I am going to come right out and admit that I like Amateur Gardening. I don't mean I enjoy bumbling around in the garden not really knowing what I'm doing (though I am partial to a bit of that). I mean I really like the magazine. Despite it's being apparently targeted at the over-90s and being "downmarket trash".
There are many reasons I love Amateur Gardening. Firstly, you almost always get a free packet of seed. In fact, you only don't get a free packet of seed when some thieving over-90 has got to Co-op before you, and swiped it. Not rubbish seed, either. Mr Fothergills, no less.
Secondly, I could spend hours going on about how fascinated I am with Lucy and Emilie. (Not as fascinated as I was when they used to have Lucinda, but nonetheless.) Lucy and Emilie work for the mag and have to pose for all the practical demonstrations, doing their best to look like nice girls while gazing at clumps of aquilegia/dead euphorbias/automatic watering systems. Plus in winter they have the best assortment of colourful jumpers you will ever see in print.
Honestly, the £1.80 cover price is worth it just for them.
But finally, despite the magazine's downmarket, gnome-owning credentials, for me it is the best source for having up-to-date, fairly gossipy gardening news. Before there were gardening blogs, this kind of thing was essential. But even now, I think their news editor Marc Rosenberg does a really good job of rounding up intriguing stories, ranging from reporting the hoax Alan Titchmarsh skunk-growing video to giving the facts on cardboard eco-coffins.
Apart from these star features, there is also sound cultural advice in the form of Anne Swithinbank's kitchen garden column, which I find really handy, and Bob Flowerdew who as far as I'm concerned is top class great. Which prepares me nicely to try and chuckle at Peter Seabrook's signing-off column, which he appears to regard as unfinished unless he's having a little dig at the solar-panel-installing, mediterranean-plant-growing ninnies amongst us. Well, you can't please everybody.