new video: ‘i garden because i can’t help myself’

WHEN THE SOULS WERE HANDED OUT, I was given the one of gardener. This reading from my new book “And I Shall Have Some Peace There,” accompanied by video from my world, explains that I garden because I cannot help myself. You?




    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome to Jen, Barbara. Sweet of you to encourage me! Thank you.

      Hello to Peter. From your mouth to Buddha’s ear…

  2. Christine says:

    Thank you, Margaret, for articulating what I cannot. As a little girl I was forced into garden servitude by each of my dear grannies. I weeded dutifully, all the while muttering under my breath that I would NEVER, EVER have a garden when I was a grown-up. Hahaha! Little did I know that the die had already been cast.

  3. Jayne says:

    Love the video, love the spoken word. I garden to be more a part of the natural world, to understand it on a personal level beyond just looking, admiring or admonishing.

  4. Barbara S. says:

    I so enjoyed your video, your reading is just what I needed to hear today.
    I’ve spent most of my day in my Southern California yard getting ready for Spring.
    After a long pampering shower, two “Aleve”, and a generous amount of hand lotion, I am ready to pour a glass of wine, and unwind. I will be reflecting on your words; they resonate to my core.

  5. Elaine says:

    I so enjoyed reading your book, Margaret, but I would rather listen to you reading from it any day. I hope you will be recording the audio to your book if you haven’t already!

  6. Diantha says:

    Why do i garden? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself since I “met” you in December. I’ve never stopped to wonder why. I just always have. Maybe it’s in my genes. My father’s family farmed alfalfa, sugar beets, cotton, and similar crops. As a child I spent a lot of time alone in my mother’s and grandmother’s gardens. My best answer is it’s a natural outcome of how I grew. I would never think not to.

  7. Pam says:


    I bought your book after seeing you on the Martha show a couple of weeks ago. You sounded so much like myself, I just had to read about your quest for peace. I quit my job last April 1 after 31 one years as a Human Resources professional. After dealing with thousands of people over the years, I too was ready for peace. I already lived in the country, so I didn’t have to go far to start doing all the things I never had time for but was so eager to do. Just last summer alone I was able to grow prize winning (at the local county fair) herbs and roses. I have just today planted my cold weather crops of kale, spinach and turnip greens. One big difference between you and me is that I have a husband, 2 daughters and six grandchildren, so I am not able to experience quite the peace that you do. I am about to become a chicken farmer with one of my grandchildren through his 4H project. My former coworkers are all so envious when they say “how’s retirement”, and I answer, “I’m living the dream!” I am so glad that when I finish your book, I will still be able to follow your newsletter and blog.

  8. Margit Van Schaick says:

    I realized that I am a gardener at age nine when my mother gave me a packet of Black Seeded Simpson lettuce to sow . I checked it every day as it developed into exquisite plants. Deciding to start harvesting the next day, I imagined the beautiful salad I would make. What a heartbreak when my next visit showed only ragged, chomped-down remnants left by deer! I actually grieved over the loss of these lettuces, having totally fallen in love with them. Next time,I sowed the seeds near the house,not by the barn.
    That soul-filling sense of peace one has when in love with gardening can be experienced in many other ways: it’s just that gardening,offering it’s magical key to connection with Nature (or the Universe or God or whatever you call the sacred), is a Scheherazade of continuing stories, season after season, as long as the gardener lives.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Pam. I’m jealous of the chickens! Lucky you — too many varmints here for that, I think. I still work every day at my writing and internet projects to earn a living, but at least I’m the boss. :)

      Welcome, Margit. How well I recall the first losses to deer (and the 100th). Then I got a fence! But I kept on through it, too, as you say so beautifully. Thanks!

  9. Linda R. says:

    Hi from the UK. I’ve just finished your book, and I loved it. It’s still too cold to plant out here, but things are growing from seed and my year is beginning.
    Every time I watch the terrible news from Japan I feel the need to go and check on my baby seedlings – in my tiny way I am helping nature to create life, when there is so much destruction around us.
    Thank you for a book that we can sink into, to help us tap into the healing power of gardens.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Linda. Exactly how I am feeling; so needing the connection and affirmation that there is still possibility, and hope. Thanks for your kind comment; see you soon.

  10. Robin says:

    The book is wonderful. Your smile and nodding of your head at the end of this video tells a story of its own. As Martha says, “It’s a good thing.”

  11. Sophia says:

    Dear Margaret,

    Thank you for leaving MS to follow your heart and now for wirting this spell binding book which speaks to my soul. It also speaks my soul, for I am in the beginning process of building and creating my passion, my garden. Right now, your book, my gardening tools, seeds and the earth are walking, meditating and singing through this spring. And on the rainy days (of which there are many here in Oregon) your book is filling most of the time.

    I wish for the sun by the time I finish reading “and I shall have some peace there”.

    Then I can continue the “meditation” with the soil and not miss your words so much!

    Thank you again for sharing a fulfilled and beautiful life.


  12. Alicia says:


    I read your book on the plane back from Europe a few weeks ago. It was fantastic. I loved the juxtaposition of life’s phases with nature’s seasons. Beautiful.

    I am a crappy gardner. I can’t get much to grow, my sun is never right and the soil is always a bit too hard. But, for some strange reason, I keep at it. The tug to get it right far outweighs the toil, and the small victories trump the vast disappointments.

    Keep reading, writing and living your life. You give us inspiration.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Sophia. How sweet of you to send such good wishes. Hope to see you soon again.

      Welcome, Alicia. No worry about being “a crappy gardener.” I always say “you have to grow it to know it” so practice is the only way to get the knack. And we all have failures every year.

