It was this question that prompted the former Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Living to do her own soul searching, and make the bold decision to leave the 'city' behind for a more fulfilling life in rural upstate New York.
Margaret chronicles her quest for fulfillment in her new book that will be released on February 23rd, "And I Shall Have Some Peace There,"
In December of 2007, Margaret made the decision to leave MSLO to fulfill the craving for different rewards: "solitude, a return to the personal creativity of writing, and a closer connection to nature and my first passion, the garden I'd been making on weekends for 20 years."
Once she settled back into what had been a 'weekend home" for years, Margaret began AWayToGarden.com, named after her 1989 prize-winning book. The New York Times named it the best garden blog, and rightly so. From the very first day the site was 'live' to the world, it was obvious that Margaret was living her passion for gardening. Together with her blog readers, Margaret shared "real" gardening how-to (and woo-woo as she says..), and shared her many triumphs and (a few) failures, that every gardener experiences. AWayToGarden.com quickly grew from a handful of readers to thousands. (I'm pleased to say I was among the first handful!)
One of my favorite covers from Martha Stewart Living was shot in Margaret's garden in upstate New York.
I first became familiar with Margaret when she held the position of garden editor for Martha Stewart Living. It was then that I grew to appreciate her gardening philosophy and gained a lot of respect for her knowledge and wisdom. As Margaret's role changed to editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I was struck by her heart-felt monthly letters to readers. I especially recall the period during Martha's legal troubles . When it seemed as though there was a push to 'remove' Martha from the publication, Margaret always wove in Martha's importance to the company, the readers and viewers, and to all those that she inspired. One letter stands out in my mind, when the magazine underwent the masthead "makeover." The letter was about change. I've read that letter many times in that particular September issue, and I've always been left with the impression that Margaret, as editor, was not convinced that the changes being made were for the best. Margaret was my hero from that point forward.
In Margaret's garden. Notice the familiar pots from the cover of MSL?
In 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret and touring her beautiful gardens during an open garden tour in May. While there were many people to tend to and talk to, Margaret was so kind, and spent a few minutes with us talking about the gardens, conducting the tours, and Jack, the Demon Cat (her words.. not mine!) who adopted her following 9/11.
Since the release date of "And I Shall Have Some Peace There" was announced, I've had unending anticipation. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever anticipated a book release more. The idea of giving up what is 'safe' as a career to live out a passion (or two), is exactly where I'm at in my own life. I've sat down and asked myself all the questions about making such a transition, and often become riveted with fear to take the final leap into my own world. I'm anxious to read her experiences and about her thought process.
Margaret made a wonderful video that needs to be shared with the world. Please take a few minutes (a little over four, to be exact..) and watch this video. Once you watch, I have every confidence that you'll want to make yourself a good cup of tea, and curl up with this book as much as I want to.
For more information about "And I Shall Have Some Peace There" and prepare yourself for the gardening season ahead, visit her blog(s) at awaytogarden.com