|Garden Design magazine closes it's doors.|
Last Thursday, Bonnier Corp. announced to the staff of Garden Design Magazine, that it will be folding after the April issue. The announcement included this statement :
"The economic climate, compounded by the significant industry transition to digital, have limited the growth in advertising needed to make this brand viable for our future," the company said, in a statement.
I can't say that I am surprised, for as a gardener and as a visual designer, I have watched the magazine grow more desperate, more diluted, with more generalized content over the past few years, as it has obviously struggled with an ever changing market. I'm not trying to be negative, it's just the truth - a similar path is being traveled by other gardening magazines, and I am sure that most anyone in the publishing industry will agree - the status of sustainable gardening publications is simply shaky.
|AS OTHER GARDENING MAGAZINES FAIL, SPECIALIZED MAGAZINES AND JOURNALS CONTINUE|
TO SELL TO A MORE FOCUSED AUDIENCE. THIS INCLUDES THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY'S
THE PLANTSMAN, WORTH A SHELF IN ANY GARDENERS LIBRARY.
Advertising sells magazines, in fact, I once heard it said that magazines are really just advertising machines, and that more than two thirds of a commercial magazine must become paid advertising for the magazine to be profitable. This alone makes me concerned about the remaining gardening magazines ( i.e. Horticulture, and Fine Gardening - both, rather thin on ad pages).
|THE NEWLY REDESIGNED PACIFIC HORTICULTURE, HAS REINVENTED WHAT A GARDENING MAGAZINE|
CAN OFFER. INTERESTING PLANT-RELATED ARTICLES AND FLAWLESS DESIGN.
Then there is content. As much as it pains me to admit it - it's hard for me to justify $4.99 for 4 or 5 short articles with little depth, when I can browse for ever on-line. I guess I am starting to get used to it, but I guess I expect more and more and more as far as content goes, and when I do finally pick up a magazine, if feels a bit like dead content.
The future may lie in specialized magazines and particularly journals, especially those from plant societies. Funny - just as plant societies beginning to fret about their own future, maybe their content-rich journals will be saved, as gardeners become more informed and demand more authentic content, not just shallow, short sound bytes with loads of advertising. I look at how Pacific Horticulture has changed, as well as the North American Rock Garden Society quarterly, the British Alpine Plant Society journal, or the Scottish Rock Garden Society publications. I know, you may think that these are rock gardening magazines, but they are much more - how to propagate bulbs, how to raise lady slipper orchids - all sorts of ways to start rare perennial seeds and woodland plants.
|THE BOTANIC GARDEN AT KEW, PUBLISHES THIS WONDERFUL MAGAZINE, WHICH IS MORE|
MASS MARKET IN STYLE AND YET COVERS INTERESTING SUBJECTS.
The Alpine Gardener
The Rock Garden Quarterly
The Rock Gardener ( Scottish Rock Garden Club)
|The Scottish Rock Garden Club publishes a terrific journal twice a year, it alone is worth the membership fee, and it|
covers all sorts of topics far beyond alpines. These are some of the finest journals one can get delivered in the mail.
I encourage each of you to consider trying a membership in a plant society, if only to get their journals in the mail. Of course, membership offers much, much more, often seed exchanges and meetings with speakers ( like going to college again).Either way, it's fun!
People who know, understand the value of these premium publications - be they digital, or on paper. I rate them highly because my test is my throw-away test. If I can throw away the magazine, it's not worth the paper it's printed on. If I need to save them forever, then they are worth it. If I read them again and again and again, always learning more, and if they have lots of photos and interesting plants, even better.. These journals all deliver that - in loads.