What's your favourite garden magazine?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Weekend Gardener, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Coquitlam, BC
    What do everybody else read for gardening magazines, if any?

    I look forward to my copy of The Garden every month. I like to browse through Gardens West. I could do with one more subscription to look forward to.

    But is there any other good gardening magazines out there? I used to like Fine Gardening, but it's gotten too expensive for the information that I get. And my opinion is that I am getting less and less from it in the last 2-3 years. What about the RHS's The Plantsman? It seems to have some seriously detailed articles on plants. (6 page article on Baptisia?)
     
  2. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    The Plantsman is quite expensive (4 issues/year, approximately $90Cdn. for RHS members), but I would not do without. Some of the articles are online. If you are into alpines or rock gardening, any of the rock garden societies (North American Rock Garden, Alpine Garden, Scottish Rock Garden) have excellent journals, as does the Hardy Plant Society.

    So much depends on what it is you want from a magazine. I think as one becomes more knowledgable, one goes off certain magazines, or feels the way you do---not getting value for money. I know that every 2 or 3 years I go through the list of my memberships and subscriptions and re-evaluate them. The list is ever-changing.

    I have also found that magazines change in quality as editors change. Some that used to be very good are not now and vice versa.

    I will always subscribe to Canadian Gardening and Gardening Life, partly because I want to support Canadian writers as much as possible, and I find them to be useful for sourcing things.
     
  3. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

    Messages:
    484
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, usa
    I like Pacific Horticulture. It does become a little too California centered at times, but has many well written articles on the Pacific Northwest, as well.
     
  4. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I agree with Hortfreak; our needs vary, and change over time.

    I used to read them ALL - have an incredible collection of back issues. I discovered a line in an article in one of them that went "I am a plantsman, not a gardener" which expressed my preferences exactly - I needed to find the kind of articles you currently seek, about the plants themselves. That interest drove my book collection as well. But my interests have morphed toward garden design (needing to make the plant collection look good!).

    But although my interests are broader than ever, I'm finding myself off magazines entirely. I've just let my last subscription expire. I think it is partly that they are aimed at a certain segment of gardeners including novices, and as you become more knowledgeable and experienced you just don't need them. They have a certain annual pattern of topics they cover, and they don't stray much beyond the basics because they want to attract the broadest readership and be accessible to novices, and at some point you don't - as you say - get value out of that any more. I think that is why I spend whatever I used to spend on magazines on books now.

    But I have to admit too that on-line forums fill another need that magazines used to do - connecting us to other gardeners. It is partly in pursuit of that objective that I also attend the occasional event (UBC Botanical Garden, Vancouver Hardy Plant Group, the plant swappers that negotiate on this forum, and even sales like the Alpine Club) that offers those kinds of opportunities.
     
  5. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    I think I am now at about the same place as Weekend Gardener. I am much more into specific plant families/genera than I used to be. I am not quite the plantaholic (have-to-have-every-new-plant-that-comes-along) that I was even two years ago. Maybe that is a phase we need to go through and then "grow up" and become more thoughtful, purposeful.

    I started gardening in a full shade garden long before shade plants were widely available. For that reason, I got very interested in native woodland plants, which I then grew myself (couldn't buy them). As plant selection grew by leaps and bounds, so did my hunger for every single plant on the market. Many dollars later, mostly wasted, I have gotten past that to some extent, although I have to admit I still drool over SOME new plants. Today I find myself much more interested in species plants as opposed to cultivars. I really do not, by and large, like many of the new cultivars. I want plain, good old-fashioned plants that are good-doers.

    So now, magazines, and books as well, tend to be more plant oriented (such as The Plantsman). I must admit, however, that when I have been gardening all day, I do like to kick back with a glossy look-good magazine such as Gardens Illustrated, although I have to say it has more recently developed some depth to it. Sometimes you just have to relax.
     
  6. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Coquitlam, BC
    Hortfreak,
    I must be thinking along the same wavelengths as you. Yes, the truth is that I have kind of "outgrown" most the gardening publications on the shelf. I have a collection of books which have been read from cover. I still look for specialty books that offer new insights into specific plants. For that reason, I am drawn towards The Plantsman. It is expensive, but it is not a "throw away" journal.

