DON’T BE SWAYED by the title to think this is a book of interest only to female readers. It has something for all gardeners, including tips, facts linking gardening with history, and most of all stories that inspire. The 12 short stories are told by women ranging from market gardeners to English teachers. Enjoy this quick journey through the lives of these women and you’ll probably find at least one of whom you’ll say, “I know someone just like her.”
Among the entries is the story of Susan, a breast cancer patient who, while driving back from the first of her 33 radiation treatments, was drawn to stop at a roadside stone yard. “I’ve always loved stones, so I pulled over and went in,” she writes. “As I stood there looking at all the beautiful stones, the idea came to me: ‘I’m going to build a path.’” Susan used the stones to help her on her path to recovery, and you might be surprised by the finished design of her walkway.
Beth used her garden to help her cope with the stress of watching her husband succumb to Lou Gehrig’s disease. “Working in the soil grounded me and reminded me in a tangible way of my belief in the oneness of all things — that the life force energy is everywhere, in leaves, in earth, in trees, everywhere,” she writes. “I don’t believe in death. I believe that life continues in another less visible form. For me, the garden was the unfolding of life, and that was very soothing.”
Sue, another gardener, provides the reader with a chance to nod in agreement. “Truth be told, I’d rather sit and look at my garden than work in it,” she notes. “But all the work is worthwhile for the peace and joy it brings me.”
Read Nancy’s story if you want to learn how to grow a cucumber inside a Coke bottle, and Michoko’s story if you want to improve your garden photography skills. Discover how often Shakespeare used plants in his works by reading about Francie’s garden, and enjoy Eleanor’s wisdom when she says “A garden is a lot like life — the best way to live is to live it.”
In addition to being a gardener, Carolyn Freas Rapp is a storyteller, which makes this an easy book to read and enjoy.
front cover
Garden Voices
Stories of Women & Their Gardens

By Carolyn Freas Rapp

Review by Dr. Richard Churchill
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