It is that time of the year when the days are longer, the weather is warmer, and the weeds are growing at a very fast rate! Whatever you use a garden, allotment or the park for – to sunbathe, barbecue, read, or to simply garden – it can provide a fabulous array of stories. Just have a look at these beauties.
1. Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas – Daisy, a gardener, is house-sitting for her parents, who have gone off on their travels. Her parents' garden has been sorely neglected so Daisy has a fantastic project on her hands to distract her from a recent break-up. The house is in a village and soon Daisy makes friends with octogenarian Thomas along with friends more her own age like Elaine, a lifestyle blogger, and Jo, a counsellor. Plus a very attractive man…
2. The Great Allotment Proposal by Jenny Oliver – The third book in Jenny Oliver's Cherry Pie Island series, following The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe and The Vintage Ice Cream Van Road Trip, is out next month. Emily Hunter-Brown, a socialite, has just bought the old manor house on Cherry Pie Island. Her friends think she is mad, but Emily will try anything once. Until she finds she also has an allotment to care for. Now, what on earth does she do with an allotment?
3. Ivy Lane by Cathy Bramley – Tilly Parker is in desperate need of a fresh, new start. She moves to a new town and a leaflet for Ivy Lane Allotments catches her eye. This, she thinks, could be the perfect way of gaining some quiet and solitude. Despite never having grown anything before, she signs up and finds out just how wrong she was about the quiet and solitude.
4. Thyme Out by Katie Fforde – An early novel from Katie Fforde, Perdita Dylan delivers her baby vegetables to local hotels. She is horrified to find that one of her best clients has taken on her unpredictable ex-husband, Lucas, as the chef. She is further horrified when she also discovers he's being groomed as the latest celebrity chef and needs her picturesque, if primitive cottage, and her, in supporting roles. When her elderly friend becomes poorly, Perdita needs a shoulder. Is her husband really a villain?
5. The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore – Miranda and David move into a beautiful country house with an idyllic garden. The garden may be idyllic, but each family member is isolated in a bubble of resentment and loneliness. A mysterious Frenchman arrives on their doorstep who begins to heal the past and the present. The family learn that a garden can restore the human spirit. But who is this French gardener?
Can you recommend any novels based on gardens and horticulture?