as I prepare for a new book, win my first!

I’VE BEEN IN THE STUDIO, recording my next book as an audiobook (yes!), editing video slideshows to accompany it, and more. The process is so different from the one nearly 15 years ago, when I published “A Way to Garden,” the book I named this site for a decade later. It made me sentimental, and though it’s not quite time to shout out the next book (“The Backyard Parables,” due January 15), why not toast the original with two precious copies, in a new giveaway?

Like my next book will, “A Way to Garden” (published 1998) celebrated both sides of the garden equation: horticultural how-to and woo-woo, or both the practical and philosophical.

some ‘woo-woo’ excerpts from ‘a way to garden’

how to enter to win the book

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO to enter to win one of two collectible copies I’ve stashed away to share: Comment below, telling me how long gardening has captured your heart.

I’ve been at it about 30 years–and next year I’ll celebrate 25 years of writing about the subject for national publications (first at “Newsday” newspaper in Long Island and New York, and later as garden editor at “Martha Stewart Living”). My 25th anniversary year seems a fitting time for a new garden book, right?

Don’t want to confess how long you’ve been in love with the garden? That’s fine–just say “count me in,” and you’ll be officially entered. Two lucky winners will be chosen at random after entries close at midnight Thursday, November 1. Good luck to all!



  1. Rita says:

    I’ve been gardening for more than 60 years, and I can’t say that those early years were voluntary.^__^

    Definitely count me in, please. I read your book from the library and yearn to have my own. Hope Sandy passed you by.


  2. Kimberly Graham says:

    Sadly, I was not the daughter of gardeners. However, when I was 19 I moved into my own tiny apartment on Balboa Island, a luscious plot of summer homes from the 1930s in Newport Harbor, California. My next door neighbor, Mrs. Parks, had all varieties of Southern California-friendly plants, which of course bloomed nearly all year-round. I would lean over her fence and ask “what’s that called?” “Salvia” “what’s that?” “primrose” “That?” “poppies” :) As a thank you for watching their home when they were away, she began giving me gift certificates to the local lovely garden center. I was HOOKED! I am now 48 so that was what . . .29 years ago? WOW! I hadn’t realized. So, thank you, Mrs. Parks, from my heart. And than you Margaret Roach, for your wonderful missives to my inbox. :)

  3. Sadhvi says:

    I started to notice things that were in the garden very intently around Ocotober of 1994. I had a car accident, and couldn’t do much else for the next year or so. I started to watch the 4 season garden that had been planted for enjoyment. I started my first garden the next spring, already planning it that winter. I drew the plans with colored pencils, and found a lot of good compost in the yard. I planted every type of basil that I could find in that little village in Switzerland. It was pure delight. And that and painting got me through the next 5 years. Now living in NC, at the place I call home since 1998, I’ve planted the flowers that I love, for their fragrance mostly (except my poppies!), and have come to find what works for me in my vegetable/herb garden. And take refuge there often. I do enjoy your site, and like to read your posts. And, I would love to read your book! I hope I am one of the lucky winners.

  4. Jennie says:

    I’m only 25, but I’ve been gardening most of my life (my mom’s veggie garden growing up was bigger than our house!)

  5. BooksInGarden says:

    I have loved gardens since my childhood in England in the fifties and sixties. It was magical place to play. In the years since, I only dabbled until I got the bug by embracing my new climate, southern CA about 8 years ago and started and using climate appropriate plants. Having retired this year, I am expanding and adding more local natives and plants from same zones around the world, more fruit trees more veggies from seed and becoming a volunteer at a Botanic Garden to expand my knowledge. This is magical once more.

  6. Deb Funkhouser says:

    I was 10 when my mom handed me a packet of marigold seeds, and asked me to plant them. I dug a small hole in the backyard and dumped them in! Imagine my surprise when I glanced out the window a few weeks later and noticed a bunch of green leaves, with little yellow buds!! I’ve been hooked ever since! I’m now 53!
    Please count me in.

  7. Ann says:

    I started gardening at my daddy’s side when I was 10. Ummm, that makes it 52 years I have been gardening in some form. Nothing better than getting your fingers in the dirt.

  8. Karen says:

    When we were kids, our family grew vegetables out of necessity. When my kids were growing up, we grew a garden to teach lessons of nature and nurture and awe. Then I went through my herbs and flowers stage. Now I grow many things for fun and food (smells, color and texture!).

  9. Lori says:

    While growing up in NE Ohio, we always had a garden in the back of our small city lot. Us three kids helped my dad plant, weed and pick vegetables. My mom did not do this nor plant flowers. She saw how hard my grandmother had to work to prepare stuff from the garden & she wanted nothing to do with it in her life except eat it which she did enjoy. Three sides of my home, however, and beside the neighbor’s garage is where the annuals and perennials have been planted for the past 34 years. I have ruined several rings because I forgot to put my gloves on. There is something about your hands working in the dirt. Mammouth sunflowers, impatients and a few perennials are the highlight of my front yard. The sunflowers will reach my gutter before the flowerhead bends over. The neighbors that walk past always comment how beautiful. That is the thing about gardening, no matter what you plant, it turns out to be something beautiful (most of the time). No one comes inside the home and says to me, Oh, you’ve dusted today, it looks beautiful! The interaction with people about my garden is what I love because it causes conversation. I love that. After a divorce and raising 5 children, now 21-28yrs old on my own, gardening helped with depresion. Gardening has enriched my head and soul and has been part life saver. Remarried now, hubby and I plan to plant food crops on the south side instead of flowers. I am going to give a try at canning tomatoes, beans, and peppers. Wish me luck. It is never to late to learn something new. Life is good with flowers in it! Thanks dad for having us involved with good old Mother Earth!

  10. Laurel says:

    When I was about 5 years old I planted a maple seed in the tiny “yard” behind our apartment where the owner grew his tomatoes. Soon the tree was 3 feet tall! That’s when I was hooked. It wasn’t until I was an adult that my mother confessed to buying a maple tree at the store and planting it when my seed failed to germinate.

    My grandparents grew beautiful roses, so it must be in my blood!

  11. Theresa Mitchell says:

    1973 I purchased my first home in Florida and luckily had some good starter plants waiting for me. It took me a while to realize trail and error growing plants will make you a better gardener.
    Hope you are safe in this ferocious Autumn.

  12. Robb says:

    Have been gardening for over 34 years, past president of Organic Gardeners of Long Island…the key and the joy is that I am still learning and still having fun….best wishes to everyone, especially those on Long Island!

  13. Connie says:

    My first gardening attempt was when my Girl Scout troop sold seeds (later in the year than cookies). My Mom bought a few of the packets — one was Nasturtiums — and I planted the seeds. This was about 51 years ago!

  14. Kim says:

    My mother is a wonderful gardener. It is her that gave me the gift, which at certain times of the year feels more like I an illness. It consumes me at times. The rewards are breathtaking and some are disappointing. But most gardeners are wired not to give up!

  15. cindy says:

    Count me in!
    I have been gardening and working in the yard for 60+ years! That number is even hard for me to comprehend. I love to garden, I take photos from all angles all a part of being in awe of what goes on in and around the garden. Thank you for offering your new book.

  16. Beth says:

    I have been in love with gardening for four and a half years. The minute we signed for our first home, which had a backyard and therefore gardening space, the bug bit me but good! It came out of nowhere, I never cared that much about gardening before.

  17. Bek says:

    I’ve been gardening and loving it for only 3 years, but it’s 3 years of a garden of my very own rather than pots lugged around between rentals and so has immeasurable meaning to me! Though the pots was still gardening, but somehow this seems more real…

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