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Garden Design Magazine Will Cease Publication

Garden Design Magazine to cease publishing

After the April
2013 issue, Garden Design Magazine will cease to exist as a magazine.
The publication was established in
1982 and written for those interested in garden and landscape design for the
home. 
I may not have the
first-year copies of the magazine – I have to check my garden book and
periodical library – (which is still in box storage until our home renovation
is completed) but I’m sure I have copies of Garden Design magazine from those
early years.
Whatever the
magazine archive, I can say with certainty; I was smitten from the get-go. 
The magazine spoke
to me.  It was all about a garden
lifestyle.
It was
sophisticated. It was glamorous. It was transporting. 
And there was never
another magazine that came close to Garden Design.
Sure there were many
horticultural magazines but all of them were focused on the hort community and
the professional.
The hort “gotcha”
community can be really tough on those that really don’t care to know the
botanical nomenclature and all things plants.
Does that diminish
the love of the garden?

To my knowledge,
there is no other artistic genre that belittles its enthusiasts while
professing to court them.
Well, maybe fine art
painting- but not sure…
Garden Design
magazine offered true romance about the art of the garden.   From
the plants to the hardscape to the edibles and fine dining…
Garden Art is not
dissimilar from other ephemeral art forms and Garden Design magazine celebrated
the gardens’ provenance and exuberance and its designers—present and past.
Don’t get me started
on the need to celebrate and understand Garden History.
How can one build on
a body of art if there is no ready hub to stimulate and celebrate?
I contributed to the
book, “The Pioneers of Landscape Design,” because I had so much research material
given my passion and my landscape design academic study that I wanted to share.
Garden Design
magazine was aspirational. It was inspiring.
Coming home from
pounding corporate travel and bruising meetings and joyful international garden
visits as part of all that business, I luxuriated in perusing the garden
glamour in Garden Design magazine.
Every page told a
garden story.
Even the ads were
powerful testament to an elevated garden lifestyle.
Heck, I even read
those teeny, tiny, personal-looking ads in the back of the magazine.
It’s how I learned
about a week-long garden design course taught at Filoli in San Francisco,
hosted by the English father and son garden design team, Robin Williams. (Not
the American comedian).
I even flew my
sister to join me and we stayed in Sonoma and then Half Moon Bay while taking
the course.
Good garden memories
ignited by Garden Design Magazine.
Later, after I
stepped out of the world of technology public relations and worked at The New
York Botanical Garden and then Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I was giddy and
privileged to not only work with the editors of Garden Design magazine on news
stories but was able to count them as friends. To this day.
The loss of Garden
Design magazine is not just a business environment loss.
The loss of Garden
Design magazine is not just an “old media” loss.
The loss of Garden
Design magazine is not just the loss of a gardening or horticulture media
outlet as some of my hort associates have lamented.
The business
decision to cease publication can be justified. 
It’s ad pages that
aren’t there.
I tried a few times
to post in landscape designer Susan Cohen’s postings (but due to tech issues
could not…)
In response I tried
to explain that one of the key inventory elements of garden design is plants –
and outside of perhaps Monrovia, those growers and developers have zero history
of advertising.
Why can’t the
landscape designer’s hue and cry that Architectural Digest succeeds brilliantly
see that without the limitless creative, design “stuff” support, the landscape
sister to AD can’t cut it?
As noted by a
previous Garden Design editor on Cohen’s Linked In page wrote:
A note about corporate publishing: circulation
is controlled by the publishing company. Garden Design’s circulation was not
reflective of national interest (or lack thereof) in exquisitely designed
gardens. Circulation is decided upon based on formulas related to profitability
(the printing and mailing of the magazines is the most expensive part of the
business).
I had long suggested
to my Garden Design friends that the magazine should position itself as the
Vogue of garden design. 
It wasn’t competing
with Fine Gardening, Horticulture or blogs. 
No. It was the
arbitrator of the best of garden design.
It was the curator of
garden design and the experts who gave us a garden design lifestyle.
Just like the fact
that not many of us can afford or want to pick up on the Vogue or Harpers’
fashion of the moment — are we really going to purchase the Alexander McQueen or the Marc Jacobs or Oscar de la Renta?
Those of us who read and loved Garden Design magazine sensed
we’d never have that rill or orchard. 
But maybe some day
we would.
Or maybe we could reinterpret it just like those fashion designs that are re-crafted at Target..
I also believe that
the business model for Garden Design magazine was flawed,
Especially in a time
of digital and social media. 
Why couldn’t
Bonnier, the parent company, create a hub for landscape, design professionals
to come together and meet the homeowner – the garden design enthusiast?
Garden Design
Magazine are the curators.  
They are the
experts.
They can create a
compelling, viral, hub of garden art enthusiasts who will pay for the app.
There is downstream
revenue to be explored for those that can marry the vision with the funding to
make it happen. Seriously. With home gardening: edible and ornamental
continuing to ahem, grow, there is an opportunity waiting to be cultivated…
Here’s to hoping
Bonnier or someone with garden vision can make this work.
Maybe, just maybe –
it could be us and our garden glamour community.
What do you think?
Here is
the full Garden Design Magazine story as it appeared in Adweek:

9 Comments

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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
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 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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