Inspiration, Instruction, and Live Q&A from Margaret Roach and Ken Druse
OUR MOST treasured plants are often those that came not from an anonymous catalog, but from a friend’s garden. Likewise, the garden wisdoms that really stick often weren’t those found in a Google search or even a book, but from talking to another gardener who’d been there, done that.
My longtime friend Ken Druse and I have been swapping such advice since we met about 30 years ago. It’s safe to say that our relationship has made us both better gardeners, and we continue to grow together.
We invite you to join us in some of these conversations, and ask your own questions for us to answer, too—that’s what our new Virtual Garden Club is about. Our second semester starts Thursday, January 13, 2022.
Inside the Virtual Garden Club, you’ll get:
- Six live 90-minute classes to attend in real time or watch afterward, where Ken and I will present some of our go-to gardening strategies
- A recorded version of one of Ken’s most popular lectures: “The Scentual Garden: Fragrance for Every Season”
- Monthly to-do lists to help you focus on what’s most important, for greater success
- Your questions answered: Submit questions and photos ahead of each class, and we’ll devote 30 minutes each session to answering a selection. We’ll answer others via email, and crowd-source still more answers in the private Virtual Garden Club Facebook group, which you’ll gain lifetime access to by registering for the club. It’s a place for fellow gardeners to help one another—the way Ken and I have been doing for decades.
The club is an opportunity to learn new strategies and perspectives, get more joy out of your garden, and enjoy the company of a supportive online gardening community led by two quirky gardeners you may know from our lively segments on my long-running public radio show and podcast, “A Way to Garden,” where Ken is a regular. Want to get in on the knowledge-sharing, and make this your best gardening season yet? We want to help you do it—whether you’re just starting out, or building on decades of experience.
This three-month program with over nine hours of live interactive instruction (plus Ken’s fragrance lecture to watch on-demand) is just $159.
What some club members said about last fall’s inaugural semester:
“If you love gardening and nature, this garden club is for you. My gardening and appreciation of nature is stronger, and now I question and wonder with joy.”–D.H.
“The information is relevant to gardeners at all levels, the sessions are expertly moderated, and Margaret and Ken are fantastic!”—L.R.
“Garden club is such a bright spot in what has been a difficult year! So many interesting topics, and great leaders who convey so much love for the topic and knowledge of the field.”—F.H.
“Love these two—their passion, knowledge and willingness to share.”—A.J.
“It feels like Ken and Margaret are sharing the nurturing talents that they bring to gardening…with us! So happy I joined this club.”—C.F.
“Margaret and Ken are the best horticultural companions on your journey to botanical bliss.” —C.B.
What You’ll Learn in Our 6 Live Classes Together
WE’LL ZERO in on the key activities of winter and earliest spring: catalog shopping with a garden plan in mind; growing from seed, and pruning. Each class includes a presentation by me and Ken (the themes are below), with time for your questions about the week’s topic right afterward. After that, we’ll tackle some of your pre-submitted questions.
All times are Eastern; note that two of the six sessions are from 6-7:30 PM, and the other four from 3-4:30 PM.
- Jan. 13, 3-4:30 PM: Shop the seed catalogs with us, with emphasis this class on edibles both historic and cutting-edge. Get recommendations for seed-starting gear that works, from the right lights to potting medium. Begin your own “what, where, and when” plan for the 2022 garden, including planning for successions (even of flowers!).
- Jan. 27, 6-7:30 PM: As much as 90 percent of deciduous shrub and tree pruning can be done in winter, so we’ll get you started. Plus: Seed catalogs Part 2, this time emphasizing exceptional flowers—for cutting, containers, beds and borders, and pollinators. Also: Sowing biennials, and success with leeks and onions.
- Feb. 10, 3-4:30 PM: In videos/live demos, learn from Ken to sow seeds like a pro, and the aftercare steps for the strongest seedlings of edibles and flowers. Plus: realistic strategies for gardening where deer are a factor.
- Feb. 24, 3-4:30 PM: Our curated catalog-browsing turns to plants this time—including great native nurseries for woodland, meadow and prairie species best purchased bare-root or as “liners,” and how to use them. Plus: the latest updates on invasive jumping worms.
