Flower Magazine Gets It Right


Flowermag1.  A regular feature called Mimi’s Mechanics in which a florist gives step-by-step instructions for a somewhat involved seasonal floral arrangement. Useful for both florists and gardeFlowermag2ners.


2.  Reviews of flower and garden shows.  I think these kinds of events should be covered in flower and garden magazines.  The articles are a little too rah-rah for my taste, but hey, if they start ranting, what does that leave for us to do?


3.  A fashion feature about floral prints.  OK, I know a lot of you are going to disagree with me on this one.  But I’m talking about bringing it all together, floral-wise, and to me that includes art, music, literature, food, travel,
and even stuff. Floral prints on china.  Floral fragrances.  And yes, floral printed dresses.  I’m in jeans and a t-shirt right now, but I’m a sucker for a hip floral print.  Another example, also found in this issue:  a cake decorator who does incredibly realistic edible cake decorations that look EXACTLY like real flowers.  I mean EXACTLY.  Frivolous, yes, but amazing.
4.  A nice article on sustainable flower gardening with a focus on growing chemical-free roses. 

5.  A sweet little article on tussie-mussies and the language of flowers–again, a nice cross-section of literature, culture, history, and Flowermag5
how-to.  Useful for florists, gardeners, flower lovers.

6.  A celeb interview with singer Kathy Mattea. This is something I think is seriously missing from garden and flower media.  Again, I know some of you will disagree with me here, and I’m not saying we ought to be celeb-obsessed, but when someone who is interesting in theFlowermag6 culture in some other way is also a gardener or a flower lover, let’s make that connection.  (Does Stephen Colbert have a garden? I’d like to know!)

7.  And now for a couple things I think they could do better.  There’s Flowermag7
always a wedding (this issue had two wedding features), which I guess is of interest to florists and brides, but with so many wedding magazines out there, is it really necessary to do more of this?  I’m willing to put up with it, but the layouts are always so cluttered that it looks as though they were designed to please a demanding bride, not the reader.

8.  Also:  These photos of people at events standing around with drinks in their hands smiling at theFlowermag8 camera?  Interesting only to the people in the photos.  It’s clearly of no use to the reader at all, and
it makes me feel like I’m reading someone else’s society pages (not that I read my own society pages).  Fortunately, Flower seems to do less and less of this all the time, but it’s time for a complete ban on this type of photo. Show us interesting people doing interesting things, but no more group shots of well-heeled guests smiling at the camera, please!

Whew.  It’s hard work reviewing a magazine!  I didn’t even get to the profiles of individual flowers (with both growing tips and floral arranging tips) and the front-of-the-book stuff like book reviews, product round-ups (vases, floral jewelry, whatever), and garden essays and profiles.  Check it out–it’s a magazine worth paying attention to. 


  1. Thanks for the heads up on that new magazine. I have never heard of it prior to your review. It is early in the morning and now, after checking out the cake site, I am craving a nice, buttery piece of cake! They are works of art.

  2. I have to disagree with this one.
    Florists and gardeners often do not cross paths. I feel it is best to leave some unit of separation between the distinct disciplines when it comes to the floriculture vs horticulture business.

    They are two disticnct professions with different operating motives from the start.
    I do not like this blending of the hort industry being thrust upon us. Some of us are lawn experts, others herbalists, and others florists.

    To be taken to the extreme I would not want my florist suggesting an herb to stop a hangover. Nor would I want a funeral full of herbal wreaths instead of flowers.

    On the other hand the industry and universities have done a poor job readying students and graduates for the hort/floral industry. I mean hort students still graduate in late spring…AFTER planting season is amost over and all the good positions taken. We retail managers suffer graetly because the need for entry level and experienced workers is open in April not late May.

    So as a whole the industry suffers because of academia. As well advanced training for seasoned professioanls is almost nil. I cannot tell you how many seminars I have been to telling you how to beat the boxes, heat up summer sales etc. etc. The same old thing……..

    For instance: all you hort marketing gurus you blew it. Where was the industry this year pushing the advantage to health, economy and environment by telling the public to stay home and vaction in their garden. All the good veggies, herbs, cut flowers etc that could be grown in the home garden and all the benefits it would create were missed by these so called marketing experts.

