Tuesday 23 August 2011

A new look for 'The Garden'

The September issue of the RHS magazine The Garden sees a makeover in appearance and content, although it remains the same dimensions as before. It was last subtitled Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society in 2008 and the transition from being the journal of a learned society to popular magazine is now complete. While I regret the loss of continuity in the title, I don't think it is a bad thing if a more contemporary look makes aspects of gardening more approachable: there is certainly a lot of useful information and some solid articles in this issue (I should say, including one by me, on autumn-flowering bulbs). I regret the sprinkling of advertisements through the body of the magazine, however, but understand the commercial imperative that is deemed to make this necessary (nobody looks at solid blocks of ads fore and aft), and perhaps in consequence many of the spreads seem rather 'busy.' No doubt we'll soon get used to it.

One of the snippets in the 'News' section concerns the proposed new RHS plant hardiness ratings, intended to be introduced in their final form in 2013, following consultation, but this is their first public airing. The former RHS system, H1-4, was pretty hopeless and generally ignored, and this scheme, ranging from H1 (tropical) to H7 (the very hardiest), is intended to be more widely applicable. UK gardeners are invited to comment on it.

A real innovation is the section 'RHS Life', extending (in this issue) over 16 pages. It aims to bring news of RHS activities together, and to promote garden openings, shows and special events. The RHS has not always done very well at promoting its own activities, so this will create a space where this can happen, though one hopes there will also be some larger articles too. There is a strong focus on partnership gardens open free to RHS members, an aspect of the membership benefits that is often overlooked, but giving access to a huge range of wonderful gardens including, I learn, those of Isola Madre and Isola Bella in Italy. Must remember to take my ticket...

1 comment:

  1. Great to hear that the RHS events will get greater focus in The Garden.
    Looking forward to reading your article on autumn bulbs.


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