Monday, 11 July 2016

Review: rakesprogress - a new kid on the block

There is a new magazine in town, rakesprogress: The progressive guide to gardens, plants, flowers.  I became aware of this through Twitter and asked if I could review a copy and they very kindly obliged.  There are many gardening magazines so it takes a brave soul to move into this arena.  It is also a time when the printed word, particularly in magazine and newspaper circles, is competing against the ever incoming tide of freely available online content.  When I received my copy of rakesprogress it was immediately not what I expected.
I have to begin by saying it is not like the usual magazines you will find in the racks at your local newsagent.  It is constructed more like a book, it has a solidity about it that makes it feel quite different.  It has good quality paper but it is not the glossy magazine type of paper.  It has more of a flat sheen that works particularly well with the images.  The paper is also quite thick, there is nothing flimsy about this publication.  Personally I think it feels more like a journal than a magazine.

rakesprogress is edited by Victoria Gaiger and Tom Loxley.  There are 120 pages of articles that range from interviews with the artist Nigel Cabourn to a profile of Luciano Guibbilei and a very interesting interview with Richard Reynolds on guerilla gardening.  There is practical advice to the rear of the magazine on knowing your soil and making war on weeds.  I am going to say that the practical advice seemed to me a little superfluous.  Had it not have been there I would have enjoyed the magazine just as much.  I enjoyed this magazine as food for thought, I was not expecting practical advice and if I do want practical advice I know lots of places to go and find it.  Possibly contrariwise, I enjoyed very much the Design Envy section as the lure of looking at beautifully designed garden equipment and nice things to buy is never beyond me.

The photography in the magazine is a cut above the usual.  I am very interested in photography and so this really appealed to me.  One of the features is about the collaboration between Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth called 'Eyes as big as plates'.  The resulting photographs of people sitting alone in nature (that is the best way I can think to describe it) are very wonderful.  My personal favourite is Agnes II.

The intention is that this magazine will be published quarterly and it can be found in various stockists (apparently the list grows almost daily) and you can subscribe to it online at the cost of £10 per issue.  Yes that sounds pricey at first glance but it is quarterly so it works out at just over £3 a month.  I know the next question is it worth £10 an issue and to some extent that is in the eye of the beholder.  What I can say is this; I read the articles in this magazine rather than what I do for a lot of other garden magazines where I tend to flip through the articles and look at the pictures.  I have recently cancelled one of my subscriptions as I realised I was doing this and just wasting my money.  I will be buying the second edition of this magazine as I am interested in seeing how it will develop.  It has the potential to be something a bit special and different from the same old same old.

More information on the magazine can be found here: http://www.rakesprogressmagazine.com/

3 comments :

  1. I've too stopped most gardening magazine subscriptions as I feel they are getting repetitive and I've kind of got bored. This one sounds really interesting and I'll look out for it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, yes it does feel like it has all got a bit same old, same old.

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  2. I get sick of seeing piles of paper I'm supposed to be either reading or chucking. It's oppressive. (But I also have an email folder with 6940 blog posts I've yet to read!)

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