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. Creator, curator and editor of GardenDrum. Sydney, NSW.

27 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.

      • Arno on said:

        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

    • elizabeth esmonde on said:

      So sad. I enjoyed reading Your Garden with a cuppa. Can’t see the enjoyment of reading something online

      • Well, that’s a shame Elizabeth – I was hoping you might enjoy GardenDrum!

  2. Adam on said:

    Terribly sad.
    And bravo to Peter Zavecz for a truly awesome piece of corporate-speak in explaining its demise…

    • Paul on said:

      LOL

  3. Charmaine Gillies on said:

    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.

  4. 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”.

  5. 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”.

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. Daniel on said:

    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.

  9. Darren on said:

    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?

  10. Darren on said:

    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.

    • paul on said:

      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.

  11. Eugene on said:

    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.

    • cathy beckhouse on said:

      Too true! I loved Stephen Ryan’s hosting of GA. When they changed hosts I watched less.

  12. steven on said:

    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.

  13. Jenny on said:

    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.

    • cathy beckhouse on said:

      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.

  14. Di. McLaren. on said:

    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.

    • Yes, I can see that it is extra sad for you Di. I hope you subscribe to GardenDrum and find some equally interesting and helpful garden and gardening articles to read.

  15. There cannot be only loosers to the internet; GardenDrum clearly shows that solely electronic publishing works, or doesn’t it ?

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