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Filming Garden Author Margaret Roach

One of the biggest perks about my job as Co-Executive Producer of Growing A Greener World, is that I sometimes get to pre-interview some of my personal garden heroes before writing out the production outline for filming. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to do this!

After spending time re-reading their books, sifting through articles and just generally researching some of my favorite people, I get to sit down and talk shop with them over the phone or Skype. I can ask them all the garden questions I have ever wanted to know AND I get to do this multiple times while prepping for the shoot. It totally rocks!

Margaret Roach

Margaret Roach

Such is the case with Margaret Roach – the former high powered, high profile corporate executive who left her job as EVP and Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Living for a new life out in the country working in and writing about her garden. She writes the incredibly prolific garden blog A Way to Garden, has a podcast, lectures and has written several books including The Backyard Parables that I reviewed here several months ago. To say that I am a big fan is an understatement.

Now after numerous conversations, I feel lucky to know her. Of course, you can never really know someone after only a few Skype calls. But after practically stalking her as I research this episode, I feel as if I have an even deeper appreciation for her work than I did before. On our last phone call, she ended up being late for another appointment because we were so deeply engrossed in our conversation about “teachable garden moments”,  we lost track of time. Yep. I could talk to her all day. Or follow her around like a puppy helping her weed her garden. Either one.

We film Margaret and her beautiful garden in a few days. And as much as I would love, love, love to be on this shoot, I had to pass due to other family commitments. That’s okay. I know I can see her garden on one of her open tour days in the future.

In writing out the show’s outline, I wanted to include everything that we discussed. Although I managed to squeeze in many for the episode, a few tidbits didn’t make it. So, I thought I would share a few of my favorites here with links to Margaret’s related blog posts for more information.

A Sampling of Margaret Roach’s Garden Lessons:

  1. Design your garden from the inside looking out. We actually are covering this in the episode, but it was so good I had to include it here. Margaret was telling me how she unconsciously designed the garden this way when she first started working her piece of land and now she does it very deliberately. It makes perfect sense! We spend most of our time looking at our garden from our inside windows. So which ever window you find yourself looking out of the most, be sure you have the best view from there.
  2. Spectacular underplantings take time – Be patient! Margaret has these spectacular beds under some of her trees that look natural yet magnificent. Those did not happen by accident and they take time to achieve. As she says, she came “very slowly and painfully to this lesson, dragged by some much more talented friends.” She gives all the stops to achieve the look on her post.
  3. You Can Use Cardboard as Weed Smothering Mulch. I totally do this in my garden now thanks to Margaret! She wrote about it on her blog about a year ago. When I had a large area full of weed seeds this year, I tested out the theory. It worked beautifully!

Using cardboard as mulch

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.