Thursday 31 January 2013

The Future is Already Here

I just received a Google Alert message for my keywords 'garden history' and discovered it was a new comment on the Garden History Society (GHS) website Forum from another garden historian 'stephenha' who has some interesting points to make.  The link takes you to the page but I have taken the liberty of copying Stephen's text below.  I, and I am sure he and the GHS, would value feedback from yous who are interested in garden history, maybe are members of the GHS and also social media users.  Feel free to post comments here or on the Forum page. 

Embrace the Future or Stagnate
by stephenha.

'I teach garden history to a wide age range of students. If you can deliver the subject without making it stuffy then I find younger students are interested in it and see the relevance to other subjects such as garden design.

In these modern times getting your message across to younger people is vital. Facebook and Twitter are both modern mediums that most young people use. Organisations and Societies now use Facebook and Twitter to get their message across to a global audience. These mediums are used to raise profile and make a global audience aware that the organisation even exists. Do you think that the time has come to follow suit and the Garden History Society has a Facebook account and even Twitter. Yes you can find a tweet on the lecture series but more is needed. I believe this would be extremley popular and attract followers and new members.

I try to encourage some of my students to join the Garden History Society because I believe that now or in the future they will have a part to play and have something to offer. After all to offer the old cliche, younger people are going to be the future of the society and what is really offered to attract the new blood in?

As much as I like looking at the website it does not set the world on fire and does not say come and join us. Some may think I want to dumb down, some may think I want shiny bright things like attracting magpies which is not the case. I just think the time has come to embrace the new IT age.

I also enjoy recieving my copy of the Journal. But again for some younger students one look at the jounal is enough to turn them off garden history for life. I would like to see essays at different levels to entice people in. Students are not all yet at the academic level of the Journal. I say not yet, but some will be, but by then it may be to late.


  1. Gosh. Thank you for posting this. I'd always thought of the Journal as the students' friend, not something that would put them off garden history for life. But it can't be all things to all people. If a publication with a mix of academic and popular articles will serve garden history better, so be it. As long as we understand that, if the Journal adopts a mixed format, we lose an academic resource and a showcase for new research.

    Charlotte Frost

  2. Thank you Charlotte but I do not agree that the Journal is the friend to all students.It caters to a higher academic level and leaves younger students in its wake.
    Students in schools have been encouraged to drop history for easier options so the school stat's dont get messed up! I know this when students have no idea who Oliver Cromwell was. There is such a large gap to bridge between younger students and the Journal. Engage students and interest them at a younger age and they will mature and become the readers and GHS members of the future. No one wants the Journal to lose intergrity but just to appeal to a wider audience.

  3. I'd miss the Journal in its present form, but you make a good case for change. You've done garden history a good turn by speaking out. Thank you.

    Best wishes