Love, Acceptance and Other Lessons From An Abandoned Garden

Book - 2016
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"When Alexandra Risen bought the dilapidated property overlooking Toronto's main ravine, the sloping, one-acre backyard was overgrown and barely navigable. She had no idea that the process of restoring and replanting the huge garden would help her overcome painful childhood memories. What began as an enthusiastic, if daunting, garden restoration became a deeper enterprise involving emotional upheaval and an affirmation of the healing power of nature. Risen's war-traumatized father only spoke about 25 words to her during his lifetime. Her mother spoke for him; he even used buzzers to summon the family to the garage when he needed help with his repair projects. Risen's Ukranian parents were uprooted to work as labourers in Nazi Germany during WWII. After marrying in a Displaced Persons camp after the war, they emigrated first to England and then to Edmonton. They never spoke of their difficult past. Risen's father found work at CN Railway as an engine repair man; her mother found work at a textile factory and took refuge in her garden, growing flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The family's self-sufficient lifestyle--gardening, canning, and even butchery in the garage--were a source of embarrassment to a young girl trying to fit into suburban Edmonton. After her parents' deaths, Risen discovers documents that allow her to piece together some of their story. She finds memories and connections with her parents in the old garden she unearths and the new green life she plants. Organized around various flowers, trees and shrubs that evoke particular memories, Unearthed is an affecting account of tangled family relationships, reconciliation and the healing power of nature."--
Publisher: Toronto :, Viking, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, , 2016
ISBN: 9780143198956
Branch Call Number: 635 RIS 2016
Characteristics: 271 pages


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ChristchurchLib Oct 18, 2016

In Unearthed, an abandoned garden gradually yields its secrets while allowing the gardener who revives it to discover insights into her own life. After author Alexandra Risen and her husband move into a house situated on an acre of central Toronto, she decides to restore the neglected land, and in the process she finds healing for her soul. Filled with delightful garden finds (unusual plants and structures), recipes for some of the edible plants, and intriguing discoveries in her family history, this memoir offers a multi-layered perspective on the relationship between humans and the natural world.

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