Not just a hobby

magazines2Gardening is not just a hobby for me.   It has been an ongoing obsession for the past 20 years or so.  During my 20’s I suffered from clinical depression and gardening was my therapy.  There is something to be said for the mundane tasks of pulling weeds or deadheading.  It requires no thinking and the sense of completion for a job well done can be quite satisfying.  So what do I do when I can’t garden?  I read about it!  Over the years I have had numerous subscriptions to gardening magazines.  However in recent years I have downsized to a few select periodicals that have wonderful articles rich with information.  Better Homes and Garden magazine has been my longest subscription over the years.  I love the variety of articles from gardening to home decor.  They are great about showing plants for long  periods of bloom that have been tested in their trial gardens.  My favorite section is the last page where readers can submit something they have built or created in their home or garden.  It’s called “I Did It!”.   Garden Gate is another magazine I’ve subscribed to for quite a few years.  My favorite section is the Reader’s Tips where everyday people like me & you offer up creative solutions for gardening tasks.  This month’s issue showed a mini greenhouse made out of a plastic shelving unit, flexible pvc and a twin size mattress plastic bag.   The newest addition to my collection of great reading material is Horticulture.  I found this magazine while sitting in a doctor’s office and fell in love immediately.  Each page is packed with interesting information about a variety of garden topics.  This month’s issue had articles such as gifts to give to the gardener in your life, bulbs you can grow indoors for winter blooms, and ornamental shrubs to grow for year round interest.  Another thing I will be doing this winter is rereading some of the back issues.  What are some of your favorite gardening magazines or books?  Have a nice weekend everyone!  🙂


27 responses to this post.

  1. Raquel, I love Better Homes and Gardens. Unlike HGTV they show a lot about gardening. I have drooled over some of their articles and have found some wonderful plants to put in my garden. And you are right about them testing in their own gardens which is a big plus. I’m so glad you found gardening as a therapy. It is very satisfying to plant and watch something grow and bloom. I think it’s a great stress reliever for a lot of us.

    They are a wonderful source for finding info on new plants that’s for sure. Thank you Beckie, gardening keeps me sane. When you’re a mom sometimes you need an outlet just for you! It gives me alot of pleasure and a great sense of satisfaction.


  2. Oh yes, it does show how much you consider everything about your garden. We can see you care deeply and are planning the future stages. I’ve enjoyed following along.

    Thank you Anna. I truly do care deeply about my garden. It gives alot of pleasure! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed following my progress. 🙂


  3. Gardening became much more than a hobby for me too. So much so, that I quit a 12 year career to make it my occupation. It was the best move I ever made. As for magazines, I subscribe to Fine Gardening, Garden Design and Carolina Gardener. I get other magazines through work. I am glad you found gadening therapeutic – it is for me as well.

    You are lucky to have made gardening not just a hobby but your occupation as well. That is my dream job. 🙂 It sounds like you made the right choice! Those are some wonderful selections. Nice to know I’m not the only one who sees it as form of therapy. Thanks Les!


  4. I love Gardening Magazines too Racquel. I take Country Gardens (put out by BHAG) and Backyard Living. I buy Garden Shed and a few others ocassionally including Garden Gate. When I can’t be in the dirt, I get into my magazines! Have a great weekend!

    I’ve subscribed to those in the past too Linda. They are great selections. I find reading about gardening the next best thing to digging in the dirt too. Have a lovely weekend Linda!


  5. I too enjoy reading about gardening when I can’t get out in the yard. I have also suffered from depression, not an easy thing to overcome, it can be done! The people around here refer to my garden habits as a “sickness”! Funny huh!

    It is the next best thing to being able to get out in the garden & work! It isn’t an easy thing to overcome. It has gotten easier with the years to monitor my moods though. That is kind of funny, it is a healthy sickness though. 😉


  6. Good morning Racquel. I love reading about gardening too. I had always thought Horticulture was for plant geeks and too technical for me, but then I started subscribing and love it! I also really like Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. Backyard living is great too. Yup, I like them all!:)

    Good afternoon Tina! 🙂 It looks like alot of us have the common interest of reading about gardening too! It is such a great magazine, I don’t find it too technical or geeky at all. Fine Gardening is another great selection. I’ve never read Organic Gardening though. I’ll have to check it out.


