The Dirt Diva

Tailoring your garden to your needs!

Armchair Gardening: Margaret Roach’s Columbia County garden tour


Armchair gardening is what I do in the off season, when its too crappy to go outside and play. As a pro gardener, I stay sharp by learning from other gardeners I admire. Reading their blogs and books, going to workshops, and occasionally taking a field trip to visit their gardens in person are all ways I stay inspired. Lately, my armchair gardening consists of looking over photos I took this past June when I visited the home of Margaret Roach, (a Columbia County, NY gardener who is also a published author and talented blogger), and by reading one of her books. Its a great combo!

Margaret has been gardening in this spot for at least 20 years, and she employs several techniques for a dramatic and successful perennial garden. Underplanting trees and shrubs with drifts or mosaics of shade tolerant perennials, designing beds based on leaf texture/color/shape rather than for flower color, and planting large drifts of the same plant in scale with the surroundings. The impact is stunning, and the gardens look very evolved and mature but not overly fussy and manicured. They are as stunning up close as they are from a distance.

You can visit Margaret’s blog “A Way to Garden” anytime, by going to, where you’re sure to learn heaps of helpful garden tips, find copies of her books, and learn when her next Open Garden Day is scheduled.

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