Our Favorite Garden Blog Gets A New Look For Its 2nd Birthday
One of the first stories on Rural Intelligence two years ago was about Margaret Roach, the former editorial director of Martha Stewart Living, who had recently moved full time to her longtime weekend house in Copake Falls, NY, and started a website called A Way To Garden.com. Since then she has posted hundreds of articles, thousands of pictures and received more than 10,000 comments from her readers. “Since I launched the redesign, traffic is up 45 percent,” Roach says with delight. “I had 8,000 page views yesterday and my first 400 comment post.”
So what makes A Way To Garden.com new and improved? For one thing, the ever-inventive Roach has created an easy to navigate index. “I have a lot of evergreen content and I needed an index like you’d find in a book,” she explains. “When you click on a topic, you get thumbnails on a subject such as tomatoes or groundcovers. That was my real innovation. You don’t need to know the name of the tree you are looking for, you can browse through the pictures to find what you want to know. Visual navigation is essential to a garden site. I’ve made A Way to Garden more photo driven.” Roach is very driven herself. In the past two years, she has written a “dropout memoir,” And I Shall Have Some Peace There, which will be published in February, and started another, multi-layered blog called The Sister Project. Somehow, she still finds time to maintain her legendary garden that is a perennial favorite on charity tours. Now she’s teaming up with her friend Bob Hyland of Loomis Creek Nursery in Hudson to offer private classes for serious gardeners. “I like to nurture and grow all sorts of things,” she says.