  7. I tried “downsizing” by not renewing my subscriptions. However, I still find myself buying off the rack…which is more expensive unless you can find your selection at Sams Club (30% off). My favorite garden eye candy mag is BBC Illustrated Gardens…talk about $$$. I only cave in occasionally on that one as I have to get it from Barnes & Noble. Now…what to do with those STACKS of mags that I just can’t throw away. My garden room is overflowing! – Cameron

    I had to be practical and downsize to my favorites at the moment. That doesn’t mean I won’t be adding others in the future, lol. Buying off the rack is costly! I occasionally splurge on one or two though. Guilty! lol I’ve never read BBC Illustrated Gardens, sounds like an impressive periodical if it that much $$$! I used to recycle them but now I donate them to charities or my doctor’s office.


  8. I used to get Southern Living. Loved it but it has gotten way too expensive(in my opinion). I use to get Better Homes and Gardens too. That subscription just ran out. So, currently I’m not receiving any magazines. But I’m always checking the magazine aisle at Barnes and Noble. I usually look at books I have collected over the years. I have books on just perennials, annuals and books on designs and basically you name. You’ll love this, I have one that is nothing but lists! Yeah, even my books are more organized than me.) lol. Just in case your wondering, it will have lists like what good for shade or sun. What type of shrubs are evergreen? When I first saw this book, I thought okay, who would ever want that? Let me tell you it is a great book! So you keep your dahlia bulb in ground during winter? If yours do okay surely mine would. I may have to give that a try.

    I love Southern Living, but you’re right it has gotten costly. I always read that one at my Dr’s office free of charge, lol. I have quite a few garden books too. They are great resources for my blog posts too. That is too funny about the book about lists! 🙂 Perfect Plant Perfect Place by Roy Lancaster is similar showing what to plant in dry shade etc…It is my current favorite book. Yeah, I’ve never dug up my dahlias and they come back every year. Just make sure if you have wet winters to not plant them in an area that stays wet or they will rot.


  9. BH&G is one of my favorites too. I enjoy the gardening, home decorating and food articles. I’ve gotten some great decorating ideas from that magazine.

    It is a popular one among most gardeners I think. I love the variety of subjects too, the home decor ideas on a budget are great!


  10. …”There is something to be said for the mundane tasks of pulling weeds or deadheading”

    Much like my therapy of punching down dough 🙂 Great post!

    You have a great therapy too! lol Thanks Mom. 🙂


  11. I get Southern Living and Fine Gardening (which was a gift from a friend). My current favorite book is Time Tested Plants – Thirty Years in a Four-Season Garden by Pamela J. Harper. She gardens in Tidewater Virginia, and I am finding this book a wealth of information. It’s fun to read, too.

    You picked some great selections for reading material Kim! Thanks for stopping by today. 🙂


  12. I feel the same way you do Racquel although I took a break from gardening while going thru a bitter divorce. Big mistake. Gardening would have been just as therapeutic for that. Happy to be back into it again for the past seven years. I read a lot of the same magazines as you. You can never go wrong with any publication by BH&G’s. I love their Country Gardens magazine. I also love Country Living which has a mixture of articles. Since I’m an artist, another favorite is Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion magazine. Have a great weekend too!

    I think the gardening would of helped you through that difficult time in your life Kathleen. I’m glad you found your way back to your passion. We do have similar taste, I’ve subscribed to both Country Gardens & Country Living in the past. 🙂


  13. Gardening has been such a blessing to me also. There is just a peace you get when your outdoors working amongst the beds or even planning future projects. I have been getting Garden Gate for years, but my new love is Backyard Living and Country Gardens magazines. Just received my first Horticulture magazine. I have the mini green house and I love it!

