I have always believed that my garden was a metaphor for my life. That we were completely intertwined and growing together. So I embarked on writing my blog to set to word the lessons I was learning from my garden. Once in the blogging world, I became acquainted with that community of garden bloggers, many who had more experience than me, and who were willing to lend a hand to a novice.
I was familiar with Grace Peterson’s blog through the garden blogging community of Blotanical. And when we both had our first work published in the same book, The Moment I Knew, on the same subject (grief) next to each other, a friendship grew. Although we have never met in person, I have learned so much from Grace as she has continued with her writing and getting her works published. Grace published her wonderful memoir, Reaching, to much acclaim last year. And when she wrote she was publishing a garden memoir of lessons learned through gardening, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
I am very excited to review Grace’s latest book. And Grace has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her book. Details about the giveaway can be found at the end of the post.
Grace in the Garden: Thirty Years of Blunders and Bliss
Author: Grace Peterson
Paperback: 130 pages
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press (April 9, 2014)
Amazon Price: $14.34 (Paperback)
In A Few Words
Grace opens up her garden memoir (that’s how I think of this book) with an introduction to her life and gardening. She weaves the slender stalks of these two together throughout the book, but the introduction lays the foundation, the soil, that nourishes the rest of her prose.
Grace takes us from her early years with gardens, family and nature to her early married years when she started gardening in earnest with her young family. She started with vegetables, one of the most difficult types of gardening when one has little experience or information. I give her lots of credit especially as failure is rampant with veg gardening. But as Grace says:
“Successful gardening…requires attributes such as patience and keen observation, persistence and even faith. Sometimes it feels like a lesson in futility….But once we come to our senses and realize that the challenges are not insurmountable, we forge a plan and get right back out there and dig in.”
This one quote gives you great insight into who Grace is and what drives her, and it speaks loudly to me as I concur with her wholeheartedly. It is a mantra all gardeners can relate to, and sets the stage for the rest of the book’s 29 chapters which really are wonderful lessons from Grace’s garden.
What I Liked
To give a you a good idea of the types of topics that Grace covers, I chose 3 chapters totally at random to review.
Chapter 1 is called, Discoveries. Grace talks about the house she and her family moved to when she was expecting their second child; the yellow house. Here she built square flower and veggie beds from recycled fencing that had blown down. It was in her yard, under the huge tree, that Grace spied a unique plant. She decided not to pull the plant and throw it away as a weed. Instead she nurtured it, picked the flowers and let it seed and regrow. She discovered the plant was a double flower form of feverfew, a wonderful herb. She has kept these cute button daisy-like flowers in all her gardens and still has the offspring of this wonderful first plant in her current garden.
Grace’s lesson here is that many little discoveries start out as nothing more than an inkling. And if nurtured, will help us find something interesting and significant in our lives.
Chapter 10 is called, Timing. This story tells of the time that Grace bartered piano lessons for her daughter in exchange for her redoing the piano teacher’s garden bed. The teacher did not want the plants that were in the bed and Grace could take whatever she wanted. She adored the cyclamen and took every one she could lovingly plant in her garden. But the real lesson here is the, “upside-down timing of their blooming.” “In the plant world timing is everything,” Grace says. Each plant is programmed to know when to wake up and bloom. And like plants we too are programmed to live and die.
Grace’s lesson is that like the cyclamen she is blooming now in the fall. Cyclamen gives us hope that we are not late-bloomers. Instead we are right on time.
Chapter 21 is called, The Human Club. Here Grace talks about her love of working in the garden by herself, but how her taking the Master Gardening course got her involved with other gardeners. This led to her getting to know people, who knew people who then offered her a job writing a garden column. And then she goes on to tell us about her getting to know her neighbor which led to a wonderful friendship that opened up even more friendships in blogging and on and on.
Grace’s lesson is that we are social animals, and that gardening has offered her opportunities to share common interests with others. And of course the more time we share these interests with others, the more we realize how much alike we are all together in this club called being human.
These are such special lessons that I think anyone, gardener or not, can relate to them intimately.
Not So Much
Some people may not like a garden book without glossy colorful garden pictures, but this is not a book about Grace’s garden or how to garden. It is a collection of wonderful stories from her 30+ years as a gardener.
And you can get lots of wonderful pictures of her garden on her blog. I have included only pink flowers in this post as Grace adores pink flowers as you will see when you visit her blog, Gardening With Grace.
Grace also blogs at Subplots By Grace, where she writes about life, books, authors and other topics that interest her.
I love Grace’s writing and especially her garden memoir. To say Grace’s writing has a way of reaching down deep into your soul and wrenching up emotions, is putting it mildly. I usually become mesmerized as she spins her story, and just when I think I know where it will go, she takes me down a path I never expected.
