Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall

Hello, my bookworm buddies! I have been rather naughty and have left you in the dark of all the great books I have been reading lately. I am just coming out of a little reading slump and realized I haven’t written and posted any reviews for quite a while. So here are my thoughts on one the books I read last month.

I can’t remember where I heard about this book but I remember thinking I needed to buy it. I ordered it used from Thriftbooks.com and this spring seemed like the perfect time to read it. I took a photo of the cover next to my flowers.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Carol Wall, a white woman living in a lily-white neighborhood in Middle America, was at a crossroads in her life. Her children were grown; she had successfully overcome illness; her beloved parents were getting older. One day she notices a dark-skinned African man tending her neighbor’s yard. His name is Giles Owita. He bags groceries at the supermarket. He comes from Kenya. And he’s very good at gardening.

Before long Giles is transforming not only Carol’s yard but her life. Though they are seemingly quite different, a caring bond grows between them. But they both hold long-buried secrets that, when revealed, will cement their friendship forever.

My thoughts:

I found this book very easy to get into. I liked hearing Carol’s story and think she did a fantastic job capturing her developing relationship with Mr. Owita. Carol opened up about so much with regard to her cancer and how she viewed herself before and after her diagnosis. Of course, being a gardener myself, I enjoyed the sprinkling of gardening talk throughout the book. She had a great way of tying the plants and gardening to her story.

I don’t typically read reviews about books until I have read and written my own. However, when I was searching to get the synopsis of the book, I stumbled across a very critical review that said that Carol was whiny and I was taken aback. I can’t comprehend what someone going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment is experiencing. Therefore, I would not use the word whiny to refer to their response to a terminal illness.  In fact, I found the book to be quite the opposite. I liked how she and Giles’ relationship developed over a slow process into an amazing friendship. I always believe that things happen for a reason and I believe they were meant to meet. I would recommend this book because it is a good way to glimpse into the experience if it is not yours and to find appreciation for your own life. So I will give this book 3 1/2 butterflies.

Title: Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart
Author: Carol Wall
Copyright: March 14, 2014
Genre: non-fiction, memoir
Format: book Pages: 294

Happy Monday Catch-up and Gardening Goodness

Hello, everyone and happy Monday! It’s funny how I had so many thoughts of sitting down to write a post last week, but to be honest, the summer-like weather were experiencing kept me outside on my deck and in my garden. So Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there! I had the most relaxing Mother’s day yet and it started off with yummy breakfast-in-bed. My gift was awesome. They got me a year subscription to Ancestry.com. I will write a separate post about this so I can fully gush.

Last week, I began my first week of my spring Clean Cleanse. It actually helped a lot to have the warm weather because my water intake was great and eating more vegetables always seems to come easier to me in the warmer seasons. I am beginning week two and feel good. The first few days are always tough for me but the benefits felt, make it so much easier. More on this later.

My reading life took a hit with a slump but I have since recovered and will be writing some reviews of my recent reads in the Book Nook. I also have a book haul to share so