BACK TO SCHOOL: My outdoor event season ends in mid-September each year, and the online teaching I kicked off last winter resumes. My fall lineup of classes includes a new webinar on gardening for the birds, and another on garden writing (not just for writers, but everyone). My most popular lecture, on making a 365-day garden, is back by demand, too, with topics like seed-catalog shopping and growing from seed to be added closer to catalog-drop time.
seed secrets: from the political to the practical (and my best sources)
- Monday Dec. 11, 2017 at 6:30 PM Eastern; repeats Tuesday Jan. 9, 2018 at 2:30 PM Eastern.
WANT TO GROW your best vegetable garden ever (and the herbs and flowers to go with it)? It all starts with a seed—and choosing the right varieties, from sources that match your garden conditions. In a lively and information-filled slideshow, I’ll demystify the politics and also the practical “aha’s” to get you growing with confidence. You’ll want to order copies of all my favorite catalogs to peruse; a list will be provided as a handout.
Note: This is an online webinar-style event, presented on GoToWebinar software.* A week before the event, ticketholders receive links to get set up to attend; it’s easy.
what the slide talk covers
We’ll cover topics like these, and more:
- Where does the seed in catalogs come from, anyhow?
- Does buying organic seed matter?
- Are hybrids OK? Are heirlooms better in some way? (And how do I avoid GMOs, which is all everyone asks these days?)
- How do I make a calendar for what to sow when?
- My seedlings were spindly (or germinated fine, but then pooped out). Why?
- How come my harvest didn’t look like the photo in the catalog?
- What annual flowers can I rely on, that also help my garden?
- How can I solve my tomato troubles, or other pest issues?
- What easy tactics can I use for putting up the harvest for year-round use?
order a ticket
for the birds: a garden webinar with margaret roach
- Wednesday Jan. 17, 2018 at 6:30 PM; repeated Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 at 2:30 PM (EDT)
I ALWAYS say the birds taught me to garden. And I thank them.
What started out decades ago as merely a semi-conscious wish to see more birds while I started a garden on a former blank canvas, ended up bringing about 65 avian species into the garden each year, each in its own time, with a smaller but substantial number nesting in it or at its periphery.
In this 90-minute webinar, I’ll share all my “if I knew then what I know now” aha’s about setting realistic aims (no, not every site is going to attract bluebirds no matter how many boxes you buy!) and accomplishing them—all with in the context of a visually pleasing home landscape.
The class includes Q&A time after the slide talk, so come prepared with your questions. We’ll cover:
- Take proper aim: Before you misdirect efforts, how to evaluate what birds you can potentially attract, anyway
- The top 7 guidelines for making a garden that makes birds right at home, including…
… how to “retrofit” an existing garden that may be more aesthetically driven or a collector’s garden
- The powerhouse plant genera that are key elements of inviting birds, wherever you garden
- Creating what I call bio-hedges and other mixed plantings to make birds at home—and finding room for them in your yard
- Best practices for bird-feeding, nest boxes, and other non-plant garden elements (both do’s and don’ts)
- Plus lots of amazing avian “aha’s” I’ve gleaned along the way, and…
…the “must” resources online and off that will plug you into the location-specific info you need
This class will be broadcast live using GoToWebinar software, accessible on your computer, iPad or even phone—but I recommend a bigger screen to see the photos best. Once you purchase a ticket, you’ll receive instructions for how to get into the GoToWebinar system and download the software, and reminders along the way before class time.
A handout will be provided including top plants, links to online resources to continue your learning, and more.
I hope you’ll join me for my newest webinar, about my favorite subject.
nonstop plants: making a 365-day garden (webinar)
- Thursday Jan. 4, 2018 at 6:30 PM Eastern; repeated Tuesday Feb. 6 at 2:30 PM Eastern.
WANT TO ATTEND my most popular garden lecture—about making, and enjoying, a four-season garden—no matter where you live? I’ve adapted it into a webinar, to reach people beyond the geographic areas where I speak in person these days.
This event will take place using the software from GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar, that’s free and easy to install. You’ll be sent a link right away to get the software, then a week ahead of time, you’ll be sent a link to use to join the event, and simple instructions how to get ready.
