valentines dayToo much candy? Why is she writing about this in her garden blog? You can blame it on an article I read on garden writing, Garden Photographs – some problems. And while I am not a big fan of ranting about garden topics, occasionally I read something that resonates with some underground opinion of my own. This essay on today's method of garden writing, which is rampant in garden magazine publications and has spread into garden blogging, is one of those.

I love pretty pictures as much -and maybe more- than the next guy, just like I love chocolate. The finer the chocolate the better I like it, but too much chocolate is probably not such a good thing for me, and the proliferation of pretty picture gardening advice probably isn't in the best interest of gardening either. We all like stylists, and the imaginary worlds they conjure up for us  - it is escapist fare that helps us dream and envision. But there are rude awakenings if we don't match those utopian gardens and plants up with a little nitty gritty "truth in gardening" advice.

I'll quote you a bit of the opinions and you can go read the entire essay, and maybe peruse a bit of English garden ranting in other articles at

"Awards are given to gardens on the basis of pictures of them and the common description of garden magazines as ‘garden porn’ tells its own story."

"Professional photographers know what their editors want, and they serve it up again and again. Thus few garden photos convey a personal point of view"

"much of the eye-candy that magazines at present offer their readers are attractive pictures taken in a garden, not of a garden; typical of this kind are the close-up’s of flowers with a bee collecting pollen, or a drop of dew clinging to a petal. These may be beautiful images but they tell us nothing about the garden in which the picture was shot."

" all these pretty garden photos seem to exercise a malign influence on those who are making gardens; too easily they forget they are place makers, the title ‘Capability Brown proudly gave himself, not exterior decorators."

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© 2012 written for Ilona's Garden Journal. An excellent blog.

About Ilona Erwin

Blogging since 2003, writing about a lifelong love of gardening since 1998, I am now surprised to find myself extending into photography and creating digital art! I find it hard to pick a favorite plant or style, I love them all.
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