A gardening magazine blooms from necessity

May 12, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

Anne M. Evans hadn't poked around in a garden since she was a child growing up in rural Indiana -- until last September, when she moved to southern Anne Arundel County and found herself with 4 1/2 acres and no reference books or magazines to guide her.

So she began publishing "Maryland Gardener," a full-color, quarterly magazine for gardening enthusiasts. The premiere issue is available at 16 nurseries and garden centers around the state.

The magazine also is being distributed to members of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland Inc.

Mrs. Evans, who is 33, produced the 15-page magazine at her home with desktop publishing equipment. This issue features a 4-page article she wrote on the William Paca Gardens in Annapolis.

It also includes tips for do-it-yourself water pond construction from a water garden company in Buckeystown. There's a 3-month planting calendar, good for March through May, written by Jan Adams, host of a local radio show on gardening.

Mrs. Evans said she will use Ms. Adams and other local gardening experts as regular writers for her magazine, which she sees as a forum for exchange between local gardeners and gardening experts throughout the state.

She said she hopes to show people that gardening is not drudgery.

The summer issue, which should be out the first week of June, will focus on shade gardening.

Mrs. Evans, a former public relations specialist, moved here from Tucson, Ariz., to marry Norman D. Evans, an electrical engineer and computer programmer, and live at his place in Harwood. But when she got here she found the property where he lived, now her home, "was a mess," she said. "And I didn't know how to garden it."

She started calling bookstores, nurseries and gardening associations for help, only to find Maryland had no regional gardening magazine. She conducted her own market research and decided to sink her savings into the magazine.

She realizes it's a risk -- a similar magazine published in the 1950s failed, the Maryland Nurseryman's Association told her -- but Mrs. Evans remains undaunted.

"I'm that sure of it that I will recoup my investment," she said.

There are numerous national gardening magazines, but no regional publications aimed at Maryland and its climate until Mrs. Evans came along, said Lucy Coggin, director of the William Paca Gardens.

"I think that it would be wonderful to have a gardening magazine that would cover the interests of local gardeners," she said.

The magazine will be a good source of information on public and private gardens in Maryland, keep local gardeners up to date on statewide activities and encourage novice gardeners, Ms. Coggin said.

The magazine has had another advantage, Mrs. Evans said. Since her husband, who never gardened in his life, began handling technical support for her magazine, she can't keep him out of the yard on weekends.

She said they will spend a year analyzing what grows best where before planting, she said.

Mrs. Evans said she learned about running businesses from her mother, who took over the family rubber company in Ligonier, Ind., when her father died in 1985.

She was only 14, she recalled, but she says she learned "the day to day routine of knowing that you have to put in long hours and you have to work every day. You just don't stop."

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