This is the type of book to languish over much like walking in Grace’s garden. You can pick up this book and randomly turn to any chapter, read it and feel more the better for having done so. I know I will be doing this over and over again just to get a sprinkling of Grace’s nurturing words:
“I think one of the perks of gardening is what we learn about ourselves in the process. We learn what our strengths and weaknesses are. We learn what makes us break out into a “happy dance” and what makes us clench our fists and cringe.”
Gardens don’t have endings like novels. And as gardeners, we don’t want them to be finished. ~Sydney Eddison
To win a copy of Grace’s book simply leave a comment telling me :
- what you love about gardening
- or what is your favorite lesson you have learned from your garden or nature.
- or simply just say hello.
A name will be drawn at random. I will close the giveaway on Saturday, July 5th at 4pm. The winner will be contacted by email and announced in my post on Monday, July 7th.
Next up on the blog: Thursday, July 3rd, I will have an in depth Tree Following post. And Monday brings another Garden Journal as I review June in the garden. I will profile all the blooms in the garden for GBBD after that. Hoping to see more finally blooming if I can hack through all the weeds.
I am linking in with [email protected]Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Tuesday.
I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.
I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb. My latest post will be up on July 7th.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with [email protected]Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014. Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.
52 Replies to “Grace in the Garden (Giveaway)”
As always Donna, an excellent review, thank you.
Thanks Christina…happy you enjoyed it!
I love YOUR garden photos. The book sounds wonderful, gardens are full of life metaphors and are a perfect way to help us mark and remember time throughout our lives. Gardening has taught me to trust in the miracles of “weeds” … patiently wait to see what flowers they will be before indiscriminately pulling them out. They can be so surprising and beautiful.
Laura I love the miracle of weeds idea….may I use that in a post and of course credit you?
So glad you liked the photos!
This seems to promise a wonderful read! I think what I love about gardening is that it teaches so many lessons about life – there are so many correlations.
I agree Kathy…the correlations of what happens in the garden and life are numerous and compelling…
Today there is no other place I want to be, but in the garden. Grace In The garden is my mantra today.
I love it Karen! It is a wonderful mantra…
I found this post very interesting and what a great book. I’m looking forward to checking out Grace’s blogs. One of my great finds of “weeds” growing in my garden is wild phlox growing with my Oswego Tea. And a funny thing here– I purchased Joe Pyeweed to grow to attract butterflies and bees. Mine died, but yet it’s growing across the road from me in the wild.
Sue what a great find, wild phlox! I am sorry to hear about Joe Pye….I have tons you are welcome to. I just takes one year of blooms going to seed to having a yard full of volunteers….hoping the Joe Pye seeds blow your way….and enjoy Grace’s blogs.
I don’t want you to enter my name in the giveaway, Donna, for obvious reasons (like living on the other side of the world) but I do love how you have devoted this post to someone who has clearly mentored and motivated you. Who would have known gardening could have so many lessons to learn! But then, DUH. It makes all the sense in the world!
You are too funny Ginnie! Gardening is one of the best teachers I have found and as Grace beautifully has recounted….glad you enjoyed the review.
Thank you for the wonderful review Donna and I will definitely check out Grace’s blog. A garden is a thing of beauty that constantly changes and can be enjoyed forever.
Perfectly said Lee and I hope you enjoy Grace’s blogs!
Grace has such a beautiful garden, I’m so happy to hear that she has another book out. Congrats to her.
She does have such a gorgeous garden Jen….I concur, congrats to Grace!
Not in it to win actually, just to tell you that
(in addition to getting over the shingles -2nd time in my life). My garden is a buffett for wildlife and polllinators – except, the latter have been missing. I believe that my neighbor’s have deployed mosquito
Pesticides -neurotoxins mostly – and this inhibits insects & butterflies from getting to my oasis.
I wrote about it in my consumer blog. At some point, it was pulled by the powers that be and I did not know this. I only found out after writing my next blog and trying to upload it. My log-in was blocked.
So, they leave up my previous blogs, suppress one and “fire” me.
The parallels? I had great information to share, and nobody can read it. Just like no insect can live through the chemical soup here, to feed.
Right now, sadly, life is toxic
Oh Denise so sorry about the shingles again…that is awful…and then to speak the truth and to have your blog pulled and you fired with no warning. You have lots to say and you should start your own blog for free…something to think about!
Oh my gosh Donna. I am incredibly honored. Thank you so much for reading and writing such a heartfelt review of Grace in the Garden. I am blushing. You are such a dear friend. i hope we can meet in person someday. Hugs.
Grace it was my pleasure…hugs to you for your wonderful friendship!!
Oh… I almost forgot. The pink flower photos are scrumptious.
Glad you liked your pink flowers!!
You’ve captured Grace’s new book really well here Donna. I own it too–so I need not be included in the drawing. I love your term “garden memoir” in regard to this book. For me it added wonderful dimension to her life memoir Reaching (which is a powerful book indeed) although Grace in the Garden can certainly stand alone, a great summer read there in the lawn swing with that glass of ice tea.
