If you think you know what gardening magazines are all about, think again: The new Wilder Quarterly is turning the tried-and-true garden format on its head, and (finally!) giving gardeners what they really want.
Truth be told, it's practically a misnomer to call Wilder a magazine. It's more like a book. Well, not quite a book, but more like something you'd keep out on your coffee table. Words can't describe it. And I'm a writer.
The first thing to catch my eye was the gorgeous, vibrant photography on the cover of its inaugural issue. Next was the quality of the cover: thick, textured, shiny. And finally, the size: an unusual 9 1/2 inches by 6 1/2 inches, multiplied by 164 pages.
Cracking the cover made me feel, well, giddy. The photos are close-up and beautiful, and the content more urban-hippy than farmer. There are plant profiles, which are cleverly referred to as "biographies," and pieces on birds, pests, chores, national events and even recipes. It's thick and heavy and, most importantly, really interesting. And it's no wonder it's only a quarterly. A production like this surely takes awhile to pull together.
At $18.95 for a single issue, it's priced more like a book, too. A full-year subscription of 4 quarterly issues costs $59.95. And although that price exceeds what up until now has been my most extravagant publication splurge -- my New Yorker subscription -- I think Wilder will give me my money's worth. Plus, a portion of the subscription proceeds are donated to The Fresh Air Fund, which gives disadvantaged city kids the opportunity to attend summer camp in the country. Win-win.
Wilder is the single most exciting thing to happen to gardening coverage. Ever.
See for yourself at wilderquarterly.com.