Looking for a Good Gardening Magazine?

Before I knew about blogs, I subscribed to a lot of gardening magazines. In fact, I pretty much subscribed to every gardening magazine I came across – including some that consisted mainly of photos sent in by readers (often of their grandchildren, not that there’s anything wrong with that).

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I cut back on the magazines after discovering the intertubes. A bit of disenchantment was setting in anyways – the quality of the publications was variable, and there was a tendency towards repetition.

There were two subscriptions I kept, however: Fine Gardening and Gardens Illustrated (which is published in the UK and which I think of as the flagship of the garden magazine world).

And then I added a third: Garden Design Magazine. I think Garden Design Magazine is America’s answer to Gardens Illustrated. I mean, I love Gardens Illustrated, but now and then its Eurocentrism makes it hard to relate to.

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One thing that’s remarkable about Garden Design Magazine is that there is so much of it. There are four issues per year, and each is almost like a book, containing 148 pages of writing and photographs that are at least equal in quality to Gardens Illustrated. And there are NO ADVERTISEMENTS. How is that even possible?

 

American gardens exist under extremely varied conditions. This magazine, however, relates well to my own Midwestern garden while giving me a sense of what’s happening in other regions of the country. Similarly, it covers a wide rage of gardening ideas – some close to my heart (there was a special issue on wildlife gardening), others that I’m not so familiar with.

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In the last issue, my favorite items included: profiles of outstanding private gardens in Alaska, California, and northern Virginia; an article by Douglas Tallamy about fireflies in the garden; a discussion of the many species belonging to the genus formerly known as Aster; plus more about seed saving, Amaryllis, and the remarkable LongHouse Garden (and its founder) in New York.

Finally, I should add that Jim Peterson, the publisher of Garden Design Magazine, is a generous supporter of the annual Garden Bloggers Fling.

Do you subscribe to any gardening magazines?

51 Comments on “Looking for a Good Gardening Magazine?

  1. I’ve subscribed to several over the years but don’t take any at the moment. Have you tried The English Garden magazine? It is visually attractive, like the other two you mention.

  2. That’s a great mag. I just wish I had more time to just sit and read. I do get a Swedish garden magazine that comes out quarterly. Which is about as long as it takes me to read it from cover to cover, so that is an agreeable interval, to me. 🙂

  3. I’m a magazine lover. Fine Gardening has been coming to my house for years (I’ve saved most issues) and a bit over a year ago I picked up Gardens Illustrated as well (and have now also given it as a gift to my mom). I got a year (four issues) of Garden Design and expected to love it. Turns out I missed the ads. Ads in magazines are my favorite way of finding new, interesting products and sources. To me they are not a nuisance, rather something I look at as much as articles. I hear a lot of raves about Garden Design, enough that I sometimes think I ought to give it another try, but they way they survive without ads is with a very hefty subscription price, one that is well worth it if you enjoy the format. But with my discovery of my love of ads (I wonder if this makes me normal or puts me in the minority) its just too high a price to pay for four issues.

    • Erin:

      Thanks for your feedback.

      We can satisfy your interest in new products on our web site! http://www.gardendesign.com

      I agree $45 per year is more than most magazines- we are aiming to deliver a lot more content- almost 600 pages of material per year (with none of it being ads).

      I respect your thoughts- that’s the beauty of the marketplace, everybody does what works for them.

      We welcome you back as a subscriber when and if you are ready!

      Jim Peterson
      Owner/ Publisher

  4. Isn’t it wonderful when you finally find one that you really enjoy? It took me years to find the right one in Germany (there aren’t many here anyway) and I ended up with a fairly specialist journal aimed at nurseries and garden experts. It also has very little advertising in it and I often struggle to keep up with it as it is monthly! 🙂

  5. I subscribe to Michigan Gardening. I used to get Illinois Gardening before they came out with a MI issue. I also pick up a Michigan Gardener from the local garden center since they hand it out for free.

    • I used to subscribe to Chicagoland Gardening, but sort of lost track of it. By the way, I tried to follow the link back to your blog but it isn’t working.

  6. I use to subscribe to a few gardening magazines, but with the download from the library and everything that is available on line, I don’t currently have any subscriptions. It is wonderful when you go to the mailbox and find a magazine there with your name on it that causes your pulse to quicken. 🙂

    • I USED TO SUBSCIBE MANY YEARS AGO BUT IT WAS TO CHI+CHI FOR WHAT I WAS DOING AND ALMOST NONE OF IT APPLIED TO THE MIDWEST. I’ AM, HOWEVER, WILLING TO GIVE IT ANOTHER TRY.

