Newsstand: Not everything in the garden is rosy
Tuesday 30 September 1997
Dig is an American production, derived from a paper publication - a "bi- monthly home and garden diversions magazine for the gardener in everyone. Dig magazine is printed on recycled newsprint using vegetable inks."
Sounds as if it may look better on the Web. It certainly looks good. It has a classy design, with abundant Arial Black type (provided you view it on a PC) and a layout carefully crafted in Microsoft Frontpage. As far as I could establish, the whole magazine is available on the Web, with the alternative of Acrobat PDF format if you want a replica of the newsprint original.
I'm not sure whether gardening here is very different from gardening in the States, but the culture gap would appear to be the usual yawning one. In an article on saving seeds - which in Britain would doubtless be geared to saving pennies - we're told that "growing and saving seeds could provide a new challenge as well as a feeling of security". Still, lots of nutritious information follows, at least to my untrained eye.
Another piece reveals the wonders of the tomatillo, a Mexican relative of the tomato. "Its texture is firmer than a tomato and it tastes like a tangy lemon. On the outside, the two-inch-sized vegetable is bright green. Growing tomatilloes is like growing tomatoes, only easier." Sounds like a laugh.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic culture gap, there's a piece on "Digging up a better body", a major preoccupation of British gardeners, I'm sure. "For a stair machine, try the back of a shovel or a spading fork," says Dig. "A little shovelling will do wonders for your thighs. Those who prefer weightlifting can pump shrubbery and stones instead of iron. Runners and treadmill types can push wheelbarrows around the yard for others to load or unload." Others with stronger backs, I presume.
So where do we go if we want gardening stuff more in tune with herbaceous borders and velvet-smooth lawns? There's no shortage of commercially sponsored sites from garden centres, garden designers, etc, but not much else.
Gardening With Greenfingers is a UK Webzine which has now gone subscription- only, although there are five good-looking issues from last winter available for download in the archive. It's part of an interesting venture called the Internet Garden, where good non-commercial sites are promoted through a structured menu of links pages. Click on Rose Garden, for example, and you get to lots of picturesque, bloom-filled sites.
For reasons I can't guess at, Electronic Yellow Pages runs a series of Guide sites including Gardening Guide - and jolly useful it seemed to be, at first. I'm under some pressure from the kids to install a pond ("Grandad has one, and it has frogs in it") and lo, there is a section devoted to just that.
But what does it tell me?
"Make sure you buy enough [flexible liner] for the pond you're planning." Or "Fish add interest - ask for advice on how many will survive in your size of pond."
Throughout these advice pages, good stuff is diluted by that kind of drivel. Did you know that you shouldn't really park on lawns, especially in wet weather?
In principle, the most valuable element is the Plant Planner, which turns out to be separately hosted by a branch of Cable and Wireless. But my attempt to find out what hedge to plant didn't get me far: the only purposes I'm allowed are Attracting Butterflies, For a Visual Impact, Fruits & Berries and Scent. What about Blocking Out the Pub Car Park?
The Internet Garden
EYP Gardening Guide
Videotron Plant Planner
There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turningTV
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 iOS 8 apps and features: eight iPhone settings you need to look at after you install the update
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Cilla, episode 2, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith continues to shine as the young singer
Downton Abbey series 5, episode 1, ITV, review: There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning
Foo Fighters: Live 2015 tour dates announced for Sonic Highways
Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned PR disaster
Top Gear to launch in France after Jeremy Clarkson banned from driving on roads
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God