about margaret and this website

margaret roach of a way to garden

A WAY TO GARDEN is the latest horticultural incarnation of me, Margaret Roach, birthed in March 2008 with my own words as its primary DNA, mingled with ideas shared in weekly expert interviews. Those conversations are from the companion A Way to Garden public-radio show and podcast, which entered its 14th year in March 2023, and has won praise from “The Guardian” newspaper and multiple medals from Garden Writers of America. In my extremely biased opinion, you should subscribe free to both blog and podcast right now:

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For nearly 25 years, my Hudson Valley, New York, garden was open to visiting as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Days program, though that was of course canceled in 2020 and 2021. In 2022 and 2023, I tried one small open house organized with a couple of local garden friends. I have also taught workshops in the garden, and look forward to resuming those someday. In the “offseason,” I host webinars and an online garden club with my friend Ken Druse.

Since April 2020, I have also written the “In the Garden” column for “The New York Times.”

a way to garden the book, 2019 editionThe website is named for a book I wrote early in my garden career, and in the life of my garden. “A Way to Garden,” named best book of 1998 by the Garden Writers of America, became a collector’s item, so a fully updated 21st anniversary edition was released April 2019; above.

People always think it is “Away” to Garden, because I left my fast-lane city career to live in a small rural town, rather than “A Way,” as in my way (but not the only way). Nope; four words–and the only way I can offer you about how it all works out there.

more about my so-called career

Margaret Roach childhood photoI HAVE BEEN WRITING about gardening for about 30 years. In my previous lives, I was garden editor at “Newsday” newspaper (one of the country’s largest dailies) and then for Martha Stewart, where I was the first garden editor of “Living” magazine and later EVP/Editorial Director of her magazines, books and internet.

As mentioned, in the garden season of 2020, I was called on by “The New York Times” to write a gardening column, which has been renewed for 2021; those are linked here.

‘Eat, Pray, Love’ author Liz Gilbert (a keen gardener herself) calls my writing ‘a blessing.’

I “retired” (but didn’t stop working) on the last day of 2007 (at a very young age, thank you) to my 2.3-acre garden, bordering on the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I walked away from a career and “success” to explore personal creativity again. The book I wrote about dropping out, “And I Shall Have Some Peace There,” was published in February 2011; my next, a garden memoir and handbook called “The Backyard Parables,” in January 2013.

A Way to Garden the website was my warmup for writing those books, and it stuck around, thanks to kudos from “The New York Times,” “Washington Post,” “People” and “More” magazines and others, and to readers who seemed to appreciate my take, which is simply this, as proclaimed up near the logo:

I’m all about the horticultural how-to and ‘woo-woo.’

Please note:

  • I speak serious botanical Latin, but long ago lost count of how many genera, species and varieties of plants both edible and ornamental grow here.
  • I am also an old-fashioned, organic-style gardener and a vegetarian (for 45 years), so…
  • …I put up a sizeable chunk of the food I eat each year. I would have made a good hippie; maybe that is who I am at heart.
  • Gardening is not my hobby, it is my spiritual practice and life partner. I hope it will become yours. (The video below explains that more.)
  • I find most things funny; laughter helps me learn, and I will use it liberally to help you learn, too, and to entertain (which explains the occasional doodles by my friend Andre Jordan).

no, thanks: no guest or sponsored posts, no freebies

OTHER THAN THE doodles, I create everything you see here: writing, many of the photos (not those from expert podcast guests, of course, to illustrate those interviews), and the weekly email newsletter. Even the occasional peach clafoutis.

The listings on my Resources page are places I have actually shopped or otherwise know through trusted friends who have relied on them.

I accept no free stuff, including no samples (not even a free packet of seeds), nor do I get paid to mention people.

The website is a labor of love, not a profit center (it opeates in the red, in fact). I pay for the web hosting, newsletter service, tech support when I break something and so on, using the small affiliate commissions from sales on Amazon to defray some of the costs, but without advertising or other such sponsor relationships.

I love technology, and particularly the platform called WordPress, and I used to consult with clients to help them enjoy the digital medium as much as I do, but don’t any longer. More about my professional life is on Margaret Roach dot com.

more about ‘woo-woo’ (’cause i know you’re wondering…)

WANT TO KNOW MORE about me and my relationship with both sides of the gardening equation, the hands-on and the touchy-feely?

I welcome you, and hope you find what you are looking for in my albeit very personal approach to the world of plants and the magical forces of nature.