Linnie I am so happy you enjoyed the review of Grace’s garden book. I agree this book is a wonderful addition to her memoir, Reaching, which I am just reading.
Donna, what a lovely review! I met Grace through Subplots and know her and her writing as well as her gardening exploits via both blogs. She has a warm and welcoming writing style, and I know how she can draw you in without you realizing it. You have captured the essence of Grace both in her writing and in her garden.
Excellent review and the book sounds very good. Please enter me in your giveaway. What I like most about gardening: looking at my garden and seeing all of the beauty. I’m a very visual person and there is a lot for me to like in my gardens.
I am visual too Beth and I enjoy walking the garden daily as I see so many new and inviting vistas….you are entered in the giveaway and I am glad you enjoyed the review!
A lovely review Donna – from the heart! I love all the pink photos too. 🙂
Thanks Cathy…I really enjoyed going through all my pink pics to find just the right ones!
Congratulations to Grace! I would love to read her book. The thing I love about gardening is how it nurtures my soul, even as I nurture the plants. I see God in every plant detail, and as you say, the garden is filled with lessons for our lives.
Oh Deb absolutely I agree gardens nurture our souls…you will love her book!
Gardens don’t have endings like novels ;~)
There’s always another bit, that needs pruning or planting, or both.
(Not entering … across the pond)
Diana when I read that quote, I thought how perfect! There’s always something that needs tending, and nature constantly intercedes and changes our gardens!
I just love the beauty that my garden brings into my life. Thanks for the giveaway.
You are welcome Debbie, and I agree the garden brings us so much beauty with each day being a little different.
Since my job often involves creating gardens and therefore creating memories in them, I guess I live vicariously through the gardens I create, imagining the wonderful family gatherings and eventual graduations and weddings planned for them. So far, I have designed for four huge weddings for four different clients. I am always invited back to mold the garden for these affairs. It is the same for large graduation celebrations. So you can see my work creates memories and my own garden helps me with new ideas. My own garden is one that changes drastically over time with redesign, so I don’t have that special connection of which you speak. I doubt I ever will in any garden I create for myself. The book sounds wonderful and I am sure I would get a desire to make memories after reading it.
Donna the gardens you create are such beautiful works of art (those you have shared) and I can imagine the memories you create. The book does indeed create a desire to make garden memories.
Garden memoirs are my favorite garden books, so I look forward to reading Grace’s book. Before I began gardening, I didn’t think of myself as a creative person; gardening has helped me to broaden my definition of creativity and get in touch with my creative self.
Your gardens indeed show a most creative person Jean…I hope you enjoy Grace’s garden book!
I’m not commenting for the giveaway but just want to say how well you have sold the book. I’ve always admired your book reviews and this one has both enthusiasm and real warmth. Agree veg gardening must be the most testing as for everything we grow there is something that loves to eat it before we do! My gardening times have taught me that much of the work is not visible, not pretty, and even mundane at times – its in the preparation and there are few medals for that. The flowering success looks like it just happened!
Thanks so much for your kind words about my reviews Laura. I agree the real work is all the mundane tasks that are so important to make the garden look beautiful!
p.s. meant to say how much I love all these pinks but especially the zing of those coneflowers
I love those coneflowers too Laura!
It sounds like a lovely book and having like-minded folks out here in blogland is so wonderful.. You know what the garden has done for me. The surprise was that I started gardening for the wildlife, but the what learning about plants has given me a new outlook on life and taught me some patience.. I needed that and a quiet place to reflect in… hugs to you Donna in your healing..
I love your story Michelle. We can at it from completely opposite directions and have landed right in the same middle….your quiet lovely garden is such a healing place for you!
What a wonderful review, Donna! Grace’s lessons and words are so inspirational, and it was sweet of you to post with pink flowers. 🙂 Have a wonderful Fourth, Donna!
Thanks Beth…so nice to hear you enjoyed the post and the pink blooms….hoping you have a lovely relaxing 4th!
Beautifully written and inspiring! I love flowers and gardening but we don’t have a big yard, so we mostly have hanging plants but it still brings joy & relaxation to us.
Shey thank you so much….my first gardens were potted plants that were sheer joy for me.
Sounds like a great book Donna! I know I am too late for the giveaway but wanted to let you know I’m catching up on some of your posts. I love your photos for this post. Are these yours or Grace’s? They are gorgeous. I’m starting to like pink more and more in the garden. I hope to meet Grace one day, I wonder if she is going on the Portland Garden Blogger’s Fling? I”ll have to check the attendee list.
Lucky me these are my pink flowers Andrea! I believe I read that Grace is not going to the Fling. I really wanted to go myself but knew it was not going to happen this year. I believe next year it is in Ontario which is just a few hours North of me….so I am hoping to go then!!
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