My online column Old House, Old Garden owes its genesis to two unrelated events. The first was a I call I received the other day, asking once again: “Michael, may I still subscribe to your magazine, Traditional Gardening®?”
The second was a small dinner party I gave recently, in which I was regaling my guests with the adventures, or rather misadventures of restoring, living in and gardening around an 1852 farmhouse. I had just finishing telling the story of how, in my very first attempt at an elegant Thanksgiving dinner at the house, the entire lower sash of the dining room window blew out just as I was about to carve the turkey, when one of my friends, still laughing, asked “Why don’t you write these stories down?”
Good questions, both.
The answer to the first – why Traditional Gardening is no longer published in print format – is easy. Money. After four years, a huge amount of fun and very few profits, I was lured away by a very lucrative offer from Country Living to be their gardening editor. Still, I missed TG, as did the readers. Rarely a month went by when someone didn’t find an old copy lying around somewhere, and call trying to subscribe.
The second question, why not write my adventures down, wasn’t so easy. I had thought about it. In fact, I had been toying with writing a book, Old House, Old Garden, for years. But one thing or another got in the way (like two more books, and hosting The Victory Garden series on PBS!) and I just never got around to pulling the material together. Writing a non-fiction book is a daunting task, requiring huge amounts of time and energy to produce a product, all to be eventually launched willy-nilly into an extremely uncertain publishing market. Did I really want to go down that road a fourth time? The frank answer was no, especially with the publishing world in such disarray.
Then it came to me. Why not put Traditional Gardening online, using a familiar format, the blog?. But not just a blog: real articles, with real content, useful to real gardeners. With ten years additional experience researching historical gardens under my belt, I could continue the scholarship we had accomplished so well at Traditional Gardening – plus throw in some practical advice I’ve garnered from almost 20 years spent in restoring and expanding the gardens around my own old house – not to mention telling an occasional amusing tale or two, all at the same time – without losing my financial shirt.
So, for the thousands of print Traditional Gardening readers: Welcome back. And for the rest, just plain welcome.