    Since I am getting The Garden monthly as a member of the RHS, I might as well take advantage of the discount.
     
  7. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    I think you will very much enjoy The Plantsman. I have learned a great deal from it, and I am sure I will continue to do so. I do also enjoy The Garden.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    As with gardening books, for the most part the British ones are consistently better than the domestic. But, those of us who live over here are stuck with the fact that we are gardening here and these publications originate over there - climates and cultivars, products and pests are not all the same.

    Easterners in particular must be irritated by the practice of taking UK titles labeled "The RHS Guide To" and re-packaging them for North American consumption as 'The AHS Guide To" with minimal, perhaps sometimes even no modification of the text.
     
  9. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Coquitlam, BC
    Then, perhaps, I am in the fortunate position that the gardening conditions in our locale is very similar to that of some parts of UK. This, I know, having lived in UK for 10 years and gardened there.
     
  10. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    It is irritating a bit. I guess I have gotten used to it and just automatically adjust. What really rankles is seeing a plant that I just love and then realize I cannot grow. I have found both The Garden and The Plantsman sufficiently full of pertinent (to me) information, that I find them very valuable as sources.
     
  11. ivegotpowers

    ivegotpowers Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    Gardens West is my favourite. It features local gardens and plants suited to our region here in BC. It's very affordable with many many informative articles. Great for both beginner and advanced gardeners.
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    While conditions out here are generally similar to UK, especially in relation to the rest of North America Britain (and Northern Europe) does not have the dry summers of western North America. That is a significant difference important to gardening. A normal Seattle summer is a 100 year drought in London. We don't have fireblight to any serious degree, it can be important there, we don't have finches eating the buds on fruit and flowering trees, they do - and so on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2007
  13. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Gardens West is the last subscription that I let go; I found even that to be somewhat repetitive and simplified. It is the nature of the beast though; that is what magazines do unless they position themselves as journals, as The Garden begins to do and The Plantsman does if I recall it correctly, having seen an issue or two. Although I still enjoyed a bit in each issue of GW, I also found that the Gardens West style of covering gardens and writing was beginning to grate after long repetition. I will probably pick up an issue or two per year at least just to keep up with current events and advertisers, however. I'm also not that interested in the new plant introductions that they like to cover as I could be; like others I'm more interested in species and in collecting.
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Most on the racks at places like supermarkets are fluff except perhaps for Horticulture, although I bought a copy of that recently and found the article I bought it for a bit slight also.
     
  15. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Coquitlam, BC
    What makes magazines ("journals") like The Garden different from supermarket gardening magazines is, perhaps, the fact the The Garden has to serve the membership of the RHS, whereas, the latter answers to profit margins. The former seems to have a more focussed appeal, the latter depends on topics of popular appeal. Both have their reasons for existence, and their readerships are different. Both have to move with the time. RHS did a survey of it's membership, and The Garden has been revamped for the better over the last few issues - and the new version is a significant improvement in my opinion. I notice that Fine Gardening format a few years ago too.

    I do read Horticulture occassionally, but, like Fine Gardening, trying to cater for a vast continent like North America, with a range of extremely contrasting climates is no easy task. I find that their attempts to have broad North American appeal cut down the relevance of the contents of those magazines for me. I understand what Ron says about the major differences in climatic conditions between PNW and England, but the climates are still a lot more similar between Coquitlam, BC and London, England, than say, between Coquitlam and Southern California.

    And Karin, interesting, just like you, I like to browse Gardens West for it's local advertisers, just as you do.
     
  16. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    I love my old copies of Organic Gardening; also Mother Earth News.

    I like Fine Gardening and the gardening articles in Sunset (many of the articles are about design Karin). I also like GardenWise for BC specific events, information etc.

    I pick up second hand magazines occasionally - I cannot remember the names exactly but there are a couple of British ones which are excellent. British House and Garden is the name of one I think.
     
  17. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    I found Horticulture went downhill about 5-6 years ago (if memory serves--might be longer). A recent issue seems to indicate that perhaps it might be turning around. But, it is a broad spectrum magazine. It will always have an article or two of interest. It used to be a good source for items of particular interest to me, i.e. new insect infestations, new studies on disease, methods of growing, tissue culture, etc. It was a good way to keep up on things which I could then do more in depth study, if I wished. Somehow that seems to have been lost along the way. I tied the downfall to the departure of Tom Fisher as editor.
     
