These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Shoveling out from a nasty St. Patrick's Day snowstorm here in New Jersey, my thoughts naturally wandered to warm, sunny days―and to the Spring issue of GreenPrints, a unique gardening quarterly in the newsstand.

There are a couple of endearing qualities to GreenPrints, which is published in Fairview, North Carolina. One is its priceless tag line: "The Weeder's Digest." The other is that it isn't about gardening in the usual sense: no articles on techniques for pruning roses, the right fertilizer for evergreens, ten tips for a successful vegetable garden. GreenPrints is about gardening as a state of mind, a refuge, a happy part of life.

I found a quote in the issue, actually from the introduction to a book by psychotherapist Alice G. Miller, that nicely sums up the light and leisurely philosophy of GreenPrints: "This book ended up being less about horticulture and more about sanctuary. So, if you want a book about horticulture, close the cover very carefully, avoid getting any fingerprints on the pages and hurry back to the bookstore. You may still be able to get a refund."

In her book, To Everything There Is a Season, Dr. Miller writes about her garden as a "Green Cathedral," a crucial component of her spiritual and emotional life.

Susan B. Johnson includes a short essay in GreenPrints about how she became nervous after her Savannah garden was included in an upcoming historic garden tour. Would the mites and beetles make a shambles of her plants before the big day? A friend gave her advice that calmed her fears: "The committee chose your garden because it's charming. Not because it's exotic or perfect, but because it's a nice place to be."

There's an article about the little town of Carbondale, Colorado. The town council had passed an ordinance against using pesticides on athletic fields, but the high school football field was awash with dandelions. What to do? The answer was a community weed-the-dandelions day, which someone enlivened by passing around homemade dandelion wine. That was in 1999, and Dandelion Day has become an annual festival in Carbondale, with featured dishes at the affair including dandelion quiche, dandelion lasagna and tangy, golden dandelion cream pie.

Becky Rupp contributes a rumination on Democritus, a philosopher "born around 460 B.C.E. in Abdera in Thrace, an uncultured backwoodsy chunk of Greece, the sort of place the other Greeks told redneck jokes about." But Democritus went on to formulate the first coherent version of atomic theory, describing everything in the universe as being made up of tiny indivisible particles that are continually reassembling into new things.

The old philosopher's theory of the universe is Rupp's theory of her garden: "Every vegetable is a way station, a check in the cosmic action, a holding pen for atoms passing through. Those atoms have been stars, starfish, and squirrels; they're pausing now, back behind our barn, as butterbeans, before moving on to walnut trees or woodchucks, players in a vast dance to the music of time."

Since GreenPrints comes from North Carolina, I should also mention another gardening magazine from that state that does get into the nitty-gritty of soil testing, growing the perfect green bean and planting a successful shade garden.

Carolina Gardener, published seven times a year in Greensboro. The drawback to most of us is that its coverage of plants, vegetables and trees is edited with a close eye on the soils and climatic conditions of North and South Carolina, from the seacoast to the mountains. Carolinians are fortunate to have such a valuable horticultural resource. It's been thriving since 1988, so there should be a market for similar regional magazines in other parts of the country.

There's an interesting report in the March/April issue about a controversial climate zone change. The country is divided into a bunch of different zones by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most of North and South Carolina is in Zone 7, which indicates that certain plants will thrive there and others won't. But the Arbor Day Foundation has put out a climate map that revises the zones because of global warming, putting almost all of South Carolina and most of North Carolina into Zone 8, indicating it now has a more tropical climate.

An annual subscription to GreenPrints (four issues) is $22.97 from the publisher, and a year's subscription to Carolina Gardener (seven issues) is $21.95. We'll send you a sample copy of either publication for $2.59.

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