Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gardening Life: "there will never be another magazine started to take its place"

Marjorie Harris, the editor-at-large of Gardening Life, the demise of which as abruptly announced last week, reflects in her blog on what the magazine (which started as Toronto Life Gardens) meant to her and what she will miss:
So after eleven years as the central part of my life this wonderful magazine is gone like a puff of smoke. There will be one more issue. I guess it’ll be a collector’s item. But there will never be another garden magazine started to take its place. It’s the economy, stupid old me—I didn’t see that coming. I had the usual journalistic focus of deadlines. But no more.

In those eleven years, I outlived several editors: Mary Anne Brinckman, Kate McDonald and Nancy Jane Hastings. They all died way way too early and I miss them still; outlasted Michael Totzke and Danny Sinopoli; and was swept away along with Caren Watkins last week. We all remain friends and will continue to be so.

And the person who was at the heart of the magazine was Karen York who was the botanical editor. We started together and finished together. She is one of my dearest friends and the editor on all my books of the past 10 years. We provided the horty stuff, the gardeny stuff and the accuracy for which the magazine became known.

The first heady year of being Toronto Life Gardens was like the fulfillment of a dream. We did stuff in this country no one else had ever done: created a magazine that was the most gorgeous, best-read garden magazine in the world. We had writers and photographers clambering to do stuff. We had an art director, Alice Unger, who was simply amazing in the depth of her design talent....

I loved working at the magazine and everywhere in the country when I gave speeches people always referred to it as “my” magazine. It wasn’t at all. The editors (like Caren [Watkins]and Catherine (Therrien]) did the heavy lifting; I worked from home and e-mailed in my suggestions and copy. The art directors changed, the staff stayed for a while and moved on. Karen and I became like leitmotifs.

I’m so distraught I haven’t really had time figure out exactly what I’m doing next but it will involve gardens in every aspect possible. At least that’s one thing no one (can) close down and I should switch to thinking lucky me, because it was a great run and I loved every minute of it.

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