another voice joins me in the ‘garden’

pottingshed_brown-by-andre-jordanWHEN MY FAVORITE DOODLER AND DAYDREAMER, British-born Andre Jordan, let me share an oddball illustration of his with you in June, it was an immediate hit: my third most popular post so far, in fact. Now Andre is living in the American heartland, and besides his weekly doodling gig on BBC.com he’s signed on as a columnist for…you guessed it: A Way to Garden.

I’ve been asked various times this year, in interviews about my own new life, whether I’d have other contributors to this blog, which represents my first act of personal (not corporate) creative expression in far too many years.

“Absolutely not,” I’d say without a second’s reflection. “This is about my voice.”

How someone who five months ago was a total stranger could have me eating those words is not so easy to explain.

Andre and I still have never met, with only blog comments, Skype sessions and emails forming the concrete connection, but this goes deeper:

From the first doodle of his I ever saw, I knew Andre was a bird of a feather.  And you all know how I feel about birds.

Much of the prolific doodling that first drew me to Andre is on his blog A Beautiful Revolution, named one of the Best British blogs of 2007 and praised by the London Times as “brim[ming] with honesty, dry wit and a refreshing lack of schmaltz.”

Andre is also an author, with his first American book, “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” due momentarily from Harper Perennial and available for pre-order.

His work can also be found on the BBC disability website Ouch!, where he with raucous tenderness explores a subject that had long been something you just didn’t talk about, like many of Andre’s recurring themes.

Andre, it turns out, is no stranger to the garden: He supplies one of the leading garden picture libraries, GPL, with glorious photographs. In his Thursday column here he’ll explore all of gardening’s facets, dire to delightful, rated PG to R, and he will jump in on comments each week to speak with you.

I keep wondering when Andre’s latest vein of inspiration, his new life in Lincoln, Nebraska, will be put to paper. So far, the reports are good:

“I love it,” says Andre. “And people in the supermarket or on the street talk to me for no reason whatsoever—something that would never happen in the UK. It’s brilliant.”

Please join me and the friendly citizens of Lincoln in giving Andre a proper welcome.


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  1. Susan says:

    This is one of my favorite places to start my day.Awaytogarden joins me with my coffee in the morning. Love the pots. So happy to hear you are enjoying the US. I look forward to seeing more of you.

  2. margaret says:

    Welcome, Matt, to A Way to Garden. Thanks for helping welcome Andre (who should be up and making tea any moment out in Nebraska). Hearing from you reminds me of another auspicious day for my blog, when you and I were on the ‘Martha’ show not long ago, so I am regarding your comment as an especially good omen. My best to you, and thanks for the well-wishes today in particular.

    All: By the way, I never do this but today seems like the day: ‘If you’re happy and you know it’ (the title of Andre’s previous book, tee hee) then give this post a Digg or Stumble or email it to a friend. Use the share icon down below and pick your spread-the-word tool. Our Nebraskan friend and I thank you.

  3. Johanna says:

    Whatever took Andre from London to Lincoln?! I’ll be very interested to hear about the different gardening challenges he’s facing.

    And I absolutely LOVE the “Seasons change” doodle. It’s gorgeous.


  4. Tina Taber says:

    Margaret, you always make me chuckle. I’ve been enjoying all your posts since I found you on Martha’s show. I should comment more, I know!

    My orchids are not doing so well, but I hope to get them doing better with your suggestions. Now one of them I did manage somehow to get to bloom a second time but the other three are sad little things even though I repotted them.

    These doodles are very appealing. I will certainly check out his stuff. Have fun with your new pal. What a nice name,Andre. ;)

  5. andre says:

    Hello. I have drank enough caffeine now to finally say good morning.

    Thank you Margaret for your lovely words about me. You are most most kind.

    Like minded people just connect. Whether it’s in person or via the web. They just connect. And that’s what brought an English boy to Lincoln Nebraska. I met a girl, we connected in ways I never knew were possible, and so I married her. 2008 has been the most amazing year of my life.

    Thank you all for welcoming me.

  6. gardenden says:

    Welcome to Andre!
    Your “doodles” ( too dismissive a term) are like cliff notes of Nick Hornby’s wonderful books.
    The photos are exquisite. Would that I could…

  7. chris says:

    if andre is british and living in lincoln neb., he needs a quick tutorial in college football. he also needs to buy one share of brk-b, if he has a loose $3800. other than that, he should fit right in.

  8. andrea says:

    How exciting! Welcome Andre! Your Ouch! Doodles are marvelous. I especially loved the EBay blue tag discovery note. So deliciously clever. Brilliant, Magaret!

  9. andre says:

    gardenden: I have always liked the term ‘doodles’ (it’s a passive aggressive thing). When people ask me what I do I never quite know what to say. I normally just shrug my shoulders and mumble ‘I sort of do drawings and stuff’. ‘What kind of drawings?’ they then ask. This always leaves me in a fluster and so I normally respond, ‘doodles!’. Then they leave me alone.

  10. Jacqui Jordan (sis in law!) says:

    We are EXTREMELY proud of you Andre … Love and miss you and Stacey very much … Get those much needed gardening “doodles” to me as soon as you can … I need them for my garden SHED!

  11. Donna Oglesby says:

    What a joy to find you here too. Your sensibility is a perfect match. But, since I have considered “The Chair,” I’ve been trying to unplug and meet his needs. What to do? What to do?

  12. Tammy says:

    Welcome Andre! Love the doodles. Will buy and read the book, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, for the title alone. Could be lots of birds of a feather flocking together at this blog, I think.

  13. margaret says:

    Welcome to Jacqui Jordan, the official cheering section from the Jordan side of the family. Nice to “meet” you. Thanks to all of you for lending Andre to the U.S. at the moment; we could really use something to smile about.

  14. debra says:

    Welcome, Andre! And congratulations, Margaret, for finding room for a kindred spirit to share his voice (and wryly-worded illustrations) with your readers. Of course, since I am the “stylish shed queen,” I am partial to the image above (“Meet me in the potting shed at 8 pm sharp. . .”) AND the enticing item on Andre’s blog: (“I retreat to the garden shed and wait . . . “) ~ can’t wait to follow this new chapter on your blog. Debra

  15. margaret says:

    Welcome, Debra. I am glad you in particular have discovered Andre’s shed doodles here and at his blog. Happy to have you with us for this newest adventure.

  16. Lalala says:

    Wow, what excellent news! I have an Andre Jordan doodle hanging above my desk right now (“Every night I wrote a list of things that might go wrong. Every morning I looked at the list and added a little more. But then one day, my pen rand out, and life completely changed.”) Looking forward to Andre’s columns!

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