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Charlotte Mendelson

Rhapsody in Green

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‘Gardening is not a hobby but a passion: a mess of excitement and compulsion and urgency and desire. Those who practise it are botanists, evangelists, freedom fighters, midwives and saboteurs; we kill; we bleed. No, I can’t drop everything to come in for dinner; it’s a matter of life and death out here.’

Novelist Charlotte Mendelson has a secret life. Despite owning only six square metres of urban soil and a few pots, she is an extreme gardener; the creator of a tiny but bountiful edible jungle. And like all enthusiasts, she will not rest until you share her obsession.

This is the story of an amateur gardener’s journey to addiction: her attempts to buy lion dung from London Zoo and to build her own cold frame; her disinhibited composting and creative approach to design; her prejudices (roses, purple flowers, people with orchards); and her passions: quinces, salad-leaves, herbs, Japanese greens and ancient British apples. It is a story of where fantasy meets reality, of the slow onset of a consuming love and, most of all, of how gardening, however peculiar, can save your life.

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