happy 10th anniversary to a way to garden (your feedback requested)

IT WAS 10 years ago that I hit the button on the first version of A Way to Garden dot com, its oddball mission to disseminate “horticultural how-to and woo-woo.” Something like 1,800 blog posts and tens of millions of page views later, I continue to type. Thank you for listening (and for your 110,000 comments or so).

This next week I’ll recap some best-of highlights of the website, and the public-radio show and podcast that came a few years later, and who knows what else of a celebratory nature (like maybe some giveaways). But for now just this:

Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page to say hello in the comments and tell me something you’ve enjoyed in that time, or some subject you’d like more of. Tell me how long you’ve been reading, if you like.

a little background

THOSE OF YOU who didn’t know me then might not know that starting the website was actually a selfish act—a way for me to (hopefully) rekindle my former garden-writing career. There hadn’t been much time for writing stories in my later corporate years, something I missed when increasing managerial responsibilities at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where I was EVP, Editorial Director for internet, books and magazines, took me farther and farther from hands-on creativity. (My About page tells the whole story of my sordid past.)

Against the advice of most sane people, in late 2007 I was dropping out of “success,” and starting fresh. I was moving from a city of skyscrapers—my office faced the Empire State Building and beyond it the entire New York skyline—to Nowheresville, as I like to call my true home here in the Hudson Valley/Berkshires region on the NY-MA-CT border. I was downshifting from managing a team of 180 people to a team of one (if you include me).

Moving, finally fulltime (oh thank you, thank you), to live in the garden I’d been making on weekends for about 20 years then, and longing for the other five days of each week.

a little secret

BESIDES THE blog posts, since I got here I wrote a whole book about making a fresh start (“And I Shall Have Some Peace There”) and another about the garden and its lessons, both practical and philosophical (“The Backyard Parables”).

Don’t tell my publisher I told you so, but last month I handed in what will be the 21st anniversary edition of my very first book, “A Way to Garden,” to come out in March 2019, new photos and vastly updated text and all. But that’s a secret, and again: You didn’t hear it from me.

Anyhow: Won’t you offer some feedback in the comments about what you’ve enjoyed here, or what you’d like more of?—and maybe how long you’ve been visiting. Meanwhile, happy 10th anniversary to us.

  1. Cassandra says:

    Happy Tenth Anniversary! I have been reading for eight or nine years but I don’t know if I’ve ever commented before. Thank you for being a thoughtful gardener; a voice and a resource for those who delight in the intellectual and artistic marriage that is gardening. You have kept me up late reading about cyclamen and weeds, inspired a visit to Wave Hill, a collection of Ken Druse books on my shelf and a little birdwatching along the way. THANK YOU.

  2. lucille fandel says:

    I just met you, Margaret, for the 1st time on May 5th of this year when my partner & I, together with 2 friends (who have read your blog for years) visited your garden. Since then, I have enjoyed your first book – all the more for having met you and your garden- and especially because I live in one of the hilltowns of western MA and can identify with so much of what you describe (minus, thankfully, the rattlesnakes). Now I shall treasure your blog…. going straight to the article re horsetail.

    I also wonder about what looked like a bit of Goat’s Beard in your garden. I worry that it might want to take over – as it desires to do in mine.

    Peace – and thanks. Lucy

    1. margaret says:

      Thanks for the very nice note, Lucille (and the visit!). I do have goatsbeard, both the big one (Aruncus dioicus) and a small version (A. aethusifolius). I have had the big one for probably 25 or 30 years, and mostly it is still where I placed it. The little one seeds but not in a bad way. I do mulch and weed with a vengeance, so perhaps I just have thwarted any more aggressive tendencies? I don’t know them to be thuggish, at least not here.

  3. Ann Lamb says:

    Also an anniversary for me, it turns out. I found you 3 years ago and have had many satisfying mental conversations with you since. My personal focus has been herbs and the widest variety of vegetables since my first garden in 1964 in Berkeley, CA; reading Elizabeth Schneider’s UNCOMMON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. An interest in non-mainstream fruit and nut trees, this year hazelnuts and pawpaws. Japanese persimmons do well here. I started your newsletter with one of my favorites, Geranium macrorrhizum. Yes, I do love beautiful plants, but even better if they are edible!

  4. Karen says:

    Margaret, Happy Anniversary!!!
    Oh goodness I’ve been listening maybe 5 years? But I think I’ve gone back to the archives and listened to all the podcasts – multiple times! I have learned SO much. I’m now wary of the polka dotted onesies and try to plant in multiples, I look to texture and color more than flowers now. I’ve added a pond and with it frogs. I NEVER use chemicals thanks to you and I’m trying to add more natives all the time. Please never stop what you’re doing I can’t express enough how grateful I am. I had so hoped to get to your open house but unfortunately couldn’t make it- but by golly I will. I think one thing I’d like to know is how you do it all. I mean at the end of the day I ache! Do you do yoga, stretches, space your time, what’s your secret??
    Thank you Margaret. My fallow farmfield is now abuzz, it’s my own little paradise and I thank you for your knowledge and warm approachable style for guiding me. I can’t wait til the next episode…

    1. margaret says:

      What a nice note, Karen; thank you. It makes me happy to get such feedback. How do I not fall down in a heap? I think you are right: I pace myself/space my activities into shorter bursts than once upon a time. I start several different tasks that use different parts of me and do a bit of this and a bit of that — like circuit training! : ) But I get exhausted, too, and there is always a list of things not yet done, so no real secret here but to putter and putter.

  5. Craig says:

    I found a link to your site about 5 years ago when I was getting serious about my own garden. Your trials and successes have helped greatly to see the possibilities (and the work involved) of various conditions in he garden. From shade to sun; wild to well maintained (is there such a thing?) your site has been a great resource and inspiration. Thank you!

  6. Away to Garden is my favorite online resource. Today, I am going back to the Rhubarb compote I’ve been making since your hailstone attack on your rhubarb led to a delicious recipe.

    I listen to your interviews as much as possible, loving hearing from the experts in each field.

    Thank you, Margaret, my friend in the garden.

  7. That was “Field” of course.

    Adding, Happy 10th Anniversary!

    You spoke for our Master Gardeners of Ulster County many years ago. Now I have taught a course or two there. Thanks for the inspiration.


  8. Marina says:

    I stumbled on your page maybe 7 yrs ago and have since always referred to your work because I trust what you say.
    Also, I enjoy Andre’s doodles.
    Thank you for sharing!
    I would enjoy more of you on Instagram.

  9. Kara says:


    I’ve been a dedicated follower for over five years now and I’m never disappointed when I visit your website or listen to your podcasts. As a fellow backyard scientist I feel more in tune with the content on your site than any other on the web! Thank you!

  10. Sharon Desilets says:

    Love your website and have/have read three of your books. Also love you baked beans recipe.:) Keep up the great work!

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