Horticultural Journalism as a Chronicle of Change: A Review of Gardeners' Chronicle, 1841-Present
Second-Year Specialist Project
June, 2016
Paper and Presentation by Erika Packard

This project reviewed one British horticultural print journal, The Gardeners’ Chronicle, from its inception in 1841 as a weekly newspaper to its present incarnation as the weekly trade magazine Horticulture Week, to determine how horticultural journalism evolved during this time. By reading and classifying the articles in one issue every three years for the 175-year print run, three themes emerged that were consistent from 1841 Gardeners’ Chronicle to present-day Horticulture Week. These are:

  • An intention to convey practical science-based cultivation advice and share associated technological innovations
  • A responsibility to report news
  • A duty to arbitrate and advocate for the horticultural industry and gardeners, especially with regard to their education

Additionally, several major changes were discovered over the print run, including:

  • The decline of practical advice in favor of increased business/product information
  • Loss of articles on plantsmanship and plants
  • Change in writers from gardeners to professional journalists
  • Disappearance of dialogue/information sharing between gardeners through the publications

A review of the genesis of horticultural journalism in the Victorian era and interviews with present-day horticultural journalists, including the current editors of Horticulture Week and the RHS Garden magazine, provided insight into how the field developed, evolved, and where it stands at present. Taken together these changes reflect Gardeners’ Chronicle’s evolution from a publication created by gardeners for gardeners into a modern trade magazine created by journalists for businesspeople. And on a larger scale, these changes reflect the changes in gardening itself, and in its priorities and practitioners.


Sezincote: History and Evolution of a Designed Landscape
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh: Landscape Design History
April, 2016
Paper and Photographs by Erika Packard

Maximum Green: Urban Garden Tips and Tricks from the Philadelphia Flower Show
DC North, April 2007
Article and Photographs by Erika Packard

In Spite of Snow: Winter Vegetables Grow in Brookland
DC North, January 2007
Article and Photographs by Erika Packard

A Neighborhood in Bloom: The Third Annual Shepherd Park Garden Tour
DC North, June 2007
Article and Photographs by Erika Packard