, beautiful and easy to grow describes the goji berry. Consider adding one of these shrubs to your garden.
Goji berries are often called a superfruit because they're loaded with antioxidants, protein and Vitamin C. You can eat them fresh, cooked or dried. Just leave them on the plant until fully ripe for the best flavor.
This large shrub can quickly grow to 8 to 10 feet tall and nearly as wide. The long branches tend to crawl along the ground. You can stake or prune the plant to control the size and shape.
Grow goji berries in full sun and moist soil for the best fruit production. Plants will tolerate some shade and dry soil once established.
White or lavender flowers appear in early summer followed by elongated berries that turn bright red when ripe. The plant keeps producing flowers and fruit throughout the season.
A bit more information: Goji berries are self fertile. That means you only need one plant to produce a bumper crop of fruit.
Reduce maintenance and be kind to the environment with a few simple changes in your gardening practices.
Be waterwise. Reduce water use by growing drought tolerant plants and mulching the soil to conserve water. And always water thoroughly and only when needed to encourage deep, more drought tolerant roots.
Reduce, reuse and recycle yard waste. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to add water and nutrients back to the soil. Shred leaves and use as a mulch around plants. Then convert the rest into soil enriching compost.
Manage pests in harmony with nature. Let the good bugs manage the bad bugs and handpick small populations of troublesome pests.
Use plantings to reduce energy costs. Plantings near the home, trees shading the roof and windows, and shrubs and vines that shade your air conditioner can reduce energy costs.
A bit more information: If nature doesn't take care of your pest problems, try traps, barriers and other eco-friendly options if further control is needed. For more ideas see my article on Eco-Friendly Pest Control in the Garden.
Try something new this season. Harvest and enjoy a few squash blossoms fresh from the garden.
The flowers of both summer and winter squash are edible. You can eat them raw, dipped in batter and fried, stuff with cheese and baked, served over pasta or in a quesadilla.
You can eat both the male and female flowers. Leave enough female flowers on the plant to produce the amount of fruit you desire. Always leave a few male flowers for pollination. Male flowers have a thin straight stem and the female flowers have a miniature fruit just below the flower petals.
Harvest squash blossoms midday when the flowers are open. Cut the stem one inch below the flower. Carefully rinse them in a container of cool water and store in ice water in the refrigerator. Flowers are best used fresh, but may last in storage for a day or two.
A bit more information:Click here for squash blossom recipes. And don't forget to enjoy a few summer squash. For the best flavor, harvest summer squash when they are small and tender. Pick zucchini and other long squash when it is two inches in diameter and six to eight inches long. Patti pan and other scalloped summer squash taste best when they are three to four inches in diameter.
Late summer through fall is filled with County, Provincial and State Fairs. These are great places to show off your green thumb and maybe even win a blue ribbon.
Start by reviewing the entry guidelines provided by the fair; then follow them. These tell you the number and way to exhibit your entry. Many high quality entries are disqualified because the gardeners did not follow the guidelines.
Select the best quality flowers and vegetables. This does not necessarily mean the biggest. Select entries that are uniform in size and exemplify the shape, color and ripeness for that group of flowers or vegetables.
Avoid specimens with blemishes caused by weather, insects or improper handling. Use a knife or hand pruners to avoid damage when harvesting. Carefully clean and trim stems as directed in the guidelines.
And bring along a few extras in case something gets damaged in transport.
A bit more information: And even if you missed this year's deadline, check out the competition and start preparing for next year's fair. For a list of State Fairs, click here.
Forget the grass, instead grow Epimediums, also known as barrenwort or bishop's hat, under trees and in other shady spots in the landscape.
Delicate in appearance, but hearty by nature you can find Epimediums for zones 3 to 9. There are clump forming and spreading types and varieties with white, yellow, pink, purple, rose, orange or red spring flowers. Some are deciduous, others hold onto a few leaves through winter and the rest are evergreen.
Most have heart shaped leaves and some have a beautiful red fall color. Trim back the tattered foliage early in the season for a tidier and unobstructed spring flower display.
Most prefer moist organic soil and full to partial shade. Established plants can tolerate dry shade, making them a perfect option as a groundcover under trees. Check the plant tag to make sure the variety you select will tolerate your growing conditions.
A bit more information: These plants combine nicely with other shade tolerant perennials like ferns, hostas and lungworts. Divide only as needed in spring or fall for best results.
Oh yes he did.
At the VMA's last night, Kanye West announced - after a four-hour speech (okay, maybe it wasn't that long, but it sure felt like it was!) - that he was running for president in 2020.
Sadly, he means President of the United States.
