Saturday, 24 August 2019

Gardening magazines and recent reads

Does anyone read or subscribe to magazines anymore? Apparently not...according to my Garden Planet focus group results. Thanks so much for coming everyone who participated, Louise for the yummy lemon cake and sandwiches and everyone elses' input. Everyone goes online. I forgot to ask...exactly WHERE online do people look for gardening help but I suppose like everyone else they just all go to Google.

Well good news you can just type in Garden Planet FM into Google and it will come up. We don't have quite the world-wide-web reach of the entire solar system/universe yet, but..we are just gardening ONE planet at a time here.

Funny thing is Kiwi Gardener magazine arrived at my place yesterday, I ripped open the plastic for September's issue, which had Rhododendrons on it (which I don't grow, unless you count azaleas as rhododendrons) flicked through, and thought, I don't really need this. I mean it's nice, got pretty pictures, and articles, but then I have tonnes of magazines already, many past September issues, and the ads are all the same just telling you to buy more plants and sometimes, shock horror, weedkillers.

Ok so I must be over the whole magazine thing. That's why a whole lot of them ended up in the library fridge. You could win a trip to Great Barrier Island, but for Aucklanders that's like winning a trip to the Sky tower. Granted there may be some gardens there but not anything much different to what we can grow on the mainland. Anyway I'm rethinking my strategy and decide its not really worth it write into these magazines because by the time I've told them stuff publication deadlines have passed or I will end up writing myself to death and start spouting 300 words of drivel like Joe Bennett in the fancier rival publication NZ Gardener. Sorry Joe Bennett. I know you try every month to come up with something amusing, but let's be brutally are of no practical garden help. I am not sure why he gets a separate column from all the other plant loving gurus in that magazine.

Now Soil and Health magazine Organic NZ is very quite interesting but it does suffer from the whole organic ethos of unless you own a huge tract of arable land off grid and do everything yourself by recycling your own toilet paper to eating rabbits,  you can't really do anything about all the horrible stuff thats happening everywhere else. And sometimes its a victim of it's own success. Ok you've managed to produce a world class organic product so what do you do...ship it overseas and contribute to more global warming? Cos the only people that can afford to buy your product are overseas? And if you don't can you afford to make a living off your own land? See...doesn't work does it?

Anyhow magazines aren't really where its at anymore (my school library doesn't even have them...I weeded them all out, and they are an absolute pain to shelve and cover and label) but I still have lots of respect for gardening books that aren't disguised as advertisments for a landscaping company. Although they still can turn into Joe Bennett like polemics. Like the one I read recently 'Gardens in the sun' by Trevor Nottle who wrote an entire book about how he lived in South Australia and just couldn't create an English style garden in the desert. It just doesn't work. Well I could have told you that. But then he advocated planting lots of agaves and yuccas. Noooo. Come on you can do a bit better, if its warm and dry and somewhat Mediterranean, you don't have to resort to prickly pear and yuccas. How about a few phoenix palms for shade. Yes they are a pest in Auckland but in Australia they could be very welcome and you can have your possums back too. And gum trees and wattles. You have all your lovely red coloured rocks and didgeree do dreaming patterns and noisy birds too so appreciate what you've got.

Another recent read was also funnily enough Australian -Inga Simpson wrote a memoir about a life amongst trees in the hinterlands of Brisbane called 'Understory'. She wrote a lot about gum trees and koalas and complained about gecko poo in her cottage which I imagined she lived in the bush like writers do in Titrangi when they don't want anyone bothering them. But she didn't write a word about possums. I think it's time for those possums to head back, the greedy overstayers and leave our cabbage trees and pohutakawas alone. I was expecting a whole Enid Blyton adventure like Folk in the Faraway Tree but no it was all about how the Global Financial Crisis ruined her writers retreat venture because she borrowed too much money to live in the bush and couldn't pay it back. She was also paying someone else to cut down firewood to heat her cottage even though she had trees all around her, and I was hoping she would be growing mushrooms or making treehouse swings or something but no all she wanted to do was write. Ok I don't get that I really need is a piece of paper, maybe a lap top and no interruptions (tip, do it in the night or morning before anyone else is up) you don't really need to run away and live in the bush. Great book cover though.