Fine Gardening is a magazine packed with information for the serious and sophisticated gardener. It's articles and departments provide careful consideration of aesthetics and design. There can be found in one issue a range of ideas to adapt to the skill level of the gardener. For the beginner there is instruction on designing container gardens for the summer or for the serious garden architect there is detailed instruction on building waterfalls.
For those who just love to drool, a multitude of pictures are provided within each issue. One can imagine planting a jungle and completely transforming one's front yard with articles such as "Front Yard Gardens Make a Strong First Impression." The magazine presents a wide variety of gardening styles to choose from, natural, cottage and more formal designs.
Each edition is broken down between Departments, the monthly columns and articles which vary from edition to edition. Departments include Tips, Garden Architecture, Working Gardener, Praiseworthy plants. Basic, Container Gardens, Master Class, Reviews, and Q & A. The departments are packed with information for the serious and neophyte gardener. A recent issue had information on such issues as solar greenhouses the fertilizing benefits of a thundershower, composts, pests, pronunciation of Latin names and garden follies.
Each edition abounds with interesting and creative articles for the reader. Counting the articles in a recent edition revealed that there were nine articles which provided detailed information, lovely photographs and garden diagrams. They range from information about Fritillaries, old roses, building rustic garden structures, adding purple to the garden, circular elements, designing outdoor places to entertain. and evergreen hollies.
If you are serious about gardening or if you are just beginning and want an instructional tool that is tasteful and informative this is a magazine for you.
I love, Love, LOVE this magazine. It is the perfect combination of technique, design, and inspiration every issue. If you are a beginning gardener, you cannot do much better than study this magazine. If you are an experienced gardener, you will learn something new every issue.
This is one of the few gardening magazines that covers the US West -- it is different out here, and they know it. It is rare that you will read in any of their articles, "If it has not rained this week..." which is always a sign to Californians that the article does not apply to us.
One of my favorite features is the semi-regular tool essays. It must be a guy thing, but I really enjoy their tool expert explain the proper way to use a tool. Since I started paying attention to his advice, my back has stopped aching so much at the end of a garden day, I know how to keep my shovels sharp (you would not believe what a difference this makes), and I gave away the leaf blower -- there is a real peacefulness to raking leaves that you will never achieve with the Devil's hair dryer.
However, I think the best feature is the tips from other readers. I have learned so many clever things from other gardeners volunteering their suggestions -- one person suggested putting vegetable scraps in a blender jar (it's airtight, so it won't smell) and when it is full, just whizz the stuff and pour onto the compost hear. That tip alone has paid off in my compost pile being active year round. I turn to this section first every time.
It is a great magazine, you won't regret subscribing.
I do landscape design and landscape maintenance professionally, and this is the only magazine I'd recommend to clients. As another reviewer noted, The American Gardener is also a fine publication if you are very serious about plants, but for most readers, Fine Gardening best walks the line between accessability and having great information.
I have been a subscriber for eight years and have kept every issue. The information on the spine is clear and so you can easily find that elusive article you remembered and wanted to refer to, without pulling out every issue and having to look at the cover.
As a professional, I find the in-depth articles on different kinds of plants really helpful. It is neat to focus on say, all the different kinds of Forsythias around, so you can really compare the varieties available and know all of your options if you would like to plant one. They usually have six or more photos of the different varieties, with each photo highlighting an important aspect of the plant's habit, foliage, or bloom, plus a few photos of the plants used in a garden, so you can see what kinds of textures and colors the plant works with.
The articles on landscape design are by well-respected professionals and offer a wonderful balance of intellectually interesting discussion and gorgeous photos. They don't always tell us exactly which plant is which in each photo, so that would be a drawback to the new gardener who isn't familiar with a number of plants, but they usually only neglect to name the plants when the photo is trying to illustrate a design concept. I think they find a good balance between urban gardening/ gardening in small spaces, and gardening in a more country or spacious setting.
They also have articles on seasonal care (and as a reader for eight years, I haven't found any articles that are overlap or repeats), articles on broader topics like groundovers for shade or grasses in the garden (in which they usually include a large and useful list of plants, organized by foliage and flower color, size, sun needs, zone, etc), and profiles on the latest tools, books and other gardening needs.
I have read a lot of gardening magazines over the years and Fine Gardening is by far the best. The language is simple yet the ideas are not dumbed down. Most other magazines have huge amounts of distracting advertisements, and Fine Gardening's are related to gardening, useful, and not too prolific.
I really have nothing bad to say about this magazine except perhaps that I wish it was cheaper. That being said, I still purchase it regardless of the price. The 3 year subscription price is quite good.
This magazine is a great combination of what I think a gardening magazine should be: great photos, great ideas, great instruction.
Whatever skill level you have -- avid gardener to willing accomplice -- Fine Gardening is a good reference and source of inspiration. From the attractive photography and appealing design to informative content, Fine Gardening packs a lot of useful information in a manner that both beginners and experts can enjoy.
I have enjoyed Fine Gardening for a year so gave it to myself for Christmas. It's helpful to re-read past magazines as something new pops out to me each time. Great to keep for reference.
Fine Gardening lives up to its title. The features and information are outstanding--the kind of thing you want to hold on to for future reference. The photography is also excellent, and again, you'll want the photos for future ideas. The only reason why I did not give the magazine 5 stars is the enormous amount of advertising in it. One would think that a magazine as expensive as this one would not need to have so much advertising, but there is enough for it to be quite a distraction. Nevertheless, if you garden or even plan to, you might want to pick up an issue or suggest that this would be a good gift for you.
I read all the reviews especially the earlier ones saying how wonderful the expert advice is. It must have changed since those reviews were written. I started receiving editions a few months ago.
The photos are still beautiful and it has good tips from users; but I found errors that even I recognize and I am no expert. Wrong names for plants, misspellings... but what disappoints me the most is the content seems to be 'crowd sourced,' largely from readers and not so much from experts.
I want to learn about plants that I didn't know about for different seasons and conditions, so I was surprised that it did not have a section for plants that are in season for the West (California), but covers the rest of the country in some detail: Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Southern Plains, Northern Plains, Mid-West, Southeast, Northeast. What happened to West and Northwest?
I found the ads interesting and they give me ideas to decorate my garden elegantly, although having checked some of the vendors, their prices seem high. Maybe they're targeting designers?