He dropped the mic right after saying that and walked off stage to a cheering crowd.
It's not clear whether they were cheering the announcement, or the fact that he was finally done talking.
I'm thinking the latter...
Bitch Slap at the VMA Corral
You never know what you're going to get when Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus are in the same room.
What you got last night at the VMAs was fireworks!
Nicki was on stage, accepting her award for "Anaconda" as Best Hip Hop Video.
She thanked everyone who made it possible, the way you do at awards shows.
And then she laid into Miley Cyrus, who had some particulary unflattering things to say about Nicki in a previous interview.
Miley's response was pretty much "that's the way it goes in this industry."
And that just made Nicki madder.
Watch the video...
Yup, Almost Naked
Miley Cyrus told a guy on the street during a fake interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week that she would be hosting MTV's Video Music Awards in the nude.
And judging from the stuff done leading up to the show itself, it looks like she came pretty close to making that promise a reality.
I don't know. Maybe it's just bad luck they scheduled the VMA's on Miley's laundry day?
Check out Miley Cyrus & more stars prepping for the #VMAs: http://t.co/MfIFjCq6kf pic.twitter.com/mizL0Fd8Bf
— HollywoodLife (@HollywoodLife) August 31, 2015
OMG! You 2?
So, Amber Rose and Blac Chyna showed up at MTV's Video Music Awards last night wearing the same outfit.
I mean, seriously, they couldn't have checked in with each other?
Okay, turn out, they did. This was a coordinated effort.
Same material, different dresses, both sporting words and phrases that people - Amber and Blac would call them "haters" - have used when describing them.
"Whore," "Stripper," "Bitch," "Gold Digger" - things like that.
Some are calling it a blow for feminism.
Others are thinking they were mugged by a graffiti artist.
What do you think?
#VMAs: So is this a feminist statement on @Blacchyna & @DaRealAmberRose or seriously not? pic.twitter.com/ClkdO6ZHYL
— Bonnie Fuller (@BonnieFuller) August 31, 2015
You're already having a blast at Billy Joel's concert at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Imagine how much more fun it would be if Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer jumped onto Billy's piano and started dancing?
That's exactly what happened Thursday night.
They danced to "Uptown Girl," something that Amy did at the end of Trainwreck, dancing with the New York Knicks cheerleaders.
One of these days, I'll get around to seeing that movie.
Meanwhile, I've got this.
Can Serena Grand Slam It?
The US Open in tennis gets underway today, and all eyes are on Serena Williams.
She's already won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon this year.
She's the number one seed at the US Open, and if she wins this tournament, she'll pull off a Grand Slam, making her the first woman to achieve that since Steffi Graf did it in 1988.
It would be fun to see her do it, don't you think?
To get you in the spirit, check out this video that the folks at American Express put together to celebrate the US Open.
They call it Rally on the River. It involves tennis, but other than that, I have no idea what it's about.
It is fun to watch, though, don't you think?
Just when you think you've seen it all, Kim Kardashian hits you over the head.
This time, she posted a picture to the Internet of her boobs - no worries, they're covered by a bikini.
It's the picture's caption that has everyone buzzing.
Two baby bottle emojis.
Okay, Kim, I think we get it.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 28, 2015
"I Wanna Be Trump's Running Mate"
The folks at TMZ Sports caught up with currently-disgraced former WWE champion Hulk Hogan on the streets of New York and asked him a very important question.
Who among the list of presidential possibilities would he like to face inside a wrestling ring?
Hulk flipped that question over and answered one of his own.
He wants to be Donald Trump's running mate.
It's not clear if he was serious or just goofing around. Which so far has been the tone of a lot of presidential campaigns, so the Hulkster could fit right in.
Yeah, That's Not a Dolphin
Seems like this has been the Summer of the Shark.
Another shark attack to report - no one hurt, so no worries there.
A woman was surfing in Morro Bay, north of Santa Barbara in California, when she looked into the water under her board and spotted a gray shadow.
She thought it was a dolphin - until it started coming at her.
Turns out it was a six-foot Great White, and it took a pretty good-sized chunk out of her board as she swam away.
Watch the story from a local news affiliate.
I'm pretty sure I'd take that as a sign to stay out of the water for a while. And by "for a while," I mean "forever."
"I Think She Lost Her Mind in the Hollywood Madness"
So, this is interesting.
The other night, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Miley Cyrus threw on a wig, big glasses and a business suit, and pretended to be a reporter from Australia.
She grabbed a camera crew and went out onto Hollywood Boulevard to interview people about Miley Cyrus.