  7. I subscribe to Gardens Illustrated and a very specialized German mag. Most others are to basic for me and appeal more to amateurs. I’ve been tempted to subscribe to GD so maybe it’s time to give it a go.

  8. Garden Design is a very fine magazine, with excellent production values, fine photography and good writing on a wide range of topics. I look forward to every issue.

    I also subscribe to Gardens Illustrated and The English Garden. Both provide ideas about private gardens to include on the garden tours I host, as well as offering good design and plant ideas. Hortus is another English quarterly — no photos but good reading.

    Fine Gardening used to be top of my list but I find it is less useful now. I still subscribe, though.

    • I think Fine Gardening has downsized – there is less content now. No doubt a result of an economic squeeze. I still think it is pretty good quality, though.

  9. Love this magazine! It is very inspirational to me as a designer! Thank you for the recap!

  10. Thanks Jason. Glad you are enjoying the magazine!

    I’ve learned more and more why people are enjoying Garden Design- it’s what being ad free allows: 6-20 pages in-depth stories with luscious photography on fabulous plants and gardens. Two writers from the previous ad based version of the magazine told me they used to cry (literally) as great garden stories were chopped down to two pages to make room for ads. Now we get to show the gardens in all their glory in a collectible worthy edition.

    This video sums up what we think being ad free allows:

    Any of your readers can get their first issue free when they subscribe with this link:
    http://www.gardendesign.com/2016

    Jason, thanks for all the time you invest in writing your blog and the great insights you share on your blog!

    Jim

  11. I don’t subscribe now, but for years they were my guilty secret. They were irresistible. Now I have so many that I haven’t bought any for years now.

  12. I recently purged my shelves of stacks of gardening mags, first cutting out photos and/or stories that were relevant (hadn’t touched them in years). Now I browse them at the library and purchase any that cry out to me. You make a good case for this one.

  13. I’ve cut back on magazines, especially since I started blogging, and can keep up with gardens all over the world, online. (However, this magazine looks lovely). And a big thank you, Jason and Judy for always having interesting posts on your blog…I’ve learnt plenty here!

  14. I subscribe to Fine Gardening, Horticulture, and Carolina Gardener…a lot fewer subscriptions than in previous years. I have EVERY copy of Fine Gardening and sometime in the future am going to have to find a home for the lot. I once won a prize (a radio) for best letter to the editor of Gardens Illustrated. I used to be a contributor to Carolina Gardener for two or three articles a year, but they have new leadership and I haven’t interested them recently.

  15. I have eliminated all my garden subscriptions — too many! — with the exception of The American Gardener. Luscious photos, good info and limited ads. You will receive it when you are a member of the American Horticultural Society.

  16. Great post! I love Garden Design, but I need to sign up for a subscription. Generally, I’ve had too many subscriptions, but this is one I’ve been meaning to get.

  17. I stopped my subscriptions to most magazine but it seemed that they had more advertisements than they did substance. Garden Design is certainly one of the exceptions.

  18. I am glad I found this post. I have been an avid Fine Gardening follower for a very long time now. I still subscribe but think I am near the end with this great magazine. Recently subscribed to Gardens Illustrated and love it for the plants and gardens. Also the photos are fabulous. I subscribe to my Canadian magazine Garden Making which is proving to be a keeper. Since reading this post I checked out Garden Design and subscribed right away! A Christmas present for me.

  19. They look interesting. I’ve never bought a gardening mag, I am a huge fan of a gardening programme here, Gardeners World.xxx

    • That’s one big difference between the US and the UK – there are hardly any gardening shows on American TV. There’s stuff about houses and real estate, but not gardens. Some good shows on public radio, though.

  20. I find the current Garden Design itteration too ritzy with too many really big gardens. I agree with the Euro centric comment on Gardens illustrated but it does seem to have more variation and quirkiness that I like.

  21. Another magazine with no advertising is Garden Gate. True, it is geared more toward earlier- and mid-stage gardeners, experiencewise, but I subscribed to it for about a dozen years before ditching the print copies and getting them all on a single searchable DVD instead. Back in the day (waaay back, lol) I used to subscribe to Horticulture, Garden Design, The Garden (RHS), and American Nurseryman before I got sick of them being mostly advertising rather than text.

  22. Hello Jason, I read copies of Gardeners’ World when I’m over at my partner’s parents (fairly often). I usually end up drooling over the gorgeous but fantastically expensive greenhouses to which the response on asking to have one is always, “no”.

    • I too drool when I see greenhouses in magazine articles. By the way, Sunil, I think my comment on your last post ended up in spam. WordPress seems to really think that I am a bad seed.

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