This is the time of year when folks suddenly realize that it really is over. There will be no more outdoor gardening for nine whole months. What to do in that void? Obviously, indoor growing should be considered. And, it seems to me that in these dark months it's worthwhile to catch up on reading. This is a great time to get into some gardening magazines.
I know we all have iPads and computers and get a lot of our gardening information from the Internet, but there is something about a print magazine, especially a gardening or horticultural one, that makes it important to keep them around. I note this because earlier this year the entire staff of Garden Design magazine, one of the few magazines left, were summarily dismissed as the mag went out of publication. Personally, that is a shame. There is a place for these publications in the garden world, even if there may not be in the news world. Gardeners really should support them lest they all disappear. Here are a few suggestions.
Let's start with one I always push because it is so unique. "Green Prints" (www.greenprints.com) is the only monthly compilation of what I call "Hort Lit." This consists of horticultural stories and writings rather than the "how-to" stuff that you find in all the other gardening magazines. This is a thick -- 75 or so pages -- "Readers Digest-size" monthly compilation of the best of what editor (and my good friend) Pat Stone can find amongst all the garden print. (He must read a lot!) In any case, you will find funny stories, poignant stories, children's stories and more. As an added inducement to subscribe to Green Prints, I would mention it won the Best Garden Magazine Award from the Garden Writers Association.
Next is Rodale Press' "Organic Gardening" (www.organicgardening.com). Yup, this is the successor title to the original Organic Farming and Gardening, still going strong after all these years. It keeps reinventing itself, which means it is always changing. If that sounds bad, it isn't. It keeps the magazine fresher (and trying harder) than some of the others. If you are not an organic gardener as a result of reading this column, perhaps Rodale Press will convince you of how easy it is to drop the chemicals.
"Garden Gate" (www.gardengatemagazine.com) magazine comes out every two months. It is a glossy full of gorgeous pictures and fact-filled articles on all aspects of gardening. The folks who publish it are so sure you will want to subscribe, they are willing to send you a free issue to try. What have you to lose?
"The English Garden" (www.theenglishgarden.co.uk/magazine) is, as you have already guessed, a publication out of England. It is full of fantastic garden pictures and interviews with gardeners who design, build or maintain them. Yes, it is all about gardening in Great Britain and reviews their stuff and people, not ours, but hey, it's winter here so what does that matter?
"Gardens Illustrated" is another garden magazine from England (www.gardensillustrated.com). Get ready to do some drooling. This one is full of beautiful pictures of gardens, English gardening advice, and articles about plants worldwide.
"Fine Gardening" (www.finegardening.com) bills itself as a garden design magazine. It is probably the American equivalent of a high-brow English magazine, and I mean that in a positive way. It has fantastic photography and writing. You won't just read this in a couple of minutes. If you want you can purchase one month at a time. People use words like "breathtaking" when describing some of the gardens covered, and there is no question yours might seem a bit pale in comparison. Nonetheless, there is always something inspiring as well. Besides, aren't Alaskan winters for dreaming a bit?
There are other magazines, horticulturally oriented and otherwise, which always devote a portion of their print pages to gardening and gardens. If you have one worthy of note, let me know at www.Teamingwithmicrobes.com. It's a long winter, climate change or not. We have plenty of time to read.
NOT TOO LATE: BRING IN CERAMIC POTS, UNDO HOSES FROM OUTDOOR FAUCETS AND OTHERWISE SAVE THINGS FROM WATER EXPANDING WHEN IT FREEZES.
LIGHTS: FOLKS, NOW, NOT IN MARCH, IS THE TIME TO INSTALL AND START USING GROWING LIGHTS.
HOUSEPLANTS: GET SOME NEW ONES. NURSERIES, SUPERMARKETS, FLORISTS ARE ALL STOCKED UP.
ALASKA BOTANICAL GARDEN: THE GARDEN IS OPEN DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, ALL YEAR LONG. GREAT TIME TO CHECK OUT THE BIG GLACIER BOULDER AND SEE HOW THE PROS PUT A GARDEN TO BED.