You’ll also get a handout to accompany the talk, with the names of any plants mentioned and other details.
Here’s what the hour slide talk – with full half-hour Q&A period afterward – will cover:
Want to make a garden for all seasons? I love looking out my windows 365 days a year—not just in “garden season.”
Expressions commonly heard each September like “the season’s almost over” don’t sit well with me. I have worked for more than 25 years to make my place in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA) area a visual treat every day of the year, not just May to September. In this talk, you’ll meet the plants and the philosophy that make it happen, delivered with a dose of “horticultural how-to and woo-woo.” (Oh, and some really bad jokes, too.)
In a slide lecture (followed by Q&A) you’ll hear:
- The background of how I came to garden here—with a little “before and after” for perspective
- How and why I made a four-season garden—and the basic principles of garden design that I applied
- How to shop for plants with that goal in mind (with profiles of many of my garden-worthy favorites)
- What makes the garden so appealing to nearly 70 species of birds and other welcome wildlife how to go beyond “outdoor decorating” aimed at pure visual effect, and really engage with the garden through all your senses and emotions (that’s the “woo-woo” part!)
garden writing for everyone (webinar)
- Thursday January 25 at 6:30 PM Eastern
IT’S A CLOSE CALL: Have I pulled more weeds, or written more words?
This 90-minute online webinar class is open to any and all who occasionally find themselves speechless at what they experience in the garden and nature, but wish to put it into words.
Gardening, and writing, are the two inextricably interwoven practices that have shaped my life for decades. I cannot imagine being without either; each is far more than a mere career component. I heartily recommend digging into both—even if simply for your own sanity and joy in a private journal, rather than for publication.**
I’ll encourage you to give voice to what comes up when you head outside into your own backyard and beyond, into the greater natural realm.
All are welcome; no prior writing experience required. Prerequisite: a sense of awe about the garden and the wider outdoor world.
In one session with Q&A time at the end, we’ll cover:
- Where garden writing can take you: My journey from garden journal and basic how-to articles, to essay and opinion-page pieces, to book-length, nature-infused memoir. “Garden writing” also inspired me to become something of a naturalist, which has greatly enriched my life.
- What to read: The other gardeners’ and naturalists’ voices who inspired my planting and prose: a booklist of inspirational reading to get you writing (or to savor just for pleasure).
- When to tune in to the bigger picture: I advocate that anyone writing about gardening learn their way around a field guide and the best natural-science reference resources online.
- Why you can’t be too curious: The best garden and nature writers share one key trait: insatiability. I’ll offer examples that show you how even the smallest details outdoors become catalysts for great writing.
- Who is your cast of characters? Do you garden with a spouse, or just talk to the birds (like I do)? There are various approaches to harnessing other voices in the garden.
- How starting a garden blog can offer a jumpstart and needed structure to a writing practice if used wisely (but if expectations are not managed it can drive you mad).
Why offer this class?
**Mostly, I share inspiration and information about how to garden—not about how to write. My sister, Marion Roach Smith, is likewise a writer (as were our parents), and for 20 years she has been teaching and coaching memoir writers. Lately, at in-person classes and webinars, many students are asking for a class that addresses first-person writing deriving its inspiration from the garden and nature. Our plan is to teach that together, but it got me thinking: I should do a more introductory class first.
If you’re interested in taking it further, later this year a more in-depth class specifically aimed at those wishing to sharpen their garden- and nature-themed memoir-writing skills will be offered, in collaboration and co-taught with Marion of The Memoir Project.
About Margaret Roach
For nearly 30 years, Margaret Roach has shared her love of gardens and nature in writing, on radio, and in person, by lecturing widely and teaching. She was a copy editor at “The New York Times,” where she also wrote a column about women’s sports (!!!). She was fashion editor and then garden editor at “Newsday;” the first garden editor at “Martha Stewart Living,” and then EVP/Editorial Director of Martha’s company, in charge of content for internet, magazines, and books. She is the author of several books, and since 2008 has created A Way to Garden dot com, with a companion podcast. Her garden writing has also been also published in “The New York Times,” “Country Gardens,” “Organic Gardening,” “More,” and elsewhere.