James Augustus Baggett
Currently the Garden Editor of Better Homes & Gardens, James Augustus Baggett has been a magazine editor and writer for more than 35 years.
James sold his first article on the oldest living tree in Missouri while still a student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He started his career as an editor of Scholastic Inc.’s Science World, an educational science magazine read by 8 million students every-other week during the school year, where he translated his love for the natural world into award-winning articles for young people. “As a science writer,” he explains, “I was able to share my enthusiasm for subjects like carnivorous plants, sociable spiders, and bioluminescence with a national audience of curious students in the classroom.”
Most recently, James was the editor of Country Gardens and all the Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications gardening titles, including (for 2017), Gardening for Birds & Butterflies, Best of Country Gardens, Outdoor Living, Vintage Garden Style, Mini Gardens & Terrariums, Easy Garden Projects, Garden Sheds & Retreats, From Garden to Plate, and Garden Basics. “To me,” James explains, “garden writing is science writing. It’s science writing with ‘jazz hands.’”
James lives and gardens with two terriers in Des Moines, Iowa, where the lawn around his Arts & Crafts bungalow is slowly being replaced with native plants. He is a passionate believer in the power of gardening to improve lives, the community, and the planet. “I especially love finding stories on how gardening makes the world a better place,” he says. “Whether it’s producing a story on The Edible Schoolyard project in Brooklyn, New York, or a sustainable garden in a women’s correctional facility in Oregon, or a refugee garden in Omaha, I relish the opportunity to share these green-hearted efforts with an audience of millions.”
His success as a gardening communicator and advocate is numerous. He was formerly editor of Perennials and Nature’s Garden magazines for Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications, executive editor of Country Living Gardener and Rebecca’s Garden (Hearst), garden editor of American Homestyle & Gardening (Gruner + Jahr), and founding managing editor of Elle Decor (Hachette). James is also the author of Flower Arranging, a Best of Martha Stewart Living Book (Oxmoor House) and, more recently, the editor of 2017’s The Edible Garden (Weldon Owen).
James has appeared on The Today Show, MSNBC, and HGTV—and received numerous awards for his work, including the 2017 Media Awards Gold Medal of Achievement from the Garden Writers Association for Best Overall Magazine. James is also the 2015 recipient of the B.Y. Morrison Communication Award presented by the American Horticultural Society. “My hope is that through my work I can inspire anyone who wants to be a new or better gardener to connect with the soil, to have a hand in growing something, and to actually help create a healthier environment for all of us.”