About Michele


Michele Owens-1Michele Owens is currently on hiatus.

Michele Owens writes about gardening for publications that have included O, The Oprah Magazine and Organic Gardening. Her book about vegetable gardening, Grow the Good Life, will be published by Rodale Books in February of 2011.

She is also the co-author of three nationally best-selling business books, Executive Warfare, Career Warfare, and Brand Warfare, with former John Hancock CEO David F. D’Alessandro. Brand Warfare was named one of the best business books of 2001 by Library Journal.

She is the former chief speechwriter for Governor William F. Weld of Massachusetts and worked on his 1996 Senate campaign. She was also a staff speechwriter for another distinctive voice in American politics, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York.

Michele considers her vegetable garden one of the great joys of her life and yakking about gardening with Garden Rant’s extremely well-informed and scorchingly opinionated readership another.  You can reach her at mchlowens@yahoo.com.


  1. Very many thanks for your comments.Good point about mass hysteria as humans migrate to cooler climes. Here in Wales at the moment, contrary to what many of you have suffered, we are experiencing summer-like temperatures. Maybe a one off? Hottest summer on record last summer, warmest winter on record and they are predicting a hotter summer still again breaking records and I am already watering the garden when I normally start in June. One flash video I like is one on Biodiversity http://www.biodiv.org/doc/videos/cop-08/2010-target.swf – all linked to our gardens and climate change. Pity there is just one nation that refuses to sign up to CBD – the Convention of Biological Diversity – every one else has!

  2. some of us went to school for our degrees in horticulture. its not only our living but its our life. Keep writing, it will at least keep you out of our industry, or you could simply shut the fuck up. your choice, bitches.

  3. Dear Hippibitches foetidius, professionalism is very admirable, but professionals are not going to plant and maintain the entire universe. If there were more amateur gardeners like us, the world would be a much healthier and more beautiful place.

    And as far as persuading non-gardeners to become gardeners is concerned–well, that’s the kind of job for which you might want a professional writer.

  4. it seems hippibitches foetidius has a few issues to address. Even a professional should appreciate the amateur gardeners.
    Many children of amateur gardeners will grow up to be the future of the farming industry. They will go to get their horticulture degrees, and lead further innovation in the process.

    Without amateur gardeners, American farmers will fall short of the demand for food.

    Many of the amateur gardeners are experimenting with cross-breeding, roses adn other flowers are a typical. Yes, these are highly-motivated amateur’s but still amateur.

    So, to Hf….. get over it and go seek soem professional help.

  5. Sounds as if old foetidius doesn’t get what plants are about. There is joy to be found in gardening professionally or just piddling in the yard. While I am in the industry, public gardens, I came to it through honest work and an interest, my degree is in the Liberal Arts. I am always suspicious of those who have gone to school for their profession. Way to keep on proving it hf.

  6. Dear Michele:

    I read your review of my Eating Local piece in Domino. You should know that no one was sadder about what happened to Dominique and House and Garden. She is an old friend. It was a great mag and Conde was crazy to get rid of it.

    As for my piece, well I guess I won’t be getting hired by you anytime soon. On the other hand, if you work in the city 40-50 hours a week, you can’t get to a greenmarket except on Saturday.
    Many of our local farmers are having to sell out to developers because they can’t place their produce. You can’t get any during the winter season.

    As for not knowing how to shop at the market, you got me. I hadn’t really thought about it before, was willing to admit it and do something about it. Sorry if my stupidity offended you.

    Wish I had time to drive around and pretend I was in France.

    Cynthia Kling

  7. Dear Michele,

    I embrace your appreciation of the unfettered landscape that is conditioned more often on a specific ecological balance than on gardener intervention but the implication that urban floral gardens and even accompanying country kitchen gardens can be maintained with little oversight can be misleading. That knowledge both learned from blogs such as yours and that, which is honed from experience (and scholarship), must be blended to achieve the desired experience, which we all individually can appreciate.

    I believe that good taste is not good design, yet the former is a trait that most people proclaim to proudly possess. Horticultural training and landscape design has most often responded initially to the basic exterior design core — either complimenting an architectural construction or creating a desired natural experience where the architecture is kept to a minimum. Be it the more formal European model or the more natural American experiences which Olstead initiated, landscape design is here for all to appreciate.

    I do agree that most residential landscapes and garden tour exhibits can be over manufactured palettes that include many floral varieties whose survival rate is questionable without over watering and feeding. So many of the selected unnatural myriad of plant species and landscapes can only be complimented by a residence which often exhibits its own collection of borrowed iconic images from numerous architectural styles. Unfortunately, design has become for many, variety instead of compatibility.

    So as I blow my lawn leaves down my alley, leaving some of those last (still green) Norway Maple holdouts to warm the beds over the winter and later shred for the mulch pile compost worms – I wonder if we can get our city to return Congress Park to its more brambly wild state as once envisioned by Olmsted, Vaux, French, Bacon, Elliot and Leavitt – with its secret gardens.

  8. Do you or any of your fellow ranters have any information about P.A.R. (Plant a Row for the Hungry)? I would like to plant an extra row and donate the veggies to my local food bank (Alameda County, CA), but I can’t seem to find any info on the web except very old articles. Has P.A.R. died out? Or is it still going strong?

    I checked the Alameda County Food Bank and they only request non-perishable items.

  9. Dear Michele Owens,
    Thank you for your article in O mag on Baker creek Seeds. I am a southern MO native and fell in love with Baker Creek farm a couple years ago. It was a pleasure to see the Gettles get recognition for their hard work.
    Have a great day,

  10. Hi, Michele-

    I have a dear friend who lives in Gansevoort. I’d like to send her a gift certificate for several good massages, but I’m leery of ordering such a thing without knowing anything about the business I’d be ordering from online. My worst fear is that I shop online, send her the certificate, and find out that the place is really skeevy and caters to a different clientele than what I’m aiming for in sending her this gift.

    Can you recommend a place in the Saratoga area that can give my friend, who is just recovering from her second divorce and trying to sell her house in a terrible real estate market, a relaxing comfortable experience that will make her feel better, guaranteed?

    Thanks for any leads that you can provide. I love reading Garden Rant with my first cup of coffee every morning.

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