Everybody's a Critic

House & Garden, Garden Design

This just in from the New York Post:

There will be no more renovations at House & Garden after Condé
Nast Chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. pulled the plug on the magazine after
11 years of losses.

The failed monthly is believed to have
burned through close to $100 million since its re-launch in 1996, and
there had been no sign of things turning around in the near term.

$100 million in 10 years.  Yeah well, it’s hard to get anything done for $100 million.

In other news, Garden Design will now publish eight times per year instead of six.  How will they fill those extra pages? According to their e-mail newsletter:

In addition, the recently
released 2008 editorial calendar is a reflection of the magazine’s commitment to
highlight elite designers and their concepts for outdoor living. Featured
material ranges from exclusive gardens in Provence, Holland, Belgium, Spain, and
Brazil, to the latest in outdoor entertaining with internationally renowned
chef, Daniel Boulud. Plus we continue to expand our profiles on the leaders of
the most significant landscape architecture of our time, while offering the
latest coverage of products, furnishings and décor that shape the future of
outdoor living style.

What do you think? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? They’re asking for feedback…

Posted by on November 6, 2007 at 6:22 pm, in the category Everybody's a Critic.
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11 responses to “House & Garden, Garden Design”

  1. susan harris says:

    I’m cool with elite designers around the world – an improvement over their current SoCal focus. And we don’t turn to GD for ideas about what to try in our own backyards, anyway. But “the latest in outdoor entertaining” and anything involving a chef (Why do we care if he’s renowned?) makes me fear the dropping of “garden” from GD, like the G from HGTV.

  2. max says:

    I’m with Susan. Pandering to the lowest common “lifestyle” denominator may increase your theoretical audience, but it alienates your core audience, which is interested in your nominal subject matter.

    I guess it doesn’t matter, since it is already true that no American garden magazine is worth reading for serious gardeners.

  3. Lisa says:

    I’ll probably still buy an issue of “Garden Design” from time to time. I’ll continue to buy it when there’s an article on a plant or plants I want to read. But I won’t subscribe. I find “Fine Gardening” a bit too simplistic of late, but I still find something of interest in every issue of “Horticulture”. “American Gardener” (the AHS publication) used to be fairly decent.

    If there’s ANY garden magazine worth reading, however, it’s “The Garden”, which is part of a membership to the Royal Horticultural Society. It’s a monthly magazine, and worth every penny of the approximately 80 dollars (at current exchange rates) per year for membership. My second choice is the BBC’s “Gardens Illustrated”.

    I’m also fond of various plant society journals and magazines.

    In the interests of disclosure, I must warn anyone considering my suggestions that I’m a serious plant nerd, just short of being a full-up horticulturalist and botanist (not in terms of education, but inclination).

  4. The problem with Garden Design, as is, is too much Design, too little Garden.

    I really don’t care about the latest in barbeques–or weather-resistant fabrics. I leave those worries to suburbanites who wouldn’t recognize a shovel if it hit them on the head.

    I fear that Garden Design is going the direction it’s going because gardeners represent no kind of market whatsoever. Look at us, still unable to get our daily readership up to a 1000.

    Amy once said that the job of garden writers is first, making a market, and second, writing for it. I’m thinking she’s right.

  5. P.S. The demise of House & Garden is not good news for those of us with fantasies of taking over for Tom Christopher some day.

  6. eliz says:

    8x a year makes me more likely to subscribe, so I applaud that move in and of itself. 6x makes me feel like I’m getting ripped off.

    I would like them to use that extra space for more garden and less design. If I want to hear from Boulud, I will read Gourmet, Saveur, the NYT food pages or watch Top Chef. I do not need to be instructed on outdoor entertaining.

    More on gardening! More on plants! I appreciate their look and feel, so I want to like the magazine more.

  7. Christine says:

    I subscribe to Garden Design, and generally I like it. However, I agree with the previous posters in that most of us do not live in SoCal, and even fewer of us are multi-millionaires interested in building outdoor kitchens.

  8. Tibs says:

    I want more design, not just pretty pictures. Show me the plan. Show me the details on how that stone path was built. Give me more details about the flowers, and please realize that most gardners are not spring chickens and quit printing stuff on photos or dark green print on pale green background. Quit making the font smaller after the first page. I wanna read the artilces, not just look at pretty pictures.

  9. Terry says:

    The reason the “garden” is disappearing from HGTV, Garden Design, etc. is that fewer and fewer people like to “garden” – whatever that means!

    As evidence of this are points already made on your blog including professional garden writers that can’t make a living writing about gardens, the small number of garden-related blogs versus other topics, etc.

    Also, ask almost any landscape contractor and/or garden center owner where the money is these days?

    It’s in paver patios, retaining walls, decks, outdoor furniture and accessories, and insanely expensive outdoor, stainless steel “kitchens” (resulting in a lot of $50.00 hamburgers and hotdogs for as often as a lot of these kitchens are actually used) – not PLANTS!

    The great thing about bricks, furniture, etc., is that they don’t die – eliminating profit-sucking replacement guarantees and callbacks!

    Even Buffalo’s beyond-words FABULOUS “GardenWalk” is likely less about plants (though people certainly like to look at how “gardeners” grow them) than about “hardscape/outdoor living” ideas and good, old-fashioned curiosity about what people are doing in their backyard!

    The sad part of all this is that society is becoming increasingly distanced from the natural world – to the point many people have trouble realizing that the plants growing in their garden/landscape (mostly overgrown evergreens in upstate New York which they have only because everyone else on the block has them across the front of their home, too) actually grow wild somewhere on the face of the planet without any input from humans!

  10. firefly says:

    What Max said. I’ve gotten sample issues of Horticulture and Fine Gardening and, except for the opinion pieces in Horticulture, I didn’t see anything in either magazine that I haven’t already Googled up at one time or another.

    Not only that, Fine Gardening served up a nice slap in the face for New England gardeners by skipping over the region in its recommendations for fall shrubs. Everybody else got a page, even California, which hardly has autumn in the sense they were aiming at (shrubs that turn color before dropping leaves for the cold season). New England? Not! And I live in a neighborhood where there are more rhododendrons than people. People who obviously need advice on shrubs.

  11. Rebecca says:

    They’re all too lame (article-wise) and too expensive for me. After 6 years of some pretty serious gardening I’ve moved to requesting some of them from the library over the winter months…mostly for the eye candy. The web is where the really informative, thought-provoking stuff is to be found.

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