Everybody's a Critic

Behind the Scenes at Martha Stewart’s Garden

Martha Stewart.com has undergone a "complete renovation," according to its press release.  And becauseMartha_2 her PR firm has the good sense to alert bloggers to the news, here we are with a brief review of the site, now conveniently organized by "lifestyle interest," including Gardening.

First, it’s attractive and easy to navigate.  Contentwise, it’s a compilation of articles that presumably were first published in Martha’s magazine.  I read the ones that I feel qualified to critique and can report that they’re well worth a look.  Good information, good presentation.  I only have one question for Martha’s gardening editor:  Do all trees and shrubs and perennials really need to be fertilized every spring?  The ones in my own garden look pretty damn good with just a fresh layer of leafmold mulch in the spring.  I save money and the Chesapeake Bay gets a break.

And one more question.  Why is it that the article called Rose Basics, which talks a lot about watering,  doesn’t mention the number one issue in rose maintenance — spraying? 

But still, Andrewb_lthere’s lots of good information here, including a piece about the New England Wildflower Society and their Garden in the Woods, and quite a bit about the growing of vegetables.

So let’s pull back that curtain and look behind the scenes of Martha Stewart Garden.  Turns out the writer is Andrew Beckman – landscape architect, Longwood Gardens-trained professional gardener, and Martha’s own personal gardener.  So if you like the way Martha’s garden looks – and how could you not? – these articles just might help you bring a little Marthaness into your own humble garden.  Or take a look at this pdf about Beckman’s own garden for more inspiration.  Beckman and his partner also run a cool little nursery in Hudson, New York called Loomis Creek.  Their website reveals: 

Our goal is to grow, sell, and showcase distinctive, cutting-edge garden plants to adventurous gardeners.  Our nursery is in a peaceful garden setting and demonstration
borders and containers promote an artful and ecologically sound
approach to gardening and home improvement. We are avid plantsmen, hands-on gardeners, and educators and strive to provide expert knowledge and advice to our customers.

…all of which gives me a sudden urge to visit Hudson, New York as soon as possible.  But it also makes me wonder why Martha’s garden pages don’t include a little "About the Editor" link so readers can find more than his name and mug shot.  I had to leave the site and Google him to find this.  Sure, he’s a nice-looking guy, but discerning readers want to know a writer’s qualifications (or in the case of About.com, the lack thereof.)

Posted by on April 14, 2007 at 4:40 am, in the category Everybody's a Critic.
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17 Responses to “Behind the Scenes at Martha Stewart’s Garden”

  1. I guess it depends on where you garden but I rarely spray my roses. Sometimes one of them gets mildew and balls if we have a humid spring. Another occasionally gets black spot. Neither problem is severe enough for me to want to spray them. So I wouldn’t consider it to be the number one issue in rose maintenance. I’d be more interested in advice on watering, feeding, and pruning.

  2. Andrew Beckman is definitely the real deal. Loomis Creek Nursery is well worth the trip – I have visited a few times since meeting him a little over a year ago, and never been disappointed – if you go, expect unusual varieties, lots of knowledge and openness about what they have, and just good approachable gardeners.

  3. In Connecticut you have to spray your roses or they can look really bad for half the season or more. I don’t think the stagnant humid air of summer is helpful. I do fertilize some of my plants every year. There are certain things that I do not want to encourage to grow but I think having a good fertilization program cuts down on my disease and insect spraying.

  4. In Connecticut you have to spray your roses or they can look really bad for half the season or more. I don’t think the stagnant humid air of summer is helpful. I do fertilize some of my plants every year. There are certain things that I do not want to encourage to grow but I think having a good fertilization program cuts down on my disease and insect spraying.

  5. Jane Brockway says:

    Martha, I live in Rock Spring Ga just moved here and foune our soil to be red rock hard almost impossible to till. I want to start a veg and flower garden. We have finally broken through the clay to soften it but, what should we add to the soil. I know clay is acidic, should we add top soil or sand I do not have a compost pile yet. What should we mix with the clay so it will be healthy to raise veg and plants. I know your time is valuable and I would appreciate any info you might have to help me. Thank you so much Jane

  6. Jane Brockway says:

    I just want to say how much I admire you and all of your accomplishments. You are an amazing kind and humble person. I watch your show and subscribe to your mag and have your housecleaning book. You are amazing. I have a tip for you if you wouldn’t mind. When I have really burned a pot if you but baking powder and vinegar in it and let it sit for a little bit It cleans up beautifully

  7. Nora says:

    Martha,

    I have either a deer or rabbit problem, as they are inhaling my rose bushes. I have researched all kinds of deterrants and will try some of them, but my favorite deterrant would be to plant plants that deer and rabbits detest. Can you advise me on some suggestions?