  18. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Nowadays most goods and services being offered to us are affected by buyouts, mergers and takeovers. What suits large corporate syndicates determines how things are done. This will surely affect how many gardening magazines look and what they say.
     
  19. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    I suppose the "big" market for garden magazines today is the new gardener and perhaps those that are not too serious about gardening. Therefore, that is the market that will be catered to---by dictate of the large corporations who pay big bucks for advertising all the "latest and greatest" new products. It is sad to see a magazine such as Horticulture, which had a little more substance to it, go the way it did. On the other hand, a few magazines seem to have pulled up their bootstraps and improved (added more substance). There is nothing wrong with fluff as there is a market for that. However, there are only a few magazines for those of us that want a meatier one. I have found trade magazines to be, in many ways, the worst offenders at publishing fluff and/or not providing anything of substance. In fact, I have cancelled all trade subscriptions.
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Commercial horticulture does have a pervasive snake oil component that buyers should beware of, probably that is what you are complaining of here: nonsense products and disproven methods being promoted and held onto (and appearing in trade publications) because they are believed to have profit potential.

    However, the business is also the source of innovations and discoveries, includes among its membership serious professionals and devoted enthusiasts.
     
  21. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
    Sorry, Ron B., I did not mean my comments to sound like a complaint, much less one of a "snake oil component", although there is certainly that. I only meant that corporations are going to put their dollars where they return the largest benefit to flog their new products, magazines that cater to the newer, less experienced gardener. Those of us that have been around awhile know that everything that comes along is not necessarily needed or beneficial. New gardeners, in my experience, tend to take everything at face value, and if an advertiser says you need it, you do need it until proven otherwise. I do sometimes shake my head at ads, although I have to admit I am probably advertisers worst nightmare---I rarely look at ads much less read them.

    And yes, there are serious professionals, although they seem to be in the minority. Perhaps that is being unkind, but honestly, I am constantly amazed at the lack of knowledge that many so-called professionals have even though they have been to university or other educational processes. Example: I spoke to a nurseryman yesterday who did not have a clue as to what "Sambucus" is. He asked me if it was a new cultivar. Devoted enthusiasts are often times far more knowledgable.
     
  22. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,653
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    If that nurseryman was a garden shop owner all they needed to get the shop was the money and permits. A pattern I've seen with garden centers here is an owner who may not even come out into the yard much, or even come onto the property much - especially if that owner is a corporate chain - with a manager being hired to handle a large portion of the day-to-day operations. If the store is big enough there may be a layer of other employees doing some management work below that, such as buying plants and managing departments. These people are often out of view, doing paperwork as well. The clerks, cashiers and maintenance workers that shoppers are most likely to encounter, due to these being the most numerous and "on the floor" will also tend to be the least knowledgeable (and least well paid) members of the organization, unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2007
  23. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver
    While I don't think of much of plant experts who don't know their plants, I also hate to see business owners vilified just because they are business owners. Everyone has a role. If plantspeople can't assemble the money and verve to put a business together, then kudos should go to those who can, who thus offer them employment and offer the customer some expertise. Nice if expertise and entrepreneurship co-exist in one body, but if they don't, why vilify the entrepreneur?
     
  24. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Coquitlam, BC
    That reminds me of a memorable visit to Vancouver nursery 4 years ago, in search of a Stewartia.

    The first staff person to greet me was none other than the owner. He said he did not have the tree, and went on to give me the merits and description of Stewartia. He even gave me the locations of several large specimens in the city that I can visit. He gave suggestions as to which other nurseries in the Lower Mainland might carry it.

    Then, he took me on a tour of all the trees he carried in his nursery, and pointed out the merits of the other alternates. Not only was he knowledgeable, but his enthusiasm and willingness to spend time to share that knowledge and enthusiasm knocked me off my feet. Needless to see, it has become my favourite nursery ever since.

    (Daniel - Am I allowed to blow the trumpet for this nursery and it's owner by naming both?)
     
  25. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I've named and seen named many nurseries here... I wouldn't complain!
     

Share This Page