Magazines and the New Media:
Two Success Stories


Organic Gardening Debates GMO Tomorrowtable

OG Mag tackled the hot and juicy topic of genetically modified plants, that specter of science run amok that has so many of us worried, with arguments pro and con by the authors of Tomorrow’s Table.  In a cool publishing move, the book is the joint effort of a plant geneticist and an organic farmer, who happen to be married so presumably have found some common ground, at least so they’re not going to bed angry every night.   

Now despite OG having campaigned to prohibit genetically
engineered crops from being certified as organic, editor Scott Meyer decided to have the authors lay out their positions in the Nov-Jan issue "because
biotechnology is impacting our food system and we believe organic
principles can be protected where it matters most only by understanding
the nuances of scientific opinion."  Intellectual openness?  Yeah, I vaguely remember what that looks like.

So it’s kind of a Point-Counterpoint, without the "Jane, you ignorant slut." 

And now we can all join in the brawl because the authors and Scott are conducting a live forum this Thursday night –  November 13 from 9-11 pm EST.

I’ll confess that I’ve never actually participated in a live forum before, so
Scott had to walk me through this a bit.  But it looks easy even to me, and open to all at no charge – just register so they’ll
know who you are.  Then go to their forums page here and choose "OG Watchdogs."  I’ll be online with Scott and the GMO experts – join us!

(One example of GMO technology that’s hard to hate is the development of turfgrass that grows to the right height and stops growing.  Carol of May Dreams Gardens covered it for us in "No-Mow Grass".)

AHS does Webinars

Well, this IS impressive!  This year the American Horticulture Society has been offering its members FREE webinars with big-ticket gardening speakers.  How it works is surprisingly simple: members register, then log on at the appointed time and watch and hear live PowerPoint presenBurrell_ctations by gardening experts like Tracy diSabato-Aust, Dan Hinkley, William Cullina and Colston Burrell, without having to leave the comforts of home.  They can even submit questions in real-time for the expert. 

I recently heard and viewed Colston Burrell’s talk about "Design and Plants for the Woodland Garden" and was totally inspired!  And I was happy to learn he’s a soul-mate, preaching everything I preach.  Like emulating the natural layers at the end of woodlands, the design principle I follow myself – and that you don’t have to literally be on the edge of a forest to do it.  (Plant two or three garden-size trees as your back layer.)  He promotes regrading to create "land forms," and big drifts, of course, for impact. 

And Burrell totally gets the connection between a garden and nature – that it resembles but does not copy it exactly.  "A garden is a cultural construct.  It’s not just wild nature.  Otherwise we wouldn’t call it a garden." He’s the type of native plant enthusiast who still loves well-adapted and gorgeous nonnatives that complement them – like Japanese maples mixed in with dogwoods.  He also touts the importance of pathways, seating, painted walls, and art in the garden.  Finally, he loves rustic things and suggests we relax about perfection, since "Martha’s not coming."

All these good ideas were accompanied by glorious visuals, (though on my monitor they were seriously grainy, I’m afraid), including his very own rustic-looking deer fence made from tree and shrub prunings.  I’m determined to visit him and his stunning Virginia garden next spring.

For more about Cole, a book search yields 29 hits.  And here’s a brief bio.

More webinars are coming in 2009.  Watch the AHS website or subsequent issues of The American Gardener for details.


  1. Lordy, I had forgotten, “Jane, you ignorant slut.” Laughed out loud just now, I did.

    The argument about GMO is complex, and it will be nice to hear discourse from both sides about it…

  2. But what I’m really curious about is his rustic looking deer fence. Can we have a picture of that? I want to see, I want to see! Where can I see it? I need one I’m sure.

  3. I’m signed up for the OG forum as well—I can’t wait. It should be really interesting.

    Thanks for the reminder about the AHS webinars, too. I’m looking forward to their 2009 offerings.

  4. Cole Burrell’s garden is quite the splendiferous abundance in the Spring–seeing the cypripedium kentuckiense is alone worth the trip–really beautiful.

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