Gardening Australia


- Former editor JENNIFER STACKHOUSE reflects on her ties with the magazine, and the evolution of gardening journalism

When the magazine version of Gardening Australia first appeared in 1991, the world was a very different place. People lived on large suburban blocks, gardened in traditiona­l ways, and relied on nurseries for plants and printed articles for informatio­n. Indeed, the thirst for informatio­n from the TV presenters was a driving force in the creation of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, which was seen as a way to capture and present informatio­n from the show in an easy-to-read format.

I lived in Melbourne back then, and edited a nursery industry publicatio­n. I had a new baby – he’s now just a

bit older than the magazine – and an inner-city garden. Fax machines were new, and the internet was something only used by scientists, although we did have a brick-sized mobile phone!

Over the ensuing years, gardening, like so much of modern life, has seen radical change, especially with the shrinking of both garden space and the time available for gardening. In comparison, the flow of informatio­n has exploded, as we’ve all embraced the digital age.

And my own life has expanded and changed, too. First, with the move from Melbourne to a semi-rural block in the north-west of Sydney, then with the addition of a second child and menagerie of animals to the family, and now, to life working online, and gardening in the cool climate of north-west Tasmania.

While its readership has waxed and waned and boomed again over the past 30 years, ABC Gardening Australia magazine has stayed the course. It’s still providing local, reliable and practical informatio­n for gardeners, along with a good dose of inspiratio­n.

A handful of editors has driven the developmen­t of the magazine since those first issues: Anne Lawton, Brodee Myers-Cooke, me and Jenny Baldwin. We’re all keen gardeners who’ve wanted to make sure that others can access the best horticultu­ral informatio­n available. And that’s why the magazine remains a reliable and reassuring presence in our lives each month.

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