Catherine StewartYour Garden magazine closes after 60 years

Your Garden coverSuch sad news – Your Garden magazine, one of Australia’s best and longest-running garden magazines will disappear after the current Spring 2016 issue.

Although I’m an online publisher, I think that anything that signals either a drop in public interest in gardening – or a drop in publisher interest in publishing magazines about gardens and gardening – is bad, bad news for everyone who loves gardens.

Pacific Magazines (part of Seven West Media) which published Your Garden has also announced the demise of two other print titles, Practical Parenting and Bride to Be, although these will live on as digital publications.

Your Garden

Your Garden has been published for 60 years and was considered by many Australian garden-lovers to be one of our best garden magazines, with its in-depth articles and high class photography. Although its sales had suffered in recent years, as with many print titles, its readership had steadied at around 40,000.

Pacific Magazines CEP Peter Zavecz said:

“The decisions announced today are part of a transformation process at Pacific which creates a more sustainable, future-focused business with stronger competitive advantage.”

 

The closing of Your Garden magazine is particularly poignant for GardenDrum. Back in late 2010, around 20 of Your Garden‘s regular freelance contributors stood up to Pacific Magazines and refused to sign new contributor contracts which demanded that both writers and photographers give the publisher their copyright as well as indemnify it against all actions that might arise from their published words. This meant that the combined skill and experience of many of its most highly regarded contributors disappeared instantly from the magazine, dealing it a severe blow.

However Pacific Magazine’s loss became GardenDrum’s gain, with several of these wonderful and knowledgeable garden experts like Helen McKerral, Arno King, Phil Dudman and Jan Hintze becoming key contributors to the fledgling GardenDrum when it launched in November 2011.

But this news makes it a bad day for independent journalism and gardening, and I am sad for the editor, staff and current contributors.

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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Original creator of GardenDrum. South Coast NSW.

38 thoughts on “Your Garden magazine closes after 60 years

  1. Very sad indeed. A huge problem for all pubishing is the lack of support from the industry to keep advertising in magazines – whether they are printed, digital or both. The companies all send lovely press releases but what’s the point if magazines close due to lack of advertiser support? There are lots of readers, seeking independent information from magazines. The companies with new products and plants see that there’s an audience for their press releases but are not willing to put their money there too. So who will read their press releases now I wonder!

    • Several times each week I get press/media releases about a garden product or plant. The releases are sent by PR/marketing companies that are being paid to promote the product and they’ve promised their clients they’ll get them free editorial in a high quality publication. But I’m always told they’re not interested in advertising (apparently that’s so old fashioned) and there’s no budget left to for pay for it anyway. Which, of course, raises the question of how the ‘high quality publication’ can continue to exist when PR companies are gobbling up all the marketing dollars.

      • Excellent discussion Jennifer and Catherine

        I agree its very sad to see Your Garden disappear from the magazine shelves. I find it particularly strange when gardening is so popular and having such a resurgence, particularly with the younger generation.

        I am particularly shocked with what is happening with the industry advertisers. The industry has always been poor at promoting themselves but the current situation is woeful. I’m in the horticultural media and I find that I seem to know less and less about new product and plant releases. I’m also expected to promote product for free on social media or at public events. How will the public know they exist and what the benefits are from buying them, if product is not marketed professionally?

        The companies seem to think they can do their advertising for free with social media. I think they are in for a big shock. It seems to me that many gardeners are forming new product alliances and some of the former market leaders have disappeared from gardeners’ consciousness. It happens very quickly. Many young gardeners don’t even know who Yates is any more.

        This paucity of advertising and promotion seems to be supporting a community shift away from garden chemicals and garden centres and back to the kitchen cabinet and garden clubs. Many people see this as positive – community over consumerism – but I think it will have increasingly dire impacts on the industry.

        I’m waiting to see some fresh young companies realise they can have total market dominance with a minimal marketing budget, particularly if they avoid the PR companies and focus on digital magazines like this one!

        Things have got to change and when they do I am sure it will happen quickly.

        PLEASE ADVERTISE HERE

    • hi i am so sad and angry that YG has closed. i do understand that garden drum is online, not all people are online so it caters for the few. good gardeners don’t have time to browse the net and and unlike the net a mag is there when you need it. i find with the net and especially nbn its more reliable no crashes. will i be subscribing to another garden mag? doubtful i have just lost the best garden mag why would i go out and buy rubbish. regards and very sad David Fitzgibbon

      • Hello David – I share your frustration with the closure of good gardening magazines, and YG was one of the best. The fault rarely lies with the publisher itself, but with a gardening industry that prefers to spend their advertising and marketing money on social media and their own websites. And, although it’s true that not everyone is reading gardening information online, GardenDrum’s audience each month is nearly twice as big as Your Garden’s last circulation figures, so I think it’s fair to say that those accessing online information probably already outnumber those still reading print, and the proportion is growing.

