Virginia Woolf once stated that women need a room of their own, now in Why Women Grow journalist Alice Vincent invites us to kick open the door to that room, walk outside and lay claim to a garden as well. To explain why, she travels the country interviewing green-fingered females of all ages and backgrounds – from prison inmates to community volunteers to the descendants of Woolf’s own sister. Along the way, she uncovers a number of deeply personal yet surprisingly common reasons why women seek solace in the soil.
Chief amongst them is the deeply-rooted desire to connect to the land, carving out a space for themselves in a world designed to deny them agency. Equally essential is the need to retreat from the demands of modern life, with many women aiming to bring order to the chaos and confusion of adulthood through the choice of flowers and herbs they cultivate.
In heady, sweeping prose, Vincent also opens up about her own life in Why Women Grow, explaining how heartbreak and fear of the future led to her often messy, relatably frustrating attempts to grow a garden from scratch. A glorious, sweet-scented joy of a read, it’s the literary equivalent of a stroll through a cornflower meadow on a warm summer’s evening.
Why Women Grow, Alice Vincent (Canongate)
Price: £16.99. Info: here
words RACHEL REES
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