- March 10, 6-7:30 PM: Mastering rejuvenation pruning and other late-winter pruning how-to’s, including roses. Plus: The pros and cons of all those gorgeous “nativars” (cultivars of native plants) and how to tell which don’t just look good but provide maximum ecological services, too.
- March 24, 3-4:30 PM: Underplanting: Using mixed groundcovers (aka “living mulch”) to create dynamic designs. Plus: We’re leaving time this week for a wildcard topic TBD, that emerges out of your questions along the way in the previous sessions.
NOTE: Each class will be recorded for your convenience, in case you can’t attend live or want to revisit what we covered, with recordings available until one month after the last live session.
About Ken’s Recorded Lecture ‘The Scentual Garden: Exploring the World of Botanical Fragrance’
P THE fragrance component of your garden—what Ken Druse calls “the invisible garden,” a feature we gardeners all too often overlook when shopping for plants.
In this presentation based on his 20th book, Ken introduces a wholly original survey of botanical fragrance, arranging herbaceous annuals and perennials, shrubs and vines, trees and even houseplants into 12 primary scent categories. You’ll learn how to sample fragrance, design and plant for it, and revel in it as he does.
Ken offers detailed descriptions of the scents you’ll want to experience, and also provides examples of garden designs that offer harmonious scentual delights. As usual, he illustrates his talk with his award-winning photography, also including Ellen Hoverkamp’s vivid images created on a flatbed scanner.
Ready to Join the Club?
We’re inviting you to join us for only $159.
Our Gardening Journeys (and Why Some People are Brave/Crazy Enough to Learn from Us)
KEN DRUSE and I have many overlapping interests, but also distinct ones—like I’m obsessed with not just growing but also putting up each harvest of edibles, and he’s more likely to be off propagating more of a cherished rare shrub from cuttings, or even a massive tree from seed.
We’ve traveled around the country to some of its great gardens together, and even collaborated on books. A little about each of us:
I was fortunate enough to discover gardening almost 40 years ago. It offered me the escape I was looking for after a fast-paced corporate career, and it comforted me as I managed the care for my mother, when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 49.
After 15 years at “Martha Stewart Living” and nearly a decade each at “Newsday” and “The New York Times,” I moved fulltime to my former weekend place in New York’s Hudson Valley, where I experiment with and enjoy my hobby-turned-lifestyle.
The journey has led to an award-winning book, and also lately brought me right back to where my career began, “The New York Times,” where I have written the garden column since April 2020.
Ken’s experiments in the soil started playing with toy trucks in the dirt, and observing the creatures (including bunnies) that shared his family’s suburban quarter-acre. His was a world of forts and dams and holes dug to China. But around age 10 he recalls rescuing a seedling tulip tree from the gutter and planting it, so his propagation obsession started early.
“I find it so thrilling to get a small plant or plant a seed and participate in nurturing it as it grows,” he says.
In college, houseplants took hold of Ken and have never let go. He has gardened on a Manhattan rooftop, a Brooklyn backyard, and for the last 25 years, on an island in a river in rural New Jersey.
Ken is the author and photographer behind an astonishing 20 garden books, including most recently “The Scentual Garden” and “The New Shade Garden,” and has been called “the guru of natural gardening” by “The New York Times.” His books have won many awards, and an archive of 50,000 of his photographs is housed at the Smithsonian Institution in the Ken Druse Collection of Garden Photographs.
Our Personal Gardening Methodology
KEN AND I both believe gardening is a 365-day adventure. And the key to enjoying it isn’t always doing more; it’s opening our eyes and hearts to the beautiful moments happening right under our noses.
We believe in organic gardening, and actually invite insects into our garden, where they generously pollinate our plants and serve as food for the dozens of species of birds that I so enjoy watching.
Some beds in our gardens are more formal, but we believe gardening should be a bit messy, too. It’s nature after all. The goal isn’t to tame your plants; it’s to cultivate them in an environment where they can show off their authentic beauty.
If you resonate with this approach, you’ll love our garden club.
And we’d love to have you.
Let’s Spend Some Time Together in the Garden
Save your seat in the Virtual Garden Club for only $159.