Last year ! finally subscribed to Gardens Illustrated, a UK garden magazine that I could sometimes find at my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. But it was always a hit or miss experience trying to get the current issue before it sold out. European magazines arrive here on a different schedule and it always drove me crazy hearing about the latest issue when I could not find it to buy. Individual issues now cost $9.99 so a subscription offers a better price though it's still not cheap. But I usually feel it's well worth the price.
The articles are interesting, informative and more quirky than American gardening publications. The photos are always superb and the large size of the magazine is another plus. I had a subscription to the latest iteration of Garden Design magazine which is certainly a beautiful and well-written publication. But the proportion of articles about very large, professionally designed garden or about plants I could not grow in my climate was a deal breaker when it was time to renew.
Even though Gardens Illustrated certainly features many things I can't grow, there are more stories about hands-on gardeners who garden in a wide array of styles and different size spaces. It all seems geared to readers who are also hands-on. The only real downside to the magazine is it comes a month late. Thus my February issue arrived on March 8. I am always counting the days till it hits my mailbox. But no matter when it arrives, it's never to late to excite me.
The March issue is the annual one that features a famed gardener offering their top 100 plants. This time it's Rosemary Alexander with "100 Plants for an English Country Garden." Last year I wrote a long rant about this issue of the magazine and the whole concept of plant lists. I'm in favor of them as they really make you think about what you grow in your own garden and why. As for Alexander's favorites, I'm growing 13 of the exact plants she likes and serendipitously have another 3 on order.
Alexander also likes a few plants that I've grown and discarded over the years and I'm growing a number of plants in the same family as ones she recommends just not the exact variety she likes. For example, No. 99 on her list is Trillium chloropetalum. She points out that Trilliums are "a fairly new obsession" of hers. They are a long time obsession of mine, however. I've thought about growing her T. chloropetalum but it's a Zone 6 plant and I haven't wanted to chance it as a Z5 gardener.
But I am growing many other Trillium varieties as you can see here. My sessile Trilliums (2nd photo from the top) are so happy in my garden that they increase almost like a weed. The Great White Trillium (T. grandiflorum) was in the garden when we bought the house in 1994 and I've no idea of its age. Last year I added T. Albidum (above, Wiki photo) and the year before I planted the double flowered T. grandiflorum flore pleno. All in all I think my choices stack up rather well against Alexander's. Maybe next year the magazine will want to feature 100 plants for an American urban garden! I'll be happy to give them my list.