A moving true story of the unlikely friendship between two people who had nothing—and ultimately everything—in common.
Carol Wall was at a crossroads. Her children had flown the nest, her beloved parents were ageing and she had overcome a serious illness. A neglected garden should have been the least of her worries.
Until one day she sees a man working in her neighbour's garden and realises he is responsible for its spectacular transformation. His name is Giles Owita. He comes from Kenya and he's very good at gardening.
‘It was kismet. … And while I knew from the moment I met him that he was something special - truly, I didn't know the half of it.'
Before long Mister Owita is transforming not only Carol's garden, but her life. Although they seem to have nothing in common, a bond grows between them. When both are forced to share long-buried secrets, their friendship is transformed forever.
This is the story of a woman who at mid-life finds there is so much more to learn and a man whose grace in facing life's challenges is a lesson for us all.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
How confusing. I started reading this as a novel and only realised a few chapters in that it must be a memoir. Titles and covers can be misleading! American southerner Carol Wall has reached a typical crossroads in her mid-life. She lives comfortably in a prosperous and close knit community. She has overcome cancer, and her marriage is strong. To her embarrassment, one day she notices that her garden is looking distinctly neglected, compared with her neighbour's which looks spectacular, thanks to the attention of Giles Owita, a gardener from Kenya.
Before long, Giles Owita is transforming far more than Carol's garden. What she learns from his friendship will help her face the challenges of life with greater awareness, gratitude and grace. For some, the southern sentimentality of this very personal story may be a little too cloying and some may find its lessons too simple, but for others they will be entirely appropriate and meaningful depending on where you are on your journey and how readily you accept a garden as a metaphor for life.
About the Author
Carol Wall is a writer whose essays and articles have appeared over many years in Southern Living Magazine and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"In this profoundly moving memoir, Owita teaches Wall how to find grace amid heartbreak and to accept that beauty exists because it is fleeting--as in her garden, as in life." --"People," 4 stars "A perfect spring awakening." --"Good Housekeeping" "With her children grown and out of the house, Carol Wall is obsessed--perhaps overly so--with ripping out her azaleas. That is, until she meets a certain Giles Owita, Kenyan gardener, supermarket bagger, general-life philosopher and perhaps one of the most refined and gracious characters to ever hit the page (except that he's real)... A warning for the shy: The basic goodness of Owita's attitude may cause you to beam spontaneously as you read, leading to off looks from strangers at the coffee shop." --Oprah.com "No green thumb is required to enjoy the warmhearted pleasures of Carol Wall's moving memoir, "Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening."... magnetically compelling ... Grace and gardening go hand-in-glove in this fine book about what really matters in life: friendship, kindness and watching a garden grow." --"USA Today" "A pleasure to read. Wall's bittersweet story of human kindness has universal appeal." --"Kirkus Reviews" "I couldn't put this book down. I found myself liking the principal characters from the opening pages, and my affection for them never wavered. If you enjoy inspirational memoirs or gardening books (or both), this moving account of a life-changing friendship is for you." --Bookpage "A must-read memoir. On the surface, "Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart" by Carol Wall, is a gentle memoir about a friendship between a white woman in Roanoke, Virginia and her gardener from Kenya. But that description fails to capture the book's depth, its sometimes-raw emotions, nor its many surprising twists.... Both shocking and profoundly moving. This book is not just about gardening." --AARP blog "In this heartbreaking yet
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 3rd March 2014
Publisher: Transworld Publishers (Division of Random House Australia)
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.41