Confessions Of A Gardening Magazine Junkie

I buy gardening magazines. I buy lots of gardening magazines, almost weekly, sometimes even two in one week! I don’t need a single one of them. I have hundreds of gardening books, I have gardening friends and relatives who I can turn to for advice, and I have access to the internet and a wealth of online publications and forums, all willing to help me out.

There are stacks of magazines guiltily piled under bedside tables, under sofa cushions, in the shed – just about anywhere you care to search in our home, you will find gardening magazines.

The piles grow, I never get rid of them or recycle them as suggested by passing them on to my local GP’s surgery. (In fact, after the last outbreak of swine flu, they banned waiting room magazines – the last refuge where I could indulge my addiction publicly!) 

Like all addicts, I try to justify my addiction, to make it appear like ‘normal behaviour’. The main justification is something along the lines of, ‘By reading these magazines, I will grow better and more bountiful homegrown veg, cut down on food miles and save the world!’ Although if I’m completely truthful, I don’t just buy gardening magazines about growing vegetables, The English Garden being a case in point. Its large glossy pages are stuffed with gratuitous images of green loveliness. I drool over articles on garden design, lust after garden sculptures I will never be able to afford, and grand residences with massive gardens owned by ever-so-nice ladies called Jocasta. Jocasta nearly always has a gardener! They dedicate one page to eco-issues! 

Even when I am ’on task’ and reading about growing the perfect cauliflower or fan training a pear tree (neither of which I have successfully managed despite my dedication to gardening publications), I have to read it honestly before. There is no excuse for buying any one gardening magazine for more than a run of a year – they all become fairly repetitive and predictable – October issues will wax lyrical over compost heaps, February issues will advise you on pruning, and April will nearly always have tomatoes on the cover! 

Free seeds! That is my other justification for buying gardening magazines, but an issue is way more expensive than a seed packet. If I’d just gone out to buy the seed, not only would I save money, but also I would choose crops to suit my purposes and varieties which work well for me. I scored (addict talk, see?!) no less than four packets of seeds from a recent issue of Kitchen Garden or was it Grow it? Things get a little hazy, I’m afraid. Yes, I’ll definitely sow some of them, some I’ll grow into plugs and share, but a good number will end up being sprouted as micro-greens. It’s an expensive way to grow cress!