I am a corporate-publishing dropout, having left the city and “success” at the end of 2007 for a life lived much more quietly and close to nature. I garden (publishing a popular garden website since 2008, and opening for tours a few times a season); write books (my third, The Backyard Parables, came out in 2013; more in the works); and lecture a lot, hoping to proselytize others into digging in, too. I also help people make websites.
There was little hope of escaping a career in the world of words, being born to a couple of journalists who also loved to read. The pull was strong enough to sweep in not just me but my sister, Marion, an author and writing teacher. But before looking forward, a look back: I have worked long stints at three places—the New York Times, Newsday, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Tucked in the middle of my years at the Times, I took a break for a two-year editorship of Women’s Sports Magazine, the creation of Billie Jean King. Very early in my career, I wrote the Times‘s Sunday “Women in Sports” column.
At Newsday I was first its fashion editor, and then, at last, my desire to link personal passion and profession converged. In 1990 I became the garden editor of the nation’s 10th-largest daily, located in the heart of prime garden territory: Long Island. It was my Newsday columns that attracted Martha Stewart to hire me as her first garden editor. I loved visiting gardens, and writing—but the company grew, and so did I. Out of the garden I did go. I became head of the Internet-Direct Commerce division, managing the birth of marthastewart.com, and after that EVP/Editorial Director of MSLO’s magazines, books and internet.
In 2008 I began a transition back to being just Margaret—writer and gardener—became Margaret Roach Incorporated (employees: just one!), and moved to my garden in upstate New York, which for more than 20 years had called out to me to be home more than just weekends.
I created awaytogarden.com, reflecting my passion for plants and the object of extensive national praise; authored And I Shall Have Some Peace There and The Backyard Parables. I consult with clients on creating WordPress websites, and even the occasional garden. I am a word person, as I started out by saying, and that applies to the spoken word, too, in lectures and webinars, in-person workshops in my garden in season, and also on my award-winning public-radio show and podcast, likewise called A Way to Garden (more on that below). If I can help you with something, do be in touch.
Horticultural how-to and “woo-woo,” since March 2008, and 92,500 strong on Facebook.
Margaret's weekly public-radio show, from Robin Hood Radio in Sharon, CT, the smallest NPR station in the nation. Listen live at 8:30 AM EDT Mondays, to the replay Saturday morning, or stream the podcast anytime. LISTEN OR SUBSCRIBE FREE: Get the iTunes version; find it on the Stitcher app; or your favorite podcast app. Browse past interviews in the archive.
And I Shall Have Some Peace There, a dropout memoir, 2011
A Way to Garden, 1998, Named Best Book of the Year by Garden Writers of America
The New York Times
1973-1978 and 1981-1985
From copy girl to copy editor, with writing on the side
Women’s Sports Magazine
Editor in Chief, 1978-80
Newsday and New York Newsday
Fashion Editor, 1985-90
Garden Editor, 1990-95
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
SVP, Garden Editor, Martha Stewart Living magazine
EVP, Internet-Direct Commerce
EVP, Editorial Director, Publishing