Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have you seen the new Pacific Horticulture?


That’s the cover of their latest issue; if you think that’s sexy you should see it in person. This is not the kind of magazine you pick up in the checkout lane and recycle once you’re done. No, it’s the kind you keep and display proudly on your bookshelf.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this magazine for years. There was so much to love, and I really tried to completely buy-in. I’d see a new issue on the magazine rack (Powell’s Books and Portland Nursery carry it locally) and think this is the one! But I never really felt like it was speaking to me. The articles, while well written and informative, were often a little dry and came across as though I was reading a medical journal, not an article on a plant. I’m sure this wasn’t intentional, but that’s the feeling they left me with.

Luckily this has changed, the Pacific Horticultural Society seems to be on a completely new path with their redesign and new editor, Lorene Edwards Forkner. If that name sounds familiar it’s probably because Lorene’s the author of the popular Handmade Garden Projects, one of the organizers and hosts of the Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling in 2011, a former nursery owner, garden blogger, and just all around energetic plant loving gal.

In addition to the magazine the PHS website has underwent a complete transformation, the best part of which is they’ve got all magazine content available online going back to 2006! I can go back and read the articles I'm interested in, and skip the ones I'm not!


You can read the content issue by issue, or if you click on EXPLORE you can sort the articles by plant type, topic, season, or region, it’s also searchable by using the magnifying glass icon. Another cool thing? The website is responsive to screen size, so it will work great whether you're on your smart phone, iPad, or laptop (an upgrade we're currently working on for plant lust). Although the focus is admittedly the Pacific Coast of the United States and British Columbia I can’t help but think there is a lot here for gardeners everywhere to enjoy. And I’ll admit I’ve got a bit of a bias …one of my plant lust partners, Megan, was part of the team (along with Portland agency Switchyard Creative) responsible for the new website. You should check it out! (and I’m sure they would love it if you considered joining The Pacific Horticultural Society).

27 comments:

  1. That looks really cool!!! maybe I'm going to be their newest memeber!?!?! I joined the PNW palm and exotic plant society a number of months ago and received one of their magazines. It was really fun. Lots of talk about educating people about the usage of palms in the landscape.

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    1. Louis, check out the PH archives for an article on Jubaea - Vol. 72, No. 1.

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    2. Louis they should put you on the payroll for spreading "palm love" far and wide!

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    3. I like where this is going. Jub (oh my goodness gracious plant lust!!!!!!). payroll, we all could use more of that!

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  2. I saw the new cover the other day and really liked it. In the past I've felt like the magazine was more focused on California than the Pacific Northwest, but I've seen that become more balanced over the past few issues. If any of the Pacific Hort folks read this: great job guys!

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    1. The California coverage didn't really bother me (maybe because I am a Californian at heart?) but I did hear that was something they were aiming to improve on.

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  3. I'm going to need an iPad, and iPhone. It's inevitable. This is so cool. Good job, Megan and team!

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  4. I saw a stack of them in a nursery lateley but didn't even pick one up. I'd subscribed a few years back and had the same reaction as you. Glad to hear about the change! And the content online, Yea!

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    1. Next time you see one you should pick it up...the paper quality and layout alone make it worth thumbing through!

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  5. Should be called California Horticulture. Until they start including a good balance of articles that speak to the needs of those outside Southern Californis, I'm not interested.

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    1. Rick, I think that's the point Loree is making: a new editor, new focus, new, new new!

      My problem with any plant/garden-type magazine is I only really feel the need to read about plants in the winter. So now I've got years of back issues to check out once the temperature drops! Yahoo!

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    2. Alan is right...I think they are aware of the contradiction in their name vs. perceived focus and are working to change that.

      As for your reading habits Alan...no problem! (as long as you remember it when winter hits)

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  6. I've subscribed for several years, but I'll admit that although there was usually one article I enjoyed in each issue, there weren't an outstanding group of them. They did tend to the slightly fusty, dry and California-centric. After I read this new incarnation and read through it, the first thing I did was email Lorene to congratulate her and the design team on the great makeover.

    Loree, when you get to the archives, don't miss Paul Bonine's article on Grevilleas for the Maritime PNW, in Vol. 72, No 4, and Erle Nickel's article on Australian shrubs, in Vol 73, No. 1!

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    1. Glad to hear you agree Jane...and actually Paul's article was responsible for my purchasing of that issue, but I don't think I've got the one with the Australian shrubs article....thanks for the tip!

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  7. I'm so glad they are bringing this into the present...and SO glad they are trying to make it more accessible. I've picked it up a few times in the past, but glancing at the features, have always put it back down...a little too esoteric (and, as you mentioned, dry). I'll head over to Powells this week to take a look at the redesign :-)

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    1. I'll be interested to hear what you think!

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  8. Well this is good news. I have had the same on-again, off-again love/hate relationship with this magazine. I love that it's west-coast centric (where as all the other magazines are east-coast or British), but the material is dry, not consistent, and - most annoying - the picture quality is often horrible: pictures of lovely gardens taken in glaring, washed-out sun and at bad angles. If fact, it was the photographs that finally put me over the edge this last time I quit my subcription. But I will give this issue a try. I want this magazine to succeed.

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    1. Oh yes...I forgot about the picture quality! There is some super sexy photography in the new issue. I can't recall at the moment (and I'm setting outside on the patio and not willing to get up and go in the house) but I think the photo quality was much better across the board.

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  9. That is so cool! If it's available online then that makes it accessible even for us on this side of the globe.

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    1. Exactly! Isn't that wonderful!?

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  10. I have an embarrassing pile of PH's going back to the 70's when I first subscribed.It was bare bones back then !In fact I have embarrassing piles of several gardening publications. A smaller footprint , but a million times more relevant to me than Horticulture. I have a pile of those too.Hoping to see PH in may mailbox when I get home from the road trip tommorow !

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    1. Wow, that's a lot of magazines! Hope you had a wonderful trip, and indeed that you have the new PH in your mailbox! (and I can't wait to read all your posts on your adventures)...

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  11. I wish that publication was available on line as quite a lot of the plants there are applicable here too, one way or another :)

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    1. I must be misunderstanding your comment? (or maybe I didn't write clearly) Because it is available online...all of it, back to 2006 (I'm not sure when they started). Read...and enjoy!

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  12. It looks beautiful (and yes, sexy!). We seem to be entering into a new era of gardening mags with Wilder and The Plant Journal and now this. Can't wait to check this out in person.

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  13. After reading through the comments, it seems you have done us all a service by reintroducing us to something we had dismissed as fusty and irrelevant. Thanks.

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