Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Break Travels - Part 4: Portuguese Gardening Magazines

Apart from visiting parks and gardens and just generally observing the vegetation along the way, I also normally like to pick up some local gardening literature when I am traveling in foreign lands. So during my spring break trip to Portugal I picked up the March issues of three Portuguese gardening magazines, at a total cost of about €10.
The three magazines I bought, from right to left: Tudo Sobre Jardins, Plantas & Jardinagem, and Jardins
I mainly like to do this because I like to see what gardeners are up to in different countries - what plants or styles are fashionable, what are major concerns or interests, and so on. Beyond this I like to see the state of gardening literature itself in terms of how it is written, who it addresses itself to, and what it tries to promote. One interesting thing I noted was that one of the magazines I bought, entitled  Plantas & Jardinagem or "Plants & Gardening" explicitly advertised the fact that it does not contain translations on its front page as well as next to the table of contents.
 Corner of Plantas & Jardinagem with a Portuguese flags and the words "Without Translations"
At first this might appear a bit odd but it actually makes perfect sense if one takes a closer look at the gardening literature generally found in Portuguese bookstores. Almost every book will be a translation from English, with perhaps a few translations of Italian agricultural manuals thrown in for good measure. While these books are often quite beautiful and certainly useful in the areas for which they were written, horticultural advice intended for the Midlands or Massachusetts will hardly be helpful in  Portugal's very different climate. Thus it makes sense that a magazine would want to capitalize on the "authenticity" of its content.
The words "Without Translations - National Content" on the table of contents page of Plantas & Jardinagem
The other two magazines of which I bought copies are Jardins or "Gardens" and Tudo Sobre Jardins or "All About Gardens". Of the two, the former is a lot like Plantas & Jardinagem in format, while the latter tries to be more intellectual, with a focus on design, landscape architecture, and the social functions of parks and gardens. If you would like to learn more about them, you can visit their websites at and, respectively.

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