  2. I am very sad to her of the demise of one of my favpurite garden magazines. I am 65 and a keen gardener and reader for decades. As a girl my parents bpught Your Garden both my parents be8ng keen gardeners also. Thank you for a brilliant mag filled with wonderful guidance and fantastic photos. Good luck to your contributors. As a Newsagent of 23 years we are at the point of closing our business due to decline in mag and paper sales, we are no longer viable and we are not the only one by far. Another internet victim, sad to say. Cha

    • Hi Cha, Sorry to hear how these changes have also affected your business. But I have to say, as a digital gardening publisher also struggling with making it viable, that the problem isn’t just the internet. Magazines survive financially not because of sales to readers but from selling advertising. Each ‘book’ (page bundle) in a mag has to be supported by enough advertising, or that content is dropped from that issue. And so the magazine shrinks bit by bit, which leads to fewer sales.

  3. Such a sense of loss. My mother was given one of the very first issues of Your Garden – I would have guessed 1955 but it must have been the following year (I was very small at the time) read it cover to cover and bought every issue thereafter for the next 40 years of her life. I’m sure it influenced my passion for gardening too.

    I fear the decline in print media we are witnessing reflects a loss of the joy in reading and a preference for the quick information bite – just look at a rail carriage of morning commuters. Where are the books, magazines and newspapers? The one without an electronic device is the odd man out.

    Sites such as Garden Drum, offering specialist in depth and through provoking articles are rare. In general, both print and electronic messages are briefer, more pictorial than they were even a decade ago, and dare I say, “dumbed down”.

  4. Unfortunately for long-form and independent journalism we have entered the era of social media, which equals superficial engagement on a mobile device and the ‘like’. People will still read something longer if it’s answering a question they’ve searched for information about but they are less engaged in a curated selection of stories being served to them, either in print or digital media, unless that information is social media style ie under 200 words or a run of images. As Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium IS the message”.

  5. I’d only just discovered this magazine earlier this year and subscribed to it. I’ve just received my second ever copy. It also had a subscription notice in the magazine to subscribe for future issues which I find strange as surely they must have known they were closing when it got posted out.

    So sad, looks like it was a great mag.

    • Gosh I hope you get a refund! But knowing how Pacific Magazines operates and the culture created there by CEO Nick Chan, I wouldn’t be surprised if those involved with producing and distributing the magazine only found out a few days before the rest of us.
      I hope you enjoy reading GardenDrum instead…

  6. Sad to hear this news. Your Garden was an excellent magazine during its boom years and was a leading advocate of the use of native plants in home gardens. It pitched itself at the keen gardener and reflected the diverse interests of their readership. I have a large stash of old copies from the 1950s, 60s & 70s which I love to look at them every now and then. The end of this magazine I’m sad to say is more evidence of the declining interest in gardening as a pastime. I hope the current writers and production staff find new opportunities soon.

  7. I subscribed to Your Garden for 2 years (just received the last/spring edition), but had already decided not to renew and subscribe to ABC Organic Gardener instead.

    I found Your Garden relied a little too heavily on stock photos (from the US and Europe?) and often didn’t name the plants displayed. I prefer to a more ‘local’ connection with plants and gardens.

    I’d recommend anyone here lamenting the demise of Your Garden to subscribe to another gardening magazine.

    • Yes Organic Gardener is a great magazine (although no longer really the ABC’s as it’s now published by Next Media), as is Good Organic Gardening (Universal Magazines) – as long as 90% of your gardening interests are growing edibles. I’m still perplexed why growing other plants isn’t seen as part of ‘organic gardening’ but, in those magazines, growing fruit, vegetables and herbs is pretty much all you’ll get.

  8. Pity. I subscribed and the very next day was refunded and told it was no longer on sale. I don’t really have any alternative magazine to buy now. The Gardening Australia one is ok but, for the most part, I couldn’t give a rats about making a vertical plant wall or a bloody kokedama. Plus, I bought it for the Stephen Ryan plant write ups. I’ll miss those. Is he writing for anyone else now that YG has folded?

  9. Exactly. There’s nothing left on the ornamental side of things. It’s a pity we don’t have a magazine in the style of Pacific Horticulture like the US does.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Not everyone wants to be a permaculturist. Stephen Ryan is a wiz on ornamental plants albeit for a cooler climate than I garden in.