It's actually pretty funny, and it ends the way you'd sort of expect a Miley Cyrus bit to end.
Give it a look...
Knock Me Over With a Feather
When the Ashley Madison scandal broke, a lot of people looked to Noel Biderman, the company's CEO who co-founded the "cheating" site with his wife, for answers.
In an interview that broke just this past weekend in which he was referred to as the King of Infidelity, he said that he and his wife did not practice the company motto: "Life is short. Have an affair." (The folks at Huffington Post Canada have the interview, and a video about it.)
In a 2013 interview, Amanda Biderman had this to say about what would happen if Noel cheated on her:
"I would be devastated if (Noel) did it to me. But I would not blame a website. Ashley Madison is not creating cheaters. It is servicing a need that is there, that exists. And unfortunately, it exists. It's sad.''
Well, guess whose emails got leaked as part of the data breach and have now been made public?
And guess who's allegedly been having affairs? None other than the CEO himself.
I wonder if Amanda has logged onto DivorceLawyer.com yet...?
Ashley Madison CEO's emails reveal he lied and had multiple affairs http://t.co/dkTim2w25U // guy creating cheating site cheats. surprised?
— gavin richardson (@gavoweb) August 27, 2015
No More Anchor Babies!
Anchor babies. It's a term that's been tossed around like a hot potato early in this presidential season, especially among the Republican candidates.
It's the way they've been describing children born in this country to illegal immigrants.
Constitutionally, that grants the children automatic US citizenship, providing an "anchor" to which the parents will cling in hopes of being allowed to stay here.
Many Republicans say that has to stop, no matter what the Constitution says.
Finally, the folks at Funny or Die have found a way to explain why that should happen.
And not one moment too early...
America Under Attack: Anchor Babies from Funny Or Die
The Most Unlikely Duet of All
Taylor Swift sold out five shows in Los Angeles.
Throughout the run, she brought up a bunch of her friends to sing with her, to the delight of all in attendance.
Folks like Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake and Lisa Kudrow.
Yes, Lisa Kudrow.
She joined Taylor on stage to sing "Smelly Cat," a song she sang as Phoebe on Friends.
Not only did Taylor know the song, so did the crowd.
Check it out.
"There's Been an Awakening"
The geekosphere erupted yesterday when the Disney folks released a teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
It's all of 15 seconds, and available exclusively on Instagram.
And it doesn't really show anything new, except for a guy holding a blue light saber, going up against the guy with the red Game of Thrones-style broadsword light saber.
Which prompted all sorts of discussions and theories that will keep the Star Warriors busy until the next teaser trailer.
Check it out.
There has been an awakening... #StarWars #TheForceAwakens
A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:00am PDT
Betty White's Next TV Gig
Betty White could well be the hottest actress on TV right now.
She's done all sorts of guest spots on all sorts of shows, and she just wrapped up a six-season run of Hot in Cleveland on TV Land.
Now, she'll be guest starring on Fox's long-running Bones as a squintern.
Don't worry, I had to look it up too.
Squintern is the word Booth (David Boreanaz) uses to describe the people who assist Doctor Brennan (Emily Deschanel) in the lab.
The folks at TV Line report that Betty White will play Dr. Beth Mayer, an accomplished, sharp as a tack squintern who is brought in to assist in a murder linked to fantasy football — which just happens to be one of her many areas of expertise. With a half century of work under her belt, Dr. Mayer is considered the world’s most experienced forensic anthropologist..."
You'll have to wait until the end of October for Betty to make her appearance. And no, they won't be renaming the series Old Bones. That would be wrong.
Meanwhile, here's the incredibly sappy promo Fox created for the show's upcoming season...
"Oh, I WILL Take This on the Plane"
Some people are silly, I guess.
Like this woman who tried to get on board a flight at Beijing Capital International Airport with a $200 bottle of Remy Martin XO Excellence cognac.
When the airport security folks told her she'd have to leave it behind, she did what any logical human would do
She drank the entire bottle.
And got so drunk - fall-down drunk, in fact - that she wasn't allowed to board the fight.
I guess she showed them, huh?
"See a Bus, Don't Move"
Deva Dalparto runs a web and YouTube site called MyLifeSuckers.com, dedicated to the moms of the world.
But you don't have to be a mom, or even a parent, to enjoy the videos and blogs she posts.
Her latest - just in time for Back to School Season - is "Bus, Don't Move," a parody of the 80s hit, "Bust a Move."
It's pretty funny, and it also carries an important safety message to motorists: when you see a school bus, don't move.
Les Miserables = Less Miserable
You don't have to be a fan of Les Miserables - either the Broadway show or the movie - to appreciate this flash mob.
