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Many years ago, more years than I care to admit, an editor of a nationwide magazine (GreenPrints) bought an article from me.  I was thrilled.  This was my first sale to a national magazine.  Pat Stone, Editor of GreenPrints “The Weeder’s Digest”, was that editor. 

GreenPrints is not your ordinary garden magazine.  There is almost no “how to garden” in its pages.  It is filled with the truth and consequences of gardening, not much “how” but a lot of “why.” 

There was a particularly funny story in the GreenPrints anniversary issue ten years ago, called Don’t Worry Dear!  I’m only going to the Garden Center by Martine Caselli.  Her trip to the garden center for a little cell pack of sweet basil, and her husband’s admonishments, hit hilariously close to home for me.  I, too, am often overcome by “Must Haves” when I shop.

Pat Stone is our guest writer this week.  His little magazine, books of short stories really, is now twenty years old.  Happy Birthday! 

Anne K Moore


The story behind America’s only not-how-to garden magazine.

By Pat Stone, Editor
GreenPrints Magazine
Photograph & Art courtesy of GreenPrints

For 20 years now, I’ve been creating GreenPrints, “The Weeder’s Digest,” the only magazine that shares the personal side of gardening. For 20 years, I’ve chosen every single story and edited every single word—every moment of inspiration, every twist of humor, every touch of wistfulness. I’ve become America’s folklorist of gardening stories, collecting and sharing gardeners’ experiences from all over the country—and the world.

It’s been a truly rewarding journey. Gardening has so much to teach us about life, about taking care of plants, learning to accept our mistakes (you know, eating a little humble sod), and caring for each other. It’s been a great blessing to create a magazine that shares all this.

But, where did it come from? People often ask how I got the idea to create a human, not a how-to, garden magazine.

There’re two answers to that question, one “outer,” the other “inner.”

Outer? I needed a job. I used to be the Garden Editor for Mother Earth News magazine. For 12 years, I told people when to prune their raspberries (any month with an “r” in it) and how to keep cabbage moths off broccoli (floating row covers or b.t.). Then we learned that our entire magazine staff was about to be laid off. I wanted to stay in gardening and publishing, but I did not want to move my family from the wonderful mountain community we call home. That meant starting my own publication. But, I couldn’t compete with all the excellent how-to magazines out there.

Inner? All that gardening advice I’d been sharing for years was beginning to feel, well, inadequate. Sure, we never stop needing useful instruction—it’s the backbone of gardening. But not its soul. We garden for food and flowers. But we also garden for the rewards we get inside. Yet very little was being written about that. So, I got the inspiration to create something nobody else was doing, a magazine sharing the personal side of gardening.

And now, two decades later, we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary with an extra special issue, filled with the best stories and art I could find. It’s a wonderful, wonderful issue. I’m grateful for the chance to share it. If there’s a theme to the 20th anniversary GreenPrints, it’s warmth. GreenPrints has always been an intimate sharing among gardeners. Something quiet at times, laugh-out-loud at others, but always welcoming and personal, like a friend whose door is always open.

There’s also a flower for the issue—the 20th anniversary flower—the daylily. There’s a story in this issue about “Johnny Lilyseed,” a man who goes around planting daylilies all over his rural Massachusetts town. That’s what I tried to do in the issue. Plant the best daylilies—uh, stories—I could, to bring some wonderful moments of warmth and color to people’s lives.

I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Go to:  to subscribe to GreenPrints magazine.  When you subscribe this spring, your first magazine will be the Twentieth Anniversary issue.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

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