Publishers Weekly sees upsurge in gardening among the young


Here’s a nice long look at the question we’re always asking:  Is gardening on the up or the downswing? And it seems that PW takes the National Gardening Association’s assertions about gardening’s popularity at face value, unlike Rant readers, who tend to dismiss it as hype because the NGA counts people who mow their lawn as "gardeners".

But moving on, all the gardening publishers weigh in with their strategies and – no surprise – the primary focus is appealing to those Internet-savvy young folks.

Bonus items:  Domino Magazine is mentioned, and in a good way (cue Michele), and Jeff Gillman gives a nice plug for GardenRant and Cold Climate Gardening.  (Thanks!)

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Susan Harris

Susan’s a garden writer, teacher and activist in the Washington, D.C. area. Co-founder of GardenRant, she also wrote for national gardening magazines and independent garden centers before retiring in 2014. Now she has time for these projects:

  • Founding and now managing the pro-science educational nonprofit GOOD GARDENING VIDEOS that finds and promotes the best videos on YouTube for teaching people to garden.
  • Creating and managing DC GARDENS, the nonprofit campaign to promote the public gardens of the Washington, D.C. area, and gardening by locals.
  • Creating and editing the community website GREENBELT ONLINE to serve her adopted hometown of Greenbelt, Maryland (a “New Deal Utopia” founded in 1937).
  • Also in Greenbelt, MD, writing the e-newsletter and serving on the Board of Directors for the cooperatively-owned music and arts venue and restaurant called the NEW DEAL CAFE.

Contact Susan via email or by leaving a comment here.

Photo by Stephen Brown.


  1. Well, I’m 31 and have been gardening since I was 23. Nobody in my family gardens and so it is a complete mystery as to where I got the bug… but the older I get the bigger the bug gets! I am 100% organic, my favorite part of summer is going outside with a basket and a knife about an hour before supper and picking my own fresh produce to use in my sunny kitchen. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  2. I’m 27 and I’ve been vegetable gardening my whole life, first with my mom and then on my own. But I see so many people my age who are beginning to garden for the first time and they are coming to it through the local food movement. They shop at farmer’s markets and eat at restaurants that offer seasonal menus, and it seems to me the light bulb finally goes off that they could grow some of this food themselves. And I am completely thrilled by that!

  3. Maybe because we’re also young we attract other young people–but Kelly and I have loads of other young’uns on our blog roll. And they’re not just mowing their lawns! In fact, I think most of them have ripped their lawns out in favor of veg.

  4. My front lawn WOULD be all veggie garden… unfortunately it belongs to hubby, who would prefer “lawn” though I am arguing for creeping thyme. It would permit fewer weeds, would need less trimming, and would smell wonderful when stepped on. Oh well. I get the backyard, and many many young creeping thyme plants are being started for that.

  5. I’ve always figured gardening started with home ownership. It did for me anyway. I’d always had house plants and did some non-committal gardening when I was renting (hanging baskets, trimming back a few overgrown things, etc.).

    It wasn’t until I bought my first house and was presented with a blank canvass that I started gardening by way of planning, thinking about what I was purchasing and starting to look at and read gardening magazines & books. I’ve got to think it’s the same for a large number of folks out there.

    Is there a way to find out average ages of first-time home owners and the age when the gardening gene kicks in?

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