The West Des Moines School District (in Iowa, of course) was holding its district-wide welcome to school meeting for teachers.
And to put a little zest into the day, some teachers put together a teaching-oriented parody of one of the show's biggest ensemble pieces, "One Day More."
At first, no one knew what was happening. But as more and more teachers stood up to sing their parts and join the others on stage, the rest of the audience really got into it.
When it was done - and done quite well - the performers earned a standing ovation.
Ashley Madison, the TV Show?
One of the biggest data breaches going these days is the one involving AshleyMadison.com.
That's the site where you can sign up and arrange an extra-marital affair if you're so inclined.
Like they say, "Life is short. Have an affair."
Now, a team of Hollywood producers has revealed they're working on a fictionalized show based on the website, about a single mom who launches the site as a way to make ends meet.
Why now and why this, you wonder? “Anytime 30 million people are doing anything, it becomes worthy of a real discussion,” one of the producers told US Weekly.
So, let's see if this ever makes it to air. The show is tentatively titled Thank You Ashley Madison.
Meanwhile, the folks at Entertainment Tonight talked about what the breached data shows about the least- and most-faithful states in the USA.
You might be surprised!
The End of SuM&Mer
I'm not in any hurry to get to fall, but apparently, the M&M people are.
They just announced their newest flavor, and it has "fall" written all over it.
New Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms, featuring the brown M&M on the packages wearing a scarf and holding a cup of latte.
I'm sorry, it's too early.
Take them back, M&M people!
Just another month. That's all I ask. One. More. Month!
Meanwhile,watch this hilariously awkward amateur food-tasting review about the new M&Ms posted to YouTube at the beginning of the week...
Space Oddity in Space
File this in your #TBT drawer: it's a video from a couple of years ago. I missed it, maybe you did too.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield pulled a tour aboard the International Space Station in 2013.
He was known as being media-savvy, steadily tweeting and doing other entertaining things.
Like this little gem: performing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" in space.
He tweaked the lyrics a bit - since space travel has changed a bit since Bowie recorded the song in 1969.
The floating guitar and the floating singer really make this work.
And Chris has a pretty decent voice.
Kim's Biggest Problem
The newly crowned queen of Instagram might have trouble in her kingdom.
According to Star magazine - and you know they'd never lie! - Kim Kardashian has gained 65 pounds in her second pregnancy, and Kanye West is not at all happy about it.
Kanye believes, according to the tabloid - and you know they'd never lie! - that Kim is gaining weight because she's using her pregnancy to binge on donuts and ice cream.
And he wants her to lose the weight before she has the baby.
If any of this is true, sounds like Kim's biggest problem is not the weight, but the maroon her got her pregnant.
RP: @carladibello GOOD MUSIC, GOOD TIMES!
A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Aug 23, 2015 at 10:30am PDT
The $1.5 Million "Ooops!"
Before we go any further, let me just say, I feel bad for the kid, okay?
And now, the story.
A 12-year-old visiting a museum in Taipei, China tripped and fell.
No big deal, except he used a painting worth $1.5 million to break his fall.
And in the process, he managed to punch a hole in the painting.
Watch the video. And tell me this kid's face isn't on a warning poster at museums around the world by now.
"Go Back to Univision"
When it comes to freedom of speech, it sounds like Donald Trump believes it applies only to him.
Okay, so maybe that's a broad statement to be making based on one little incident, so you decide.
The Donald's holding a press conference in Dubuque. A reporter from Univision - a Spanish-language television network aimed at America's Hispanic population - tried to ask a question.
The Donald told him to sit down, as he hadn't been called.
The reporter persisted, and it turned into a bit of a verbal tennis match, which involved The Donald telling the reporter to "go back to Univision."
Then The Donald made a duck-lips face to his security team, and the reporter was removed.
What do you think? Freedom of Donald Speech?
Watch the video - decide for yourself.
No Sex in the City for Sarah Jessica Parker?
So, here's an interesting revelation.
Originally, Sarah Jessica Parker did not want to play Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City.
She reluctantly filmed the pilot and forgot about it.
And when she found out the series had been picked up a few months later, she begged HBO to let her out of her contract.
The story comes from a Broadway actor who recently spent some time doing a show with SJP and hubby Matthew Broderick in Massachusetts.
HBO prevailed, as we know. But imagine if they hadn't.
It's hard to picture anyone else playing that role. Of course, that's always difficult in retrospect.
I don't think it would have been the same, do you?
In case you've forgotten the show, here's a trailer for the first movie that the series spawned...