  13. Lisa says:

    I purchased your book on Friday, haven’t wanted to put it down. Had my grandsons over weekend so not much time to read. I so admire you and wish I could do something similar. I have lived in the country, on old farms all my life; like the phrase from the song, the only land I’ll ever own is on the bottom of my shoes. My husband was a dairy farmer, we had registered holsteins, we’ve had goats for my children, rabbits, and chickens still. My husband voluntarily abandoned us in 2006, it has been difficult to manage on my own financially but it’s my belief the Lord has provided. I’m thankful we have been able to stay on this old place, it’s home even though will never be mine. For years we provided all our food from the garden we tended, now eggs as well. My oldest daughter married her husband here in our garden lovingly tended by me. It has been neglected so long now, not much beauty left, kind of like my life. I thoroughly enjoyed your first book A Way to Garden, seems many years ago, and am enjoying this one and don’t want it to end. I feel as if my life has been completely controlled by my circumstances and financial need, survival for myself and children. I have so very often wanted to just quit, walk away, but responsibility and fear prevent. I enjoy your blog so much and this new gift you’ve lovingly penned and shared. Thank you!

  14. Patti M says:


    I just finished reading your lovely book. I remembered the first time I read the Nearing’s book. I was quite young then. Life and years, big houses, little homes, big gardens and small. Your book so wonderfully describes the difficulties and pleasures of life with the garden always at our soul.

    I wish you nothing but more success for your heart’s dream.


    1. Margaret says:

      Thank you, Patti, and welcome. I remember the first time I read the Nearings, too. Oh, how they touched my lives, though I never knew them. Thank you for the kindness of your message today.

  15. Sue says:


    I only recently came upon your blog and have been enjoying it ever since. Just listened to the audio clip of your book (of which I am now very anxious to run out and purchase), your words truly seemed to be coming from my soul. They brought tears to my eyes. No one understands my relentless pursuit of my gardening. They just look at me with curiosity telling me I am the most diligent person they have ever seen. We purchased our 5 acres in the Pacific Northwest 16 years ago and have been trying to tame it ever since. I love the cottage garden style and that is what I am pursuing. I didn’t “officially” put in beds until 4 years ago so they are all on the young side. We have spent the majority of our time dealing with falling trees, blackberries, clearing brush, raising our family etc… Not to mention the havoc created by destructive puppies. But I am on my way and moving forward. By the end of the summer I will have a total of approximately 50 perennial beds. This includes a cutting garden with 26 rows , but does not include my “potager style” vegetable garden. There are woodland beds yet to come, and I am beginning to contemplate gardens that will surround my small greenhouse when it is built. Meanwhile, the chickens are ordered and we are making plans for the small stable that will house my beloved horses. We move at a snails pace due to the fact that my husband is self employed in the advertising/marketing business and I don’t work outside of my home and gardens. I constantly think I should go back to work but the gardeners voice in my head whispers, “but what about my beds?” I have a darling cottage awaiting the actual birth of my flower business, but first… I must get power to that darling cottage and get the beds in around it. As I put this all into actual printed words I too begin to think I am crazy, but I feel as though you do. Gardening is meditative and humbling. I do not hire out the work as I don’t want anyone elses hands touching my beds. When I am on my knees weeding, planting, trimming, etc… I am completely in the moment. Raking the thousands of leaves that fall every year brings me a peace I cannot explain. I feel as though my soul would suffer terribly if I were unable to garden.

    I am blogging at tangledgardens@blogspot.com if you are interested. Very different from yours and looking a little stale at the moment, but I am putting that back up towards the top of my list. Cannot wait to curl up with your books and enter your world.

  16. shira says:

    Just beautiful! I hope you don’t mind if I share it on my blog – i’ll be posting more about the book when I finish it (hopefully before spring really arrives!)

  17. Donna says:

    Margaret, I watched your video and it touched so close to my heart it actually brought tears. I’ve gardened our property for almost 20 years. When I take a long slow walk through it (15+ acres) I feel somehow like it is a child I’ve raised and am proud of. Yes there have been struggles…much like those “terrible two’s” but now it’s mature and pleasurable to be around :-) Ever growing, ever changing and I’m at peace here. I knew I wanted to buy your book…but after hearing you read from it…I know I have to buy it. I will hear your voice in the words. Thank you.

  18. ann says:

    Know how it is, that resolve of not adding more plants, water rings left on indoor furniture, too many cucumbers to pickle, and the list goes on. It is not like quitting smoking, where one can give it up one time and be done, addiction to gardening involves so much and it continues forever. I can’t quit gardening and still find peace and joy and other rewards and often wonder why anyone would want to give it up. Great book and loved to hear you reading.

  19. Jennie says:


    I asked my daughter to check on this book for me at Barnes and Noble. Guess what? She got it for me – for my birthday that is coming up on the 26th. I started reading it last night – just a little of it though as I want to make it last. I have only just recently found your website and just LOVE it. You are really quite an inspiration!! I look forward to my visits with your book!! Thank You!!

  20. Marie S says:


    As I read your book, everything resonated with me. If only all of us who long for solitude and to just “be” in the garden could do what you have done. Since I am not a writer I can not express in words how I wish I could have the life you have created. I was a single mom working at a soul sucking job for 30 years. I still have too many ties and not enough capital to break free. Your writing and your garden are beautiful!
    Thank you for living your life as it was intended to be.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Marie. I am trying. There are always going to be fears and “what if…” thoughts, but I look out the window at the light and the landscape and think, I’ll figure it all out somehow. :) See you soon!

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