Garden & Gun isn’t your typical magazine about gardens–or guns–for that matter. But the publication with the curious, if not downright cryptic-sounding moniker is earning some pretty substantial industry hardware.
Just this week, Garden & Gun magazine received the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in Food, Travel and Design from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Founded in 2007, the relative newcomer to the magazine scene beat out heavy-hitters Conde Nast Traveler, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living and Saveur.
But Garden & Gun magazine subscribers shouldn’t be too surprised. Aside from its clever, draw-you-in name, the content is usually about as unexpected and surprising as the origins of its title (which is really derived from the name of an exclusive club in Charleston, S.C.).
One issue is as likely to carry some insight into the life of reclusive “To Kill A Mockingbird” author Harper Lee as the next will share reminiscences from Southern “Margaritaville” crooner Jimmy Buffett. Alongside its stunning visuals, the magazine is just as likely to offer a guide to the best fishing spots as it is to give the lowdown on where to find the best cornbread or barbecue.
And that’s really just the beginning. Garden & Gun aspires to uncover the Southern-ness of music, literature and craftsmanship to the environment and beyond, whether the subjects are still below the Mason-Dixon or not. (As an example, a South Carolina native now a winemaker in Napa and his still-strong connections to the region are explored in the latest issue.)
That approach may have a tinge of the familiar to it, but it’s executed as if it were a fresh, quirky new idea. Maybe it’s in the name? Really, it would be difficult to sum up a succinct description or an engaging title for a magazine with content so wide-ranging, yet still so exclusively Southern–not to mention one that appeals to both men and women. Then again, come to think of it, Garden & Gun fits just fine.