Looking back

Posted: Monday 24 November 2014
by Adam Pasco

...the team of bloggers at GW have certainly covered some ground over the years writing about topical subjects, sharing stories and insights, highlighting fashions and trends.

How times change. Back in 1991 the world of gardening was vibrant and growing. Gardeners’ World was a well-established television programme and essential viewing on a Friday evening, hosted by that man of the soil and inventive recycler Geoff Hamilton. 

And in March of that year the first issue of Gardeners’ World Magazine was published, with its first print run of 150,000 copies selling out in just two days! The magazine was an instant success, reaching its biggest ever circulation in 2000 with sales of over 382,000 copies a month.

This was the heyday of magazine publishing, but over the following years a digital revolution has taken, and with it new ways of presenting information that can be accessed almost anywhere and any time via your television, computer and now mobile devices and tablets. 

I’m always behind the curve when it comes to technology, and while I do have a mobile phone that I use it for an old fashioned concept of talking to people, I don’t have a ‘smart’ phone. No, I can’t ‘blip’ my pages of Gardeners’ World Magazine to make new content burst into life … and unlike many I can’t take photos or videos of my food to share with friends!

When I launched BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine I couldn’t have imagined what a website was, but slowly the worldwide web spread. Gardeners’ World published a CD-ROM called The Garden Manager – a combination of diary and plant database – and soon our first website was launched.

Now anyone could access information from the comfort of their home, but the technology in the forum, and post regular blogs.

The lovely thing about blogs is that they are immediate. Unlike the world of magazine publishing where it takes several days to write copy, design pages, and then get a magazine printed and distributed, a blog can be written and posted live on the website within the hour.

And the team of bloggers at GW have certainly covered some ground over the years writing about topical subjects, sharing stories and insights, highlighting fashions and trends. Our wonderful website editor Daniel Haynes has also been very accommodating, and I’m often allowed to indulge in horticultural ramblings and anecdotes, hopefully in engaging and entertaining ways.

But writing blogs isn’t always easy. Some of the hardest have followed the deaths of major figures in gardening. One of the biggest influences in my gardening life was Geoffrey Smith, a proud Yorkshire man of bold stature and character with a fine gardening pedigree and immense knowledge that he so generously shared. As a young lad working on a nursery and training in horticulture I was always inspired by watching Geoffrey on television, including Gardeners’ World. So when I came to launch the magazine in 1991 I had the immense pleasure of inviting Geoffrey to become a regular contributor. His monthly articles were on wildlife gardening, a topic he loved and brought to life well before the current interest in nature, birds, wildlife and bees.

The digital world is a fast-moving one. With new Apps and web sites being developed all the time I’m sure many of you use Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Snapchat, Google+ and a bemusing range of others to share your gardening passions.

So it’s not surprising that the gardenersworld.com continues to develop too, with big plans for the future. As the 2014 growing season draws to an end so does this chapter of my regular blog.

I hope to be back with occasional blogs in future, although you’ll have to wait and see what the topic of Blog No.216 will be.

Wishing you all well, and thank you for sharing in my gardening ventures! Happy gardening!

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Talkback: Looking back
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cazbob 09/01/2015 at 12:46

Unfortunately the g w mag has become rather boring of late, I find the content not so good andno inspiring new ideas. Monty don is a reasonably nice chap but his gardenersworldshow is more about other gardens which to me is nothing but inthe side advertising for gardens you can visit.where is the inspiring idesasaBlog and we want to know how to make things and grow most people have not got big gardens and need ideas money ois all vegetables.

Obelixx 09/01/2015 at 12:58

Once again I have to wonder why all the blogs are disappearing.

I haven't bought GW mag for over a decade because it became very samey and the subscription rate for Belgium is expensive and doesn't include the freebies available in the UK.  It's better value for me to subcribe to the RHS which gets me free access to their gardens when I'm there, free access to some good gardens here on the continent, favoured access to shows, free advice,  free seeds from the gardens and a monthly magazine.

Buttercupdays 09/01/2015 at 14:25

I just subscribed this last year after a long break but I shan't renew. You do tend to get the same articles/ plants featured  each season and there is a lot of repetition for the benefit of new gardeners which is not much use for hardened oldies. Also I find their planting plans for pots etc extremely expensive and relatively pointless, as if you like gardening half the fun is in making up your own combinations according to what you have, what's available and what you can afford. I do find myself drooling over some of the photographs though.

I also subscribe to gardening Which? and find this quite helpful, with reviews of tools, plants and suppliers whch are objective and not just disguised advertising. They also seem to have a better grip on what people are able to pay for things and have features on things to make or do for yourself.

gardenning granny 10/01/2015 at 12:58

There are only 12 months in the year - so after 12 copies you are back to the start again.  I haven't taken any gardening magazine for years but have a few saved copies from years ago and on the whole they are just as good as the current one....though of course the "new varieties" section must change each year.

I've just decided to taker up the 5 for a fiver offer, but suspect I will not continue after that.  I quite like to have a mag to read when |I'm on holiday!

SFord 13/01/2015 at 16:48

I too used to subscribe, but lapsed as I also think its gone 'samey'.  The only garden mags I tend to read now are the English Garden and Gardens Illustrated (I get them second hand as my mum subscribes!).

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