    The industry needs a united marketing stance exploiting all aspects of the flori/horticulture lifestyle.
    We have had enogh of garden homes, outdoor rooms, deck living,etc. Let’s promote the garden lifestyle all together as one package.

    We have enough prople telling individual gc operators how to operate. How about a united industry wide effort? Even the KIWI fruit has it’s own marketing council.

    The (should have been a politician) TROLL

  3. Greg raised several good points, but I’m not caffeinated enough to expand on them right now. Maybe later.

    Besides that, I definitely want to check this one out. Thanks for telling us about it, Amy.

  4. Amy, this is the first time I’ve seen the much-needed criticism of those gawd-awful donors-at-function photos. At Vanity Fair, an otherwise good magazine, they’re in full multi-page glory and surely a turn-off to most of their readers, not just you and me.

  5. I had no idea that this magazine existed.
    If I saw it on the library shelf I would pick it up and peruse it but doubt it would hold enough interest for me to purchase a subscription.

    It seems to me that there is an inter-connectiveness with horticulture, floriculture, agriculture , culture in general as well as architecture and the arts.
    To cover it all in one monthly magazine would take a pretty big and diverse staff, – something that is pretty challenging to have in these economic tough times.
    I think some other magazines do a pretty good job on this such as Sunset magazine and to a lesser degree, Garden Design.
    I wish any new business venture success, especially if this venture is in magazine publishing which is notoriously difficult.

    P.S. – If this magazine has done an article on the Belgium florist Daniel Ost, I probably would buy the issue just for the shear inspiration.
    This guy takes floral arranging to a completely different level.

  6. As an academic and a horticulturist who teaches a diverse group of courses – floriculture, herbaceous landscape plant i.d., greenhouse mgt., public gardening, etc. – this disconnectedness you speak of is one of my pet peeves with our business and I’m always trying to bridge the gap. I give a lot of talks to Master Gardeners and other gardening groups; I’m always trying to bring the “grower” perspective into the discussion and it’s usually very well received. When I speak to industry groups, I don’t get the impression they’re tremendously interested in what gardeners are actually up to (gross generalization, but true). There are a few forums for interaction such as the (very cool) “consumer buzz” panels sponsored by GrowerTalks – it’s like a standoff of two species…the consumers on stage and the production folks in the audience. Always fascinating for both sides!
    p.s. Greg, I’m not sure how we can buck the university schedule by releasing grads in time for the spring rush, sorry…this makes getting really useful internship experiences tough for the production/floral students, too.

  7. Gosh, Holly & Greg…. I think the really good industry associations out there are making strides to connect with the gardener and society. Here’s an example — for the sake of transparency, it’s from the association I both belong to and work for and with.

    Out here in British Columbia, we were blessed with an association director who put tremendous weight on the need for “industry” to work with municipalities, communities, master gardeners, and learn what it takes to be trustworthy, socially responsible, good educators, and good listeners. While not everyone out here ascribes to the above code, it has caught on very well.

    As a result, we worked with a local public gardening magazine publisher, GardenWise, to co-operatively produce a new annual Healthy Garden Guide issue. Really remarkable — loads of info about healthy gardening practices and the environment, written by master gardeners, people involved in community gardening projects, our local institute for sustainable horticulture, and yes, some industry professionals. A good balance of people out there doing “good gardening” and notat all weighted in industry’s favour.

    The result was a very well received, free public resource magazine that is clearly cooperative, balanced, environmentally conscious, and useful for gardeners. Supported financially, by in large, by industry. Or at least industry people who know that their passion needs to be sustainable, interactive, responsible, and conscious of the world in which it operates.

    Kinda neato, I think.

    RE: Education of hort students, we’re still having a tough time with that, for sure. Just lost a local college’s hort program. Apprenticeship programs are slowly gaining strength which allow for off-season book learning and hands-on springs. Dilemma is, not enough high school students think that “gardening” might be a career path. Case in point: two young MBA students came into our office one day and announced they were “landscapers” for the summer, wanting ways to promote their “business”. When asked what experience they had, the response was “I cut my dad’s grass and trimmed up his trees into nice balls cuz they were growing wacky all over the place”. *cringe* Clearly, no value in horticultural education. Perception is that anybody can do it, no biggie. Hence bad landscapers. If we could start young and put value on the marvel of gardens, gardening, and growing, we might have a better shot…. and “industry” would have a better product.

    Wow. I’m ranting. AND off topic.

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