As I said in my reply to Paula's comment on my last post, I do like Gardens West magazine and I have recommended it on this blog before.
One of my pet peeves is when I see a magazine picture of a very large, healthy specimen of a plant in someone's garden and I know it is a plant that happens to be very high maintenance - for example needs lots of water - with no mention in the accompanying article of what the gardener does to take care of it. For example, I have seen pictures of large ligularia plants in prairie gardens - they look beautiful but are definitely not your low maintenance or low energy footprint plant! To show such a picture without mention of how much water that plant requires, feels almost like false advertising to me.
I have noticed lately that Gardens West seems to be doing very well in this area - the January/February 2010 issue featured a Saskatoon garden that has a very large ligularia plant.
The article does mention that ligularia requires "tons of water and partial shade". Exactly how much water it doesn't say, but "tons" gives you a pretty good idea. And the gardener also does say she "waters nearly every day". (Crazy! read my previous post on this)
My complaint about the article is that it only identifies that purple bellflower plant in front as "The Blue Devil". Yes, the tongue-in-cheek name is appropriate, because this is a very invasive weed. But the article doesn't specifically point that out. Nor does it give the proper name (campanula rapunculoides) so at least if a reader was interested, they could Google the name and find out more information - such as the fact that it is classified as invasive in Alberta and most other places in Canada! I have written about this plant on my blog before. Five years I've spent trying to get rid of it in my garden and counting...
One other small problem I had was that the gardener is also quoted as saying she fertilizes the whole garden with 15-30-15 once a week. Yikes! That's a lot of synthetic fertilizer to use! Yes, it makes the plants grow but what about this "newfangled notion" of feeding the soil with natural amendments such as compost and letting the soil feed the plants? Much more environmentally friendly - better for the soil and just as good for the plants. No mention of this.
But... I guess if you want magazine articles to include information about how a gardener maintains their garden, then you can't really complain when they include information about how a gardener maintains their garden, right? Maybe they should just add a small disclaimer somewhere to make us more environmentally conscious gardeners happy...
PS For comparison, here's a photo of my 2 ft tall, pathetic little ligularia that I don't water very often... I should probably just get rid of it.