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on 26 October 2010
I loved it!
It is ostensibly a book about Kathryn's life, her multiple house moves, her life in different countries and in different part of America, her beloved daughter and her many gardens - yet it is so much more than this and touches the heart (my heart anyway) because of it.

The book is divided into 52 chapters of varying lengths, all having very temping titles such as 'Aim for beauty','Appreciate small returns','Clean up after a storm' and - my favourite title, 'Move gently among bees'. The titles intrigued me and pulled me in.
I planned to read it in one go - manageable at 228 pages, but it didn't work out like that.Kathryn's memories and experiences are rich and fascinating, but they also deliver clever but gentle metaphors for self discovery and learning - both hers and her readers.

She has a canny nack of making her last sentence in the chapter either a statement or a question, both of which seemed designed to make me go "oh, what? yeah! I do that!", " Ooops, perhaps I could have done that differently?" or "Hmmm, maybe I ought......!", but always making me stop and think. Hence the reason I couldn't read the book all in one sitting, no matter how much I wanted to, as I just had to have some thinking time.
She writes in such a way that I found myself smiling, nodding and even, on more than one occasion, my eyes filling with unshed tears - from both pleasure and sadness previously held in. Memories of people, places and events long forgotten or sometimes supressed came unbidden into my head as I read.
This is a thought provoking book that stands repeated readings - and I will certainly be dipping back into it on a regular basis. Her motto for her book publishing company is 'Changing the world one book at a time' and she has certainly done that for me with this book!
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on 26 January 2012
Planting, pulling weeds, pruning or trimming branches. To a non-gardener like me, all these sound like the names of tortures rather than the simple joys of gardening. Or take for that matter the names of plants. Visteria, Honey-suckle, Jasmine. Don't you just think they take on the names of strange little gods? Gardening is surely not my cup of tea.
So when my friend gave me "Plant whatever brings you joy" by Kathryn Hall, I was terrified. The titles of the chapter confirmed my fear. "Harvest seeds for the future gardens' or "Test and amend your soil". Oops. But I decided to give the book a chance and started reading it. And very soon I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN!! It turned out that the book in fact it is about everything but gardening. It is simply a wonderful collection of true stories that happened to the author. One of my favorite is about rattlesnakes. The brave author learned to - let's put it mildly - cope with them. And evolved from fearing them to handling them like a circus artist would handle a whip. That's how she impressed the new neighbors. No wonder. Then there is a story of how she tamed a Siamese kitten. It is endearing. And very sad one of how she lost another cat because she had no fence... In fact, I can't really say which story I loved most. I would have to say all fifty two. Because they are not only a slice of life written in a gripping way. At the end of each story there is a gem. Some simple truth about life, however trivial it may sound. So after you read the whole book you are enriched with 52 great life guidance statements. They just remind us about all those things which are good in life and which we often forget or neglect. "Share generously your bounty", the author says. Well, I am very grateful to her, she did so with hers. Thank you Kathryn.
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on 26 January 2012
This garden book doesn't seem to be big, just 228 pages. But if you read it, impression is changing - the book grows much, much bigger. "Blessed wisdom from the garden" becomes heartwarming book of treasure.

Cover design fits perfectly the nature of the 52 short stories embracing the garden and life, written in unique style. When I read a book or Kathryn's blog I am always astonished with her easy, natural and skillful writing style. I bet, that use of words will also surprise you!

When I read it, I wanted to enjoy every page, every story as long as possible, because I had a feeling that a close friend is sharing life wisdom and whispering life affirmations to my ear. This garden book is not only filled with entertaining backyard stories, it brings also intense spiritual beauty - these stories teach and nourish soul and spirit.
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