about margaret and this blog

Margaret Roach weeding

A WAY TO GARDEN is the latest horticultural incarnation of me, Margaret Roach, with my own words and photographs (most taken here in my Hudson Valley, New York, garden) as its DNA. The site was born March 2008. You can visit 24/7/365 online, or come visit on tour or workshop days. Or listen to me each week on my public-radio podcast. A video of me on a PBS show in 2013 is at the bottom of the page.

The blog is named for a book I wrote early in my garden career, and in the life of my garden. “A Way to Garden” was named best book of 1998 by the Garden Writers Association of America, and is now a collector’s item.  People always think the website is called Away to Garden, because I left my fastlane city career to live here, rather than A Way, as in my way (but not the only way). Nope; four words.

I have been writing about gardening for 25-plus 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” and later EVP/Editorial Director of her magazines, books and internet.

Margaret Roach childhood photoI “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. “Eat, Pray, Love” author Liz Gilbert (a keen gardener herself) called my writing “a blessing.”

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,” Apartment Therapy [dot com], “People” and “More” magazines and others, and to readers who seemed to appreciate my take, which is simply this, as the logo proclaims:

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 30-plus 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.
  • 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).

Other than the doodles, I create everything you see here: writing, most of the photos, and the weekly email newsletter. Even the occasional peach clafoutis. But I could not do it without the help of web designer Ken Smith, and my friends at WebDev Studios.

The listings on my Resources page are places I have actually shopped or otherwise know; I receive no free stuff, including no samples, nor do I get paid to mention people. In March 2012, along with my friend Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl [dot] com, I began inviting very special companies to become blog sponsors, and whenever we write about them we spell out that they are also advertisers, besides friends and fellow gardening experts.

I love technology, and particularly the platform called WordPress, and I consult with a few select clients a year to help them enjoy the digital medium as much as I do. More about my professional life is on Margaret Roach dot com.

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.