Easy container plants? Beginning gardens? This isn’t needlepoint, people. It’s mud and thorns and roots and worms and screeching crows and poisonous pendulant daturas that are pollinated by bats. It’s the plant kingdom, for chrissake. Something’s going on out there. (This gets back to the first point in our manifesto. Have you had a chance to review the manifesto? Item 1: Gardening MATTERS. It ain’t fluff.)
Don’t you go anywhere, Salon. We’re not done yet. You flirted with brilliance back in the dot-com days with your coverage of Garden.com, the catalog/magazine ("catazine"? Or did we eventually settle on "magalog"?) formerly known as Garden Escape. We loved this:
Take the company business cards: They change every season to display a timely flower or fruit. Right now, they are brightened by a bold red tulip, but soon they will switch to a yellow sunflower for summer. In fall, Garden.com employees proffer pears and in winter, workers hand out an amaryllis, a holiday flower. …
Sundie Ruppert, Garden.com’s art director, came up with the concept and defends the seasonal cards in the name of branding. "People who are gardeners get it," she says. "They want to collect all four." Passing out four — when you can get by with one — can’t be good for the balance sheet.
Garden.com calls Garden Escape "the first print magazine to be created by an electronic-commerce company." Now if you tax your memory, you might recall when publications exclusively devoted to selling a single retailer’s product were called by another name. But in the age of new business paradigms, the hip e-tailer does not traffic in anything so passé as a "catalog." Instead we have "seamless integration of commerce and content," as Garden.com CEO Cliff Sharples proudly described the periodical…
OK, so that was great. Maybe you saw it as more of a technology/e-commerce story, but as far as we’re concerned, that’s awesome gardening coverage. But then what happened? Salon readers get all the sports, food, travel, and literary writing they can handle, along with a generous helping of technology and politics.
It’s as if this brave new world of online magazines got created without so much as a glance out the window. Look–trees! Grass! Flowers! Holy shit, they’re everywhere! Not to mention the fact that, according to the Harris Poll and as ranted about previously on this site, gardening is more popular than travel, golf and other sports, cooking, dining out, and animals/pets (not to mention sex, which was not mentioned), all of which get plenty of column inches (pixels?) in the average hip publication.
So come on–what gives?Posted by Amy Stewart on June 19, 2006 at 8:37 am, in the category Everybody's a Critic.