Ahem…Class…Class…Class will you please come to order! Put those cell phones away and everybody get to their desk and be still. No gum chewing young lady and John Quincy turn around in your seat. Um…er…stop spinning and face front.
We are here today to discuss three magazines for our online audience. They are:
- Organic Gardening, the bible of organic gardening! Published by Rodale Inc.
- The Herb Companion, published by Ogden Publications
- Fine Gardening…Container Gardening, published by The Taunton Press
These magazines were selected for this review because they represent the different disciplines of gardening and yet they share the perspective of how important it is to grow plants and fruits for food and decoration and keeping our environment in a natural balance.
We shall start with Organic Gardening. I have been reading OG off and on now for nearly 25 years. I have watched it go from digest size on biodegradable paper to its current incarnation of a nice glossy that is still 100% recyclable. Their motto is, “We inspire and enable people to improve their lives and the world around them”, and I think they are doing a mighty fine job of it. Each issue is loaded with information on techniques, tools, garden design, pest control, cooking and eating organic, and preserving a lifestyle that is in harmony with today’s environment.
Where it once was a pretty dry matter-of-fact read that presented the facts like a Jack Webb (Dragnet) monologue, it is now a somewhat slick, very accessible and entertaining magazine that can still take the intellectual high road on occasion. Though it will never be read like People Magazine, it clearly portrays gardening in a light, fun-filled way that doesn’t diminish the seriousness of your efforts and the hard work that goes into a successful garden.
Published six times a year (February/March, April/May, June/July, August/September, October/November), it has a newsstand cost of $4.99 (US). It also can be found online at www.OrganicGardening.com. The web site is also very appealing. Featuring the same solid information that can be found in the print format, digitally it takes the reader on an interactive magic carpet ride of podcasts, tutorials, photo stories, blogs and videos.
All and all Organic Gardening, the magazine and its web site, is a must for the novice gardener and the seasoned pro!
The Herb Companion
When I was first handed a copy of the latest issue of The Herb Companion, I thought to myself that there was no way that anybody could make growing herbs interesting and fun. To me, herbs were something that you grew in little pots on your kitchen windowsill or they were planted in the garden with no specific purpose other than to fill a space. I found out I was wrong…very, very wrong!
I like The Herb Companion magazine! It has articles that, as it says, will help you “grow, cook and heal” with herbs. The entire format is really consumer/reader friendly with lots of colorful pictures, relevant content that is effectively communicated (without talking down or up to the audience) and interactivity with its web site. You can go online at www.herbcompanion.com/onlineexclusive where you will find extra content not featured in the print magazine. You can also connect with them by blogging on Facebook and/or Twitter. Online, you can take advantage of special software program/products, i.e. Herb Garden Planner, which will help you to plot your herb garden for maximum productivity and efficiency. For more details, go to www.herbcompanion.com/herbgardenplanner/
The real test for any sort of media vehicle is whether or not if left you in a different place…made you smarter…more informed…feeling entertained…than where you were before you picked it up. The Herb Companion does exactly that and I highly recommend it for anybody that is serious about growing herbs or gardening period.
The Herb Companion magazine is published bi-monthly and has a newsstand cost of $4.99.
Anybody that is serious about garden design probably already reads Fine Gardening’s “Container Gardening” (http://www.finegardening.com/). Anybody that is just getting into container gardening, for whatever reason, should pick this magazine up and read it cover-to-cover…over and over again. This is a niche publication that takes you inside the world of container gardening in a detailed and colorful way. Niche or not, this magazine shows that container gardening is huge and is way more than an array of pots and boxes, placed however strategic, to grow what does not fit into your standard garden bed.
“Container Gardening Magazine” has an illuminating and entertaining approach to writing about container gardening. With pictures that are so sharp that they almost look real, its stories and articles are very informative and engaging. I couldn’t believe all of the detail it provides from garden design, pot/planter placement, what to grow, how to grow and how to integrate your efforts in your living environment. It makes it all look so easy!
One really unique feature is the “Pronunciation Guide”. Not only does it break down, phonetically, the Latin names/descriptions of plants you have read about, but you can also go online to hear the correct pronunciation as well (FineGardening.com/hearlatin/). Some of the other features are:
- The Design Gallery, displays submitted by home gardeners and pro designers
- Tips, from the editors and readers
- Healthy Garden
- Workable Solutions, where you will learn how to do everything from designing a table centerpiece to growing plants in combination for a technicolor display of food and decoration.
One other important feature is the “Invasive Alert”. It is a list of plants featured in the magazine that have become invasive in certain parts of the country. Its purpose is to alert the reader to keep an eye out for those plants and if they were to see them in their local nursery, and if they are listed as invasive in their state, they should pass them by. They have posted a link for more information on invasive plants, it is www.invasive.org/weedus/index.html.
Fine Gardening magazine is published six (6) times a year and has a newsstand price of $7.99 (US)
Do you read any of these publications? What do you think of them? Are they must-reads or opportunistic stumble-across purchases? I would like to know what you read and recommend? Reply on here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org