Garden Magazines- Be Careful What You Wish For

We receive several design and garden magazines in the office (Sunset, Pacific Horticulture, Horticulture, Garden Design, Landscape Architecture and Fine Gardening just to name a few) They are great places to get ideas and see what is new and avante garde in terms of plants and hardscape features.

After reading through this month’s Sunset and looking at some of the Beautiful garden samples, a reoccurring thought struck me- the garden I was looking at in the photographs probably only looks this good 15 days out of the year.

This is a good thing to watch for when looking through these  magazines. That beautiful plant in the featured article looks great, but is it evergreen or deciduous? Does it require low or high maintenance? Is it something that deer find to be equivalent to caviar? Often the planting compositions are complex blends of grass, perennials and annual flowers, that look great but require heavy maintenance.

The same can be said for hardscape. It is my experience that expensive, large projects photograph for print publication the best. Before you set your heart on that 1000 square foot travertine patio with vanishing edge pool and outdoor kitchen, take into consideration what it would take to install these type of elements for your project.

A good example was a client who wanted Golden Barrel Cactus, similar to the distinctive garden at the Getty Center, until we priced them out, and found that the cactus alone would exceed their planting budget.

At several hundred dollars a piece these golden
barrels might break the bank