Do You Know This Man?


He’s “The Man in the Red Suspenders,” former host of “The Victory Garden” television show, and former “Horticulture” magazine editor. His name is Roger Swain, and if there are icons in our “hort world” he must  be one of them.

Roger did an advanced education class recently for the URI Master Gardeners, and it always amazes me how much he knows. The talk was about tools – their selection, use and care. You might think the subject is a big yawn, but Roger made it not only interesting but funny, and the time flew by.

So why am I bothering you with this? It’s because I have to get something off my chest. To me, people like Roger Swain represent the true learning side of gardening. I don’t watch “The Victory Garden” anymore, because I don’t find the current host particularly interesting and I don’t learn anything.

And while I’m in rant mode, let me say that I am worried about what’s happening to “Horticulture” magazine, too. Am I the only person who remembers what a class act it was not so long ago? It seems to me that it’s not only thinner, with lesser quality photography, but the information has been diluted, and maybe even dumbed down. I still subscribe, but I don’t look forward to it the way I used to.

I could be way off base here. Maybe things are changing for the better, but the skeptic in me doesn’t think so. It might be a good idea to listen to icons like Roger Swain. They still have a lot to teach us.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Do You Know This Man?

  1. Scott says:

    Good rant. I haven’t seen “Horticulture” in a long while but if it is anything like Organic Gardening has become I feel your pain.


    • dirtynailz says:

      Thanks, Scott. It just seems like the substance is gone. And I find it annoying that people with so much knowledge are no longer in the mass media – probably because the producers were looking for someone “young” and “fresh.” Yuck.


  2. Peg says:

    I have recently decided not to renew my subscription to Horticulture. I’m still trying to hang in with OG, despite their rude attempt to switch me over to whatever that “new” publication was a couple of years back.

    I have so many magazines that I don’t have time to get to… Horticulture was the one I figured I’d miss the least.


  3. wendy says:

    Interesting post. I subscribed to Horticulture a year or two ago. I heard from someone recently that it was at one point “too uppity”, and she’s glad it’s written for your average joe now. Honestly, I can’t even recall who said this. I couldn’t really get into the magazine either way, but still do enjoy OG. Articles seem to repeat a bit, but I guess a lot of magazines do this. It’s still inspiring.

    I do think that there should be a publication for everyone. The gardening PhDs deserve their own journal as well!


    • dirtynailz says:

      Well, there’s still “Fine Gardening” and “American Gardener,” and good old “Birds and Blooms” with a lot of pictures of funny-looking bird houses.


  4. cdboch says:

    Supposedly Roger Swain was laid off from Horticulture magazine when they moved their operation to Cincinnati, Ohio. My question would be why? Who better to be science editor than a nationally know biologist/gardener? For that matter why take him off Victory Garden? The show hasn’t been as good since.


    • dirtynailz says:

      Maybe the magazine is trying to appeal to a “wider audience.” In my opinion it is simply dumbed down. The same goes for The Victory Garden.
      I guess they are aiming for style over substance, but in making those changes, they lose the more serious gardeners among us, and I don’t think they attract many new readers or viewers either.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s