    Thank you.

    Broken hearted at the garden wall

  8. Renato Castilletti says:

    Hi Martha
    How are you? I am an artist. I’m living in New Mexico now. Moved here from L.I., NY. I’ve taught art at Los Lunas schools this past school year. I paint and sculpt in marble. My botanical paintings in watercolor may interest you. I’ll be in NY from july 13 to aug.3 I would like to visit you in upstate NY. show my work and even do some sketches in person. See you soon!
    Sincerely,
    Renato Castilletti

  9. danielle says:

    Speaking of Andrew Beckman, he and Margaret Roach, the Editorial Director at Martha Stewart Living have a GREAT radio show on Sirius 112 on Tuesday mornings from 9-11 AM called Homegrown. The show’s not only informative, but really entertaining. And Margaret’s musical choices for the show are sheer perfection. If you’re a subscriber, I’d highly recommend a listen, or two or three…

  10. danielle says:

    Also, all these questions can be posed to Andrew and Margaret because their show is a call in, and these are specifically the types of questions that are asked. Also, check out their blog, your topic might be discussed there already
    : http://blogs1.marthastewart.com/homegrown/

  11. Kitty Nava says:

    Martha me fascina tu programa, soy diseñadora de jardines, nunca me canso de verte a Ti y tus invitados, siempre se aprende cosas nuevas del tema .
    Un abrazo desde Torreón en Mexico.

  12. Reggie says:

    I’m disappointed in recent developments at MS. I totally refuse to buy China merchandise or other products, because they are dangerous, rape our economy and their coal fired manufacturing causes global warming. It is going to be painful, but if products at Macy’s are all Chinese, then I will shop elsewhere. Isn’t hypocritical for MS to claim to be on the side of this country, and continue to bring in foriegn items? I think so, and have been a huge fan up until now. Shame on you Martha. You are trying to do too much, and not trying to protect your followers and fans.

  13. Darlene Dederick says:

    Martha please tell me how to freeze asparagus and how to use the frozen product later. Thanks

  14. Dwight Ledet says:

    Hello, I am new to the gardening world, I have just purchased a home with a lot of land and I am looking to build both a vegetable and flower garden. The issue is that I am a native of Louisiana, but I am now living in the Czech Republic. So, not only am I new to gardening, but the winter climate is a change as well. I notice a lot of people in my village are out making what looks like preparations for the coming winter and I am wondering if there is anything I should be doing now, before winter hits, to prepare the soil for the Spring time planting. Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can offer.

  15. connie dougan says:

    dear martha,
    i am a midwestern farmer and am confused by the hostility we are getting by the american people about the food we grow. we have worked for 100′s of years to grow abundant, cheap, and healthy food for our nations people and are getting nothing but bad press. the chemical companies, seen as weapons of mass destruction producers to so many have in fact been working very hard to make the products we use safer every year. for example we use a product called atrazine which sounds scary to city people, but is in fact 15 times safer for you than caffiene. we drive tractors that are now fueled by vegatable oil and a lot of our sprays are made from flowers and trees. i am not very eloquent but please before you tout organic on your show as the only “safe way” contact brian or darren hefty at agphd.com. they are very knowledgeable and can answer your questions better than i. in fact i would love to see them on your tv show or in an article in your magazine to represent us!!!!

  16. Ruth Barnes says:

    Martha
    I live in a small town in Michigan, Memphis, which is about 17 miles west of Port Huron. I, along with several of my neighbors, am having a terrible time with ground moles. These critters have invested our lawns to the point that walking accross our lawn is like walking on a sponge.. I was told that if you get rid of grubs you will get rid of the moles. This didn’t seem to work as we treated our lawns with the recommended grub eliminater.
    Please send me any suggestion to assist me with this distructive problem…. thank you in advance!!

  17. Deb Loupe says:

    Greetings from Leimert Park, CA. Martha! Leimert Park is within Los Angeles County, near Baldwin Hills. I enjoy your TV show, and I’m an avid reader of ‘Living Magazine’, thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law! I, along with several of my neighbors, am having a terrible time with opossums invading our yards. These critters are causing quite a disturbance and I’m hoping you can advise a non-toxic deterrent for our uninvited guests…thank you in advance!!

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