I’m happy to say that thinkingardens is beginning to get offers of garden reviews. So I thought it was worthwhile to offer a short piece encouraging readers to do garden reviews for us and to try to sum up what I am looking for in a garden review.
Reviews currently available on the site may not adequately meet these criteria – please remember I have only just written this; I am unable to pay for material; and I have not done any retrospective checking of our reviews – all of which I was grateful for and which have good things to offer.
First, it should be entertaining and well written. If no-one wants to read it there’s not much point, is there?
Secondly, I think ideally you would be moved to write a review not by a desire to tell how wonderful a garden was, or indeed, wasn’t, but by something you learned.
Though I will consider reviews of ‘destination’ gardens that have badly disappointed, with reasons for the disappointment, as I am aware that sometimes people make great and expensive journeys to visit some gardens.
Third, I would hope that any garden review on thinkingardens would not just be of interest to people who can visit the garden in question, but to anyone who wishes to improve their own garden visiting and appreciation. Perhaps – though not at all inevitably – their own garden making.
So, no garden tours please. A brief description of the context and the nature, size and location of garden is helpful, but remember that these days any garden which can be visited will have these details available on the web, and I will always include a web link.
Equally ‘I liked’ or ‘I didn’t like’ is unhelpful to a reader unless there is some indication of what, why and, ideally, what beneficial change there could be, should such a thing be imaginable.
Basically I am interested in what works and what doesn’t in a garden, in all aspects – visual, atmosphere, context, sensory and whatever else you might find exciting. I am also very tired of discovering that second rate gardens have been talked up, and I value honesty above all.
If you conclude with some version of ‘…has created a garden which is practically perfect in every way’ I will know you have been reading too much garden porn.
Anne Wareham, editor website