Spectacular gardens are viewed from the perspective of a snail in Virginia Woolf’s ‘Kew Gardens’ and from that of a sheltered teenage girl in Katherine Mansfield’s ‘The Garden Party’. The family of Doris Lessing’s ‘Flavours of Exile’ haul succulent vegetables and fruits from the rich African soil, and Colette in ‘Bygone Spring’ luxuriates in extravagantly blooming flowers. Children discover their own peculiar paradises in Sandra Cisneros’s ‘The Monkey Garden’ and Italo Calvino’s ‘The Enchanted Garden’, while adult gardeners find things that move and haunt them in William Maxwell’s ‘The French Scarecrow’ and Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘The Garden I Have in Mind’.
Gardens of the mind round out the anthology: the beautiful but fatal garden of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Rappaccini’s Daughter’, the crystal buds of J. G. Ballard’s ‘The Garden of Time’, ravenous orchids in John Collier’s ‘Green Thoughts’, and Matsudo Aoko’s ‘Planting’, in which a young woman plants each day whatever she has been given – roses and violets, buttons and broken cups, love and fear and sorrow.
An entrancing book for everyone who loves gardens and the beauty of nature.