Fictional gardens
April 17, 2017 6:59 PM   Subscribe

I recently finished Elizabeth Buchan's Consider the Lily and it reminded me of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. I'm looking for books in which the protagonist takes an interest in gardening and in the process grows into herself or himself. It does not have to be fiction.
posted by Constance Mirabella to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
The Poisonwood Bible
posted by peacheater at 7:14 PM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

In the Garden of Iden

A botanist cyborg is sent on her first mission! Much fun. Im quite fond of ms Bakers dream-like style and pacing
posted by Jacen at 7:22 PM on April 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Changing Garden of Mr. Bell.
posted by JimN2TAW at 7:27 PM on April 17, 2017

Larry's Party, by Carol Shields. A major part of the book's story involves the main character's obsession with building garden mazes and the effect it has on his life and outlook.

The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood. Dystopian fiction that takes place after "the waterless flood" (catastrophic event). Pre-flood, one of the main characters, Toby, was part of a group called God's Gardeners. She spends her post-flood time thinking back on her life with the Gardeners and using her knowledge to build a new life-sustaining garden.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:49 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

For nonfiction: Self-aware gardening is something of a theme in Michael Pollan's writing--comes up in The Botany of Desire, a bit in The Omnivore's Dilemma, and definitely in his 1997 Harper's article "Opium Made Easy." I think he can pontificate a bit much, YMMV, but he's an engaging writer and obviously cares a lot about gardening.
posted by miles per flower at 8:40 PM on April 17, 2017

If you are open to somewhat formulaic mysteries then check out the delightful horticulture/crime-solving duo Rosemary & Thyme.
posted by Owl of Athena at 9:05 PM on April 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Morville Hours: the story of a garden (non-fiction).
posted by paduasoy at 12:46 AM on April 18, 2017

Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim.
posted by misteraitch at 1:56 AM on April 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Robin McKinley s "Rose Daughter"
posted by Stacey at 3:07 AM on April 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Slightly different angle: Tim Smit's The Lost Gardens of Heligan, which also happen to be a real place.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:52 AM on April 18, 2017

Barbara Kingsolver's (nonfiction) memoir Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
posted by veery at 7:44 AM on April 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

You might like Beverley Nichols, who wrote many often hilarious books about his various gardens. (These are autobiographical, but I'm betting he probably was loose with his details in spots.) Down the Garden Path is the first one, and if you like it, you've got about 9 more to go after that.

Do you like letters? The 3000 Mile Garden is an exchange about a garden in Maine and a garden in London.
posted by JanetLand at 8:41 AM on April 18, 2017

Gaining Ground by Joan Barfoot
posted by runincircles at 9:08 AM on April 18, 2017

Came back to add Monty Don's non-fiction. The Jewel Garden: A Story of Despair and Redemption definitely, Growing Out of Trouble if a smallholding counts as a garden, and possibly others.
posted by paduasoy at 11:16 AM on April 19, 2017

Ekaterin Vorsoisson's virtual Barrayaran garden in Komarr is realized with some emotional difficulties in A Civil Campaign.
posted by Bruce H. at 11:30 PM on August 16, 2017

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