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Carolyn Freas Rapp has gathered a rich harvest of stories from women who garden. The women invite you into their gardens and into their hearts, sharing more than just gardening tips.

They reveal details of their friendships, talk about what inspires them, and how their gardens helped them cope with difficult times in their lives.

Susan describes her garden as a place of peace.

Planting rose bushes, her mother’s favourites, by her father’s grave in a cemetery in Germany honoring war veterans, and a clipping from a plant that grew by the grave at her own garden helped her connect to her parents on a deep, spiritual level.

Joan and her husband give up lucrative careers – and the frenetic lifestyle that often accompanies such careers – to move to the country. And discovered that running a farm was even more busy! But she loves every minute of every day.

I never take vacations. Never. From February until May, when things are in the greenhouse, even going away one day from seven in the morning until seven at night is hard because things dry out too much. Then spring comes and the crops go in. Then the markets start. When the children were young, my husband took them on vacations and I stayed home.

People ask how many more years I’m going to do this. Some days it seems like one more year is more than I can bear. Then another day I can’t imagine not doing it.

Nancy gets her love for gardening from her father.

No strawberries have ever tasted as good as the ones from my father’s garden.

Carol believes a weed is just a plant out of place.

Dealing with rejection, specially as a child, she writes that she often felt like a weed, but she now has enriching friendships with people she might otherwise have passed over as weeds.

Francie adopts the Elizabethan Knot at the Folger Shakespeare Library as her own and learns a lot about Shakespeare from looking at his plant references.

Rue, fennel, columbine, and each of the others had a meaning. Knowing the plant language opens the doors to a much deeper understanding of his work and the times in which he lived.

Probably the best advice comes from Eleanor who credits tips and gardening help from friends and neighbours for her flourishing garden, but says she has learnt that gardeners should also experiment for themselves.

A garden is a lot like life – the best way to live it is to live it!

The perfect little book for when you are looking out the window, dreaming of a lilac-scented breeze and  wondering when, if ever, you will get to be outside again in your own garden.

Garden Voices: Stories of Women and Their Gardens by Carolyn Freas Rapp is published by Water Dance Press, $23.

Desi News