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[iris-talk] Re: Garden Magazines; 'Carolina Gardener'; "Dumbing down"

  • To: iris-talk@onelist.com
  • Subject: [iris-talk] Re: Garden Magazines; 'Carolina Gardener'; "Dumbing down"
  • From: "R. Dennis Hager" <rdhager@dmv.com>
  • Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 07:37:34 -0400

From: "R. Dennis Hager" <rdhager@dmv.com>

> Anyone have any other suggestions for garden magazines with substance?  And
> Anner, perhaps you could tell us how to subscribe to Gardens Illustrated.
Anner convinced me to subscribe to 'Gardens Illustrated' and I am glad I
did. Her list omits one of my favorites. 'Carolina Gardener' is a
regional magazine that is growing--and for good reason. Their focus is
on the gardens and problems of gardening in the Carolinas, an area that
goes from Zone 6 to Zone 8, with soil types from heavy red clay to light
sandy soil. The articles apply to much of the southeast and the
mid-Atlantic area. By focusing on the Carolinas, I am almost guaranteed
to find several articles of interest. Additionally, they frequently to
feature stories on plantsmen and nurseries. They also give specialty
nurseries a lot of press. On the downside, many of the articles are
"dumbed down" and it is thin, usually around 48 pages.

Having only about 25 years of gardening magazines lying around me, I too
have been frustrated with the "dumbing down" that seems to have
occurred, but I don't think it is the publisher's fault. Excuse me if I
state the obvious, but there are many other factors to be considered in
this phenomenon. Interest in gardening has grown and providing
information for beginning gardeners is a tough task--ask any retail
nurseryman. That's what garden magazines do. 

As an avid reader of gardening magazines, I have learned a lot over the
years. The information provided in such publications is NOT intended to
be the last word on ANY subject. Magazines provide miscellaneous
information and are for casual readers and to stimulate ones interests,
so that when that interest is piqued, that person can delve deeper in
the subject. IMO, GOOD magazines point you in the direction to do just
that. Plant societies, authoritative texts and seminars provide the
"smarts" that are missing from magazines. I find it hard to believe that
a general publication magazine can easily provide the meaty information
that advanced gardeners need/want/expect and still maintain the broad
appeal that they need to survive.

Clarence Mahan's daughter once observed that her father was "in too
deep" when it came to irises. Now, gentlepeople, I would suggest to you
that that assessment probably applies to most of us--especially if
magazines fail to provide the information we need. "In too deep" is not
such a bad place to be.

R. Dennis Hager
"in to deep" on Delmarva

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