margaret in ‘the washington post’

IT’S ALWAYS a treat to hear “The Washington Post” garden columnist Adrian Higgins’s voice on the other end of the phone. He rung up because he’d received an early copy of the new redo of my 21-year-old book “A Way to Garden.” Adrian, like I have, has been writing about gardening for a long time (he joined The Post in 1994), and so like two old colleagues, we talked about the now and then of our gardening lives, and our gardens. Some of our chat was captured in his April 10 story about me:

“When I asked her about her formative years,” he writes, “I could see a mirror image of my own self in her pained experiences.”

Yes, like those plants I wish I’d never planted—that I will never be rid of, such as the damn Houttuynia, and so many other decisions made out of ignorance. Or how rough I was on myself when the beds I’d make just didn’t look like those glorious photos of vast, non-stop-blooming herbaceous borders in the English garden books that were the gold standard when he and I began gardening in earnest.

We both keep learning, and learning to let go.

Of course as longtime garden journalists we both know a lot of plants, and experts, and how-to advice—the when to prune what, or how deep to plant it. But it’s the other stuff I (we?) love the best, the part I half-teasingly refer to as the “woo-woo” in my motto “horticultural how-to and ‘woo-woo,” and Adrian so “gets it” and put it this way in the column he wrote after our chat:

‘Her examination of the temporal space between the old and new Roach illustrates that gardening is a journey and not a destination,’ he writes. ‘It is something you do and something you live, not something you have.’

So well-said. Here’s the link to his story; enjoy. If you don’t already, be sure to read Adrian’s regular Post columns. (You may need to agree to site terms by clicking BROWSE NOW at this link on the Washington Post website first, for access.)


Categorieswoo woo
  1. Shari says:

    Margaret – so delightful to open the local paper this morning (yes, still get a hard copy!), and find you there! Just can’t wait to read your new book. Shari

  2. Wendy Henrichs says:

    You are not shameless. You are a generous gardener and writer! Looking forward to reading it! Thanks for your fabulously helpful and inspiring blog and writings. So glad you are getting well-deserved attention.

    1. margaret says:

      Thank you, Wendy. This book had special meaning for me — the original kind of launched me on my path — and so it’s satisfying to see it get a new lease on life!

  3. Florence Wiley says:

    Congratulations on your new book, Margaret. I am so looking forward to reading it, holding it in my hands. You are my inspiration.

  4. phyllis says:


    I keep “A Way to Garden”, “the backyard parables” and “and I shall have some peace there” on my nightstand along with my Bible and a few other favorite books.

    Also, I have just started re-reading Henry Mitchell’s books and have recently discovered Allen Lacy. While you each bring a different writing style to the table, you each inspire me in life and in my gardens. Thank you!

    Happy Spring!

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