    That is a great way to describe it Lona. It gives me a sense of peace to work with nature all around me. Backyard Living & Country Gardens are both magazines I’ve subscribed to in the past. Great choices! I just received my second issue of Horticulture, lol.


  14. I haven’t been gardening as long as you, Racquel, though I’m sure I’m quite a bit older:) But I agree it’s so much more than a hobby. The physical work is great exercise, plus the “mindless weeding and deadheading” is a way of working out frustrations as well as a chance just to think. And in the spring to hear the symphony of birds and the fresh breeze on your face while you are working is heaven!
    I’ve subscribed to Better Homes and Gardens for years; I don’t care for their recipes so much anymore nor their taste in decorating, but I keep subscribing to be able to read all the gardening articles. I also subscribe to Midwest Living, which isn’t really a gardening magazine, but they often have articles on Midwest gardens, including “destination” gardens to visit. Thanks for the tip on Garden Gate–I received a free issue and was debating about subscribing to it. I think I’ll check it out.

    Gardening is good for the mind, body & spirit. I started gardening early after watching my grandma garden while growing up. It is our common ground. I love the gardening articles in BHG and some of their decor tips are good too. I haven’t really tried their recipes since cooking isn’t my thing. 😉 Glad I could give you the tip on Garden Gate. I really enjoy it.


  15. Hi Racquel,
    One of my favorites is Garden Gart also. I like everything about the magazine…the paper they use, no advertisements and lots of tips and articles in a timely fashion for the year in gardening.

    It really is a great magazine. I like the lack of ads too. It means more bang for the buck!


  16. Posted by greenwalks on November 7, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Sorry to hear about your struggles with depression, but glad to hear that gardening helps! I agree completely – weeding and other boring gardening tasks can be so satisfying and therapeutic. I love books by Valerie Easton and Ann Lovejoy, don’t subscribe to any mags at the moment but Sunset is fun if you live in the Western part of the country. Have a good weekend (hopefully in the garden)!

    Thanks Karen. Gardening really does heal the spirit. You can have a bad day and five minutes in the garden just melts the stress away. 🙂 I have several gardening books as well. My favorite at the moment is Perfect Plant Perfect Place by Roy Lancaster. Have a good weekend ! It is finally drying up out there so maybe I will get some stuff done. 🙂


  17. Tell you what, by far the best magazine is Horticulture, I have a 2 year subscription with them. I found mine sort of the same way that you found yours, in the library, and fell in love right away. But, some of the magazines that I subscribe to are… Birds and Blooms, Backyard Garden, and Horticulture.
    What I often do with my extra magazines, that is when I am forced to get rid of them, is bring them to the library. Who knows, maybe someone else will find that magazine that they can’t live without just as I did.

    It is new favorite magazine at the moment Zach. I’ve subscribed to Birds & Blooms and Backyard Gardens in the past. They are great selections too! I donate my to charity or dr offices. But the library is a good way to pass them on too. Good idea!


  18. Hi Racquel, I completely agree that gardening can get you through the tough times in life. It sure helped me during those times and there have been plenty. I used to take so many magazines, home and gardening topics but have scaled back to Horticulture, the first one I took which forced me to learn the botanical names, then Fine Gardening and just recently English Gardening. For books I love anything by Henry Mitchell, a series of newpaper columns that are funny and educational too. Read one story each night at bedtime to plant the seed of gardening in your brain as you fall asleep. It works! -Frances

    I think we all have hardships in life Frances. It’s nice to have something that destresses us and refreshes our spirit. Fine Gardening is another great one, I’ve read it at my dr’s office. We have a great local gardening column here that I adore. Very good tip, thanks.


