stray thought: a way, or away, to garden?

green logoI USED TO BECOME IMPATIENT WHEN PEOPLE would type the name of my blog as Away to Garden. Yes, I know; in a url address you cannot tell where words start or end, but the blog was named for my funny old book: “A Way to Garden,” as in the way I garden, here; just my way, one way among many, yes, but the only one I can really offer first-hand, with conviction. Like in the bright green box up top. Now, more than a year and a half into rural living, with glimpses of the city life I knew fading fast, I find myself falling prey to the trap: I, too, am unconsciously typing Away to Garden, as in: I moved away from the city to garden (or live in the garden, at least). How do you hear the name of the blog in your head? Nutty, huh?

  1. mss @ Zanthan Gardens says:

    I heard it both ways and thought you intended the double meaning. Looking for clues in the banner, the fact that the “W” is so much smaller than the “A”, I concluded that you really meant “Away”.

    Also, if you wanted to emphasize “way”, you could have said “The way to garden” or (realizing that there are many approaches) “One way to garden”.

    Given that you are a professional writer, I think you subconsciously made the title ambiguous; you explained that you left New York City to start a new life in your garden. Strange that you initially reacted negatively against the double-meaning that both your subconscious and readers caught. Was that because it made you realize here was a whole gardening audience that was unfamiliar with your earlier work? Well, now we know.

  2. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    Margaret,… Times change, People change, and Things change. MAYBE in 1988, when you wrote “A Way To Garden”, you looked at life from a more ROSY, youthful, hopeful, and romantic prospective. You were going to help all the fledgling gardeners be BETTER at their hobby-passion. But as time passed, and you had to see the STORM that came up at MSL, you might have seen life, and the publishing business from another perspective. You probably had to interact with a lot of people with attitudes. Maybe you wanted to say AWAY with you annoying copy writers, AWAY with you diva photographers, AWAY with you over the top stylists, and AWAY with you, to every person of attitude that you had to interact, and put up with. MAYBE you had ENOUGH of all the DRAMA, and said “I am Out of Here”, and “A way to garden” BECAME your personal mantra “AWAY to GARDEN” All along there could have been something FREUDian about the title.

  3. bavaria says:

    When I first happened upon the name of this blog, I heard a clipped, British accent in my head, as in, “Toodles, I’m away to garden”. Funny!

  4. Deborah says:

    I came across your blog about a year ago, and definitely thought the name was “away to garden” giving it a lovely, lilting, rather Scottish sound. I now realise I heard it wrong, but either way works well, and I’m a great new fan. Your gardening advice from upstate NY is very helpful to this English gardener in northeast PA.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Deborah. Scottish accents are lovely, so I love thinking of it that way now, thanks. Glad to have you among us, and hope your holiday is wonderful. See you soon again.

  5. Nancy Williams says:

    At first encounter, it registered as AWAY to Garden, sort of like “Off to garden”. I also “heard” it as being uttered in a British accent (a la Beverly Nichols escaping from that dreadful, busybody neighbor, having been waylaid too long by her in the village).
    Later it occurred to me that it could be the other way, “A Way to Garden”, and wondered which ’twas.
    Having read it a bit now, I feel it plays out organically as both (and now that we know the REST of the story) the dual nature of the title is even more special, as in the how volunteer plants when they blend more harmoniously/strikingly with their neighboring plants than any one might have consciously chosen.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Nancy. Love the Beverly Nichols reference. :) It amuses me that it works both ways, but years ago when I did the book, I never thought consciously about the double meaning. The mind works in strange ways, however. See you soon again, I hope.

  6. lynn druskat says:

    up up and away, to the garden, where i spend more time, than any where else. funny, just now in my life do i have the urge to just sit and look around, yes, i see the things that need doing, but, for now, they can wait, i am being called to be the observer, or, i am just getting tired. either way, away to the garden for me. still love this book, have shared it with so many. L

  7. Colleen Long says:

    hi, Margaret – I broke a tooth this morning while eating my steel-cut oatmeal with honey & raisins. That unfortunate start to my day turned into an amazing blessing…during my 2:00 p.m. dentist visit for my “crown prep”, I borrowed (stole) the March, 2011, edition of More magazine, and subsequently learned about you. I feel as though you’ve put into words what I’ve been struggling with for about a year now, and just maybe my life will never be the same…or at least I hope so. Thank you for your story. I ordered your book from Amazon this evening, and signed up for your e-newsletter. I look forward to reading/enjoying/learning more.

    quick question – the green Adirondack-type chair that you occupy in one of your photographs, and the similar red chairs that are in another photo…could you share where you found those? I like the look of them, and might like to acquire a few.

    thanks much, Margaret – enjoy the spring, and I look forward to following your cultivation of plants and other projects…including the “completeness” of your life in the country.

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