Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gardening Literature for Green and Non-Green Thumbs

Whether you're the type who likes to get your hands dirty in the garden or you simply wish to dig out some free time to turn the pages of gardening-inspired literature, bookstores are blooming with a host of titles.

In Why Every Man Needs a Tractor, Charles Elliott, former publisher at Knopf, details his gardening labors in Wales. Elliott's essays combine personal experience with interesting tidbits and facts about some of the world's most notable, history-making gardens and gardeners.

The World of Wild Orchids by Christian Ziegler contains dazzling color photographs and a fascinating text accompaniment exploring the mysterious aura of these exotic beauties.
Lane Smith's illustrated children's book Grandpa Green, while aimed at ages 4-8, translates across generations. A young boy shares a poignant, heart-tugging narrative that bears witness to his forgetful grandfather's love for topiary gardening.

Family secrets take center stage in the novel The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair. In this tale, told via an extended flashback, an off-limits, walled garden in India might hold the key to one woman's search to reclaim her past and reinvent her future.

A foster mother inspires a troubled girl by planting seeds, both literal and figurative, in The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. This heartbreaking, yet hopeful debut novel resonates with the way flowers can become symbols that inspire us to believe in the power of tomorrow. 

In the mood for a great whodunnit? Dig into the quirky, original gardening mystery series by Rosemary Harris (Pushing Up Daisies, The Big Dirt Nap, Dead-Head, Slugfest). Her lovable protagonist, Paula Holliday, gives up a high-powered job in New York City and sets off to Connecticut to finally cultivate her life-long passion for professional gardening. In each installment, Holliday not only winds up pulling weeds but also rooting out killers.

Note: This article is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly longer form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this piece as published on Shelf Awareness for Readers (5/8/12), link HERE