  19. Racquel,

    Gardening sustains me; it is where I go to meditate…into the garden. It is a physical and spiritual lift. I have every Fine Gardening Magazine since the first issue! It’s the only magazine I still subscribe to…On and off I read Horticulture, generally a good magazine…but I love garden books. I re-read Elizabeth Lawrence and all the books I can on native plants of Tennessee and Eastern USA…I do grow prairie plants and read about them, too. If I come across an interesting plant I will search the internet and learn about it! Occasionally a Midwest Magazine or Sunset Magazine falls into my hands and is a great read! Gail

    That’s how I feel about gardening too Gail. It sustains me. Very well put! I have a variety of Sunset magazines that I picked up at a thrift store recently. They are very well written. I’ve recently gotten quite interested in Native plants for my area & added quite a few over the past year. 🙂


  20. Posted by dpnguyen on November 7, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Racquel- Gardening has been therapeutic for me as well. There is something so relaxing and wonderful about it.

    Hi DP, it is a great stress reliever. 🙂


  21. Racquel- Gardening is great therapy for depression. I had gardens for several years while I suffered from depression but it never really got out of hand until I wasn’t able to garden anymore due to a move. Things snowballed from there. It’s been a crazy ride, that’s for sure!

    Hi Cinj. I hope everything is starting to fall back into place for you now. Gardening got me through some tough times in my life & luckily I had a garden through the worse of it to distract me.


  22. I love reading garden books that have a personal touch, like the ones that tell how someone came to be a gardener. I also read “Horticulture” magazine and “The American Gardener.” The latter is free with membership in the American Horticulture Society. Gardening is also therapy for me. I LOVE weeding and deadheading! When I step into my gardens, I can almost feel myself relaxing.

    It is nice to discover what attracts others to gardening. For me it was watching my grandmother garden while I was growing up. It just seemed like a natural hobby to take on. I’ve never read the American Gardener, what a nice perk to the membership. That’s how I feel too Kylee, I can feel the stress & tension leaving my body when I garden.


  23. I just love the gardening zone–the place you go where your mind is free and happy, engrossed in the task. Gardening has always been so much more than a hobby for me as well. More than just plants, it’s a process and a preoccupation and a happy head space!

    You hit the bulleyes with this comment. That is exactly how I feel too. Sometimes hard to put into words for non-gardeners though.


  24. Hi Raquel, I also find peace in the garden. A place to go to clear my mind and enjoy wildlife and beautiful flowers.
    I have been taking Home and Gardens Magazine for years! I also like Fine Gardening too. Lots of great ideas and tips.
    Have a great weekend!

    I’m glad your garden gives you the same peace & tranquilty that mine always has too. Magazines inspire me to go above & beyond in gardening. 🙂 Have a great weekend Ann!


  25. Great post! I love the magazines you mention. Also Garden Design and Birds and Blooms. Some garden books that I enjoy include: A Blessing of Toads by Sharon Lovejoy
    Glorious Gardens by Jaqueline Heriteau and any book by Beverly Nichols.

    Thanks Anne! I’ve subscribed to Garden Design & Birds and Blooms in the past too. Both are fantastic periodicals. I will have to check out the books you mentioned. I love to read.


  26. I too have suffered depression most of my life. I’ve been on medication for the last 25. But gardening has become my mantra and my best friend. It is where I create memorial gardens for lost loved ones. Pulling weeds, yes, is a thoughtless act, but necessary for the soul to soothe itself. I find myself lost in reverie out in the gardens, contemplating life. And embracing all that grows in nature. Better Homes & Gardens is an all around favorite. Southern Living comes to the mailbox too. But I pick up others at the supermarket that catch my eye!

    Brenda-Then you know exactly what I’m saying about it being my therapy. I haven’t been on meds for years now. I was on them in my late 20’s & early 30’s. Of course I do have to monitor myself and occassionally go to talk therapy if I’m having a rough period. The garden has become my santuary from the storm. Nothing refreshes my spirit like the time I spend absorbing the sounds & sights of nature all around me. Southern Living is another great one. I’ve never subscribed to it but read for free at my dr’s office. 🙂


  27. Garden Gate is one of my favorites.
    I feel gardening is a gateway to peace of mind.

    It is a nice magazine & the lack of ads is a plus! I agree completely, that’s how I feel too. Thanks for stopping by today Patsi. 🙂


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