Gardening Topic for January 2006
Received – Read – Relished - Recycled

Provided by the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association



By Duncan McQueen, Master Gardener



Seventeen! Seventeen different magazines come into our house with continued regularity, and in the last year we retired three others.


All of them are more or less read, many of them are relished - new ideas, new recipes, different slants on the events of the day, gardening techniques we’ve never heard of - and all too often a mental note to go back and read an article that captures our attention with little time then to absorb its content.


Where we live, every two weeks papers are recycled. When the put-out-the-papers at the end of the drive Friday arrives, among the newspapers, mail, envelopes, are the magazines to be recycled, sometimes with an iron will to say “goodbye.” In our study sit two wicker laundry baskets, one filled with the plethora of catalogs which everyone seems simply to receive. The other houses another group of catalogs all related to gardening. At least once a year there’s a recycling cleanout of those baskets. Always there are the Must Save catalogs in each.


Perhaps you have had the tough decision: what to do with a magazine collection? When we moved to Pittsfield ten years ago, fifteen years of National Geographics were grudgingly given away; we kept the Gourmets!


I started this off to write about the four gardening magazines - not catalogs - I receive, even though reading catalogs is a super way to learn more about plants.


These are the gardening magazines which regularly arrive in my mailbox. There are many many more which are tremendous resources for learning more about gardening, for inspiration and for just plain beauty. Every gardener has, I would imagine, his or her favorites.


GARDENING HOW-TO is the magazine of the National Home Gardening Club

Gardening How-To

PO Box 3446

Minnetonka, MN 55343-2138

$18.00 annually



Each issue has news for gardening club members, which includes a list of resources and news about garden giveaways to club members drawn at random as well as results of member-tested products and seeds. Each issue has questions answered by Deb Brown of the University of Minnesota; down to earth answers. A half-dozen articles with colored photographs often capture my fancy. Each issue has suggestions for five sections of our country. For example, the Sept/Oct 05 edition has specific suggestions for plants to grow on slopes for each section. I have found a great deal of good information in this magazine because the editors communicate a genuine concern and care for gardeners throughout the country.


I have subscribed to HORTICULTURE for years. I recall that the first year’s subscription was a gift. This magazine has inspired gardeners for 100 years!


98 N Washington St

Boston, MA 02114

$28 per year, $46 for three years


HORTICULTURE features an extensive classified advertising section in each edition - azalea to weathervanes ! The magazine sponsors symposia and gardening travel tours as well. Every issue has a plant index and pronunciation guide, as well as a list of sources for plants suggested in each article that’s a treasure. Don Hinckley chooses and discusses an unusual plant of merit in each edition of HORTICULTURE. I look forward to the reviews of new gardening books in each issue. A horticulturist from Clemson University, Bob Palomski, gives comprehensive answers to readers’questions.

HORTICULTURE, as other magazines, reviews the new plants for the next year.


For me, though, the variety of attention grasping articles, beautifully illustrated, make HORTICULTURE, continually new.


When a group of Western Massachusetts Master Gardeners bussed from Westfield at 5:30 A.M. to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show some years ago, I did not plan to subscribe to another gardening magazine.


PEOPLE, PLACES, PLANTS had a booth. I signed up because this magazine advertised itself as specially for New England and New York.

People, Places PLANTS

60 Pineland Dr. Building Three, Suite 27

New Gloucester, ME 04260

$24.95 a year


This ten-year-old magazine, specially produced for New England and New York, was founded by Paul Tukey, who with Roger Swain “act” in a TV show on the Home and Garden network each Sunday at 7 a.m.


The magazine is filled with advertisements from a huge number of New England nurseries, garden centers and specialty garden providers. It lives up to its name by highlighting worthy New England gardens and noteworthy gardeners. For the most part, those noted are not professionals, but ordinary dirt gardeners; their stories fascinate. The editors produce informational articles particularly germane to New England, as well as an annual photo contest with varying categories to spread the winner’s circle.


Perhaps the most complete regular feature, a state by state calendar of gardening events and opportunities.


Editor Tukey writes “If you garden in the Northeast this is your magazine.

People, Places, Plants is a community… where you can feel the kindred spirit of all of us who try to coax trees, shrubs, vegetables and flowers out of our soil.”


This New England specific magazine provides a “Let’s dig together” focus which I look forward to receiving; a tough one to recycle.


The fourth gardening magazine I receive is the magazine of the American Horticultural Society THE AMERICAN GARDENER.


7931 East Boulevard Drive

Alexandria, VA 22308-1300'

Annual dues $35.00 Two years $60


Making America a Nation of Gardeners, a Land of Gardens is the theme and purpose of the American Horticultural Society.


The Horticultural Society’s publishing arm has provided gardeners with Garden Plants A to Z, Encyclopedia of Gardening, Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers as well as other smaller publications.


THE AMERICAN GARDENER regularly brings news of AHS and the activities at the headquarters, River Farm [Geo Washington’s farm] in Alexandria. Each year the AHS sponsors a member seed exchange and has a super plant sale at River Farm.



One aspect I particularly like about the articles in THE AMERICAN GARDENER, the extensive lists of appropriate cultivars not necessarily mentioned in the article. They provide growing pluses and proper growing zones for these as well. Each edition lists horticultural events around the country by region and provides objective book reviews of a dozen or so new gardening books.


For me, belonging to the AHS has been an eye and ear and heart opening connection, similar to my English friends memberships in the Royal Horticultural Society.


Obviously, these are four magazines which continue my education as a gardener. By no means are they the only gardening magazines available to American gardeners. All of them keep us current with plants, products and techniques which thrill us each year as once again we plan and plant our gardens for a new season.


The magazines continue to pile up; recycling regularly beckons. Meanwhile, I receive, read and relish - thanking God that paper is a renewable resource - a result of green growth!


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Provided by the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association