What’s in a name? The provocatively named glossy magazine Garden & Gun might simply answer firepower. There’s nothing dissonant about the title in the American South: there the two words go together as naturally as Lynchburg and lemonade. This handsome “lifestyle” magazine, subtitled “Soul of the South,” reports little known facts about famous Southerners (pro golfer David Love III collects cast iron skillets in his Georgian home; actor Wendell Pierce is opening a chain of grocery stores in New Orleans), and big stories about small town heroes (Lindenwood University’s shooting team won its tenth consecutive national collegiate championship). Mix in an interview with Wendell Berry, the great poet and environmentalist, and Greg Allman, a ramblin’ man indeed, and a couple of articles with gorgeous photography to illustrate Belle Décor, Southern Porch Dogs, and recipes for tailgate-worthy cocktails and voila, you’ve got a winner. Literally: G&G, launched in 2007, won the National Magazine Award in General Excellence from the American Society of Magazine Editors only four years later.
So who’s behind this book of southern charm? Columbia, SC native Rebecca Wesson Darwin. After graduating from UNC she moved to New York where she became the first female publisher of The New Yorker, publisher of Mirabella, and also the marketing director of Fortune. But as said Joan Didion about leaving the New York magazine world–Goodbye To All That—so said Ms. Darwin, a decision much appreciated by her current readers, the genteel, green-thumbed and well-armed. David DiBenedetto is the editor-in-chief with the easy, graceful touch. Past its attention-grabbing title, Garden & Gun somehow manages to practically smell like hospitality–just like downtown Historic Charleston, where its founder now lives.