  10. Stephen Ryan for PM. He captures the spirit of gardening that I employ (which I suspect hasn’t changed much since we first started chipping weeds in Eden) and I thank him for it.

    The ABC hippie spirit on show at Gardening Australia is as lame as a very lame thing and completely indigestible.

  11. I eagerly bought gardening magazines when I first became interested in gardening but after a few years I noted that the same stories are constantly recycled. I’m sorry for the loss of people’s livelihoods but I am now a much better informed gardener thanks to the internet. My major concern is that gardening is now unfashionable among younger age groups, which is a great pity in so many ways.

  12. Nooooo. I only just heard when I went to see if the summer edition was out. I work as a gardener & this was the only decent mag. Who is this crap big corp. I want this mag back. Now.

    • I’ve only just found out as well when I remembered that I hadn’t bought the summer edition! I can’t believe that they’ve decided to scrap the best gardening mag out there! So sad.

  13. I have bought Your Garden every month since I married and then quarterly from when it changed. That is over 46 years worth. We moved about a year ago and I gave all my saved mags. to Lifeline. I too only found out when I searched for the Summer edition. It is going to be a big loss for me personally as I too believe it is the best gardening magazine but now it is gone. So sad.

  14. As every one above has said it is so sad and frustrating that we have lost one of the best gardening magazines.. I myself love having a magazine in my hands to actually read and refer back to, I wonder how older people and others who don’t have access to electronic media get to read all of this wonderful gardening info. I also have found that Gardening Australia content is so out of touch with the art of gardening, it’s all too much about trends! I have been in the gardening business with having owned my own nursery but unfortunately the public look for multi nationals to get cheap products and unfortunately we have lost all of our knowledgeable plants people. Has anyone noticed that what garden magazines are available have shrunk in size ?due to less companies advertising so budgets are very tight! Wonder who will be next!!

    • Yes Gail, it is the lack of advertising revenue that is the magazine killer, whether it’s a printed version, or online like GardenDrum. Some of that disappeared because nursery and garden product businesses have closed down but what advertising money was left has now been siphoned off by PR and marketing companies and the social media giants. In all honesty, I can’t see any future for quality, independent journalism – either in the gardening world or outside it.

  15. Just found this article when I googled looking for the first gardening magazines published in Australia in the 20th century, to mention in my literature review on the first professional horticulturist in Australia Ina Higgins for my Masters degree. How Ironic! Not what I was looking for, but I feel is sad, because the pictures always inspired me and it is not the same reading a magazine on-line, especially if you are snuggled in bed with a coffee. No offence Catherine. Your on-line site is fantastic and the only one I read.

    • No offence taken Sandi. I also like reading a printed magazine and regret their closure. But garden industry companies have deserted advertising in favour of media releases and social media, so Google, Facebook and PR and marketing companies are the only ones who now get paid, not those who publish information. It wont be long before GardenDrum disappears too.

  16. I have worked in Media over 25 yrs also did one year on Your Garden Editorial Assistant was a lovely lovely Magazine i learnt so much and as Catherine advised so many interesting products and what is being achieved never ending. I would love to see the press releases..
    good luck to all of us who loved and love this work.
    M.

  17. Can someone please help me here.
    There was a short poem in Your Garden many years ago that I have never forgotten; well…almost never forgotten!
    It went something like this: I’m a garden parasite, I never sow a seed, …then something like:I wander around…….enjoying gardens that others sow and weed.

    I’d appreciate it if someone has a good – enough memory to fill the gaps and put it all in place properly, then I think I’ll get it printed out nicely.

    • Hello Roger – I’ve asked Paul Urquhart who was editor of YG magazine back in the early 2000s if he remembers this poem but he’s never seen it before. If you can pinpoint which year it might have been it’s possible we can track down the appropriate editor. But I suspect such things will be lost in the mists of time…

      • Hello Catherine, thanks for taking up my frustrating problem with Paul…and it is frustrating for me as I often think of it in many real life situations and I MUST get it sorted out!!! (Smile here).
        Yes,, talk about the mists of time….I would have no idea of the year I saw the poem, but I do know that it was back in the days when it was a large paged type magazine like a newspaper. I was never in the habit of buying any other garden mags. so I am pretty sure that it was YG.
        Thanks again, best regards, Roger.

  18. Hi Catherine, sorry to ask if you have not been able to find out anything….but have you found out anything more re. the little poem: I’m a garden parasite, I never sow a seed……….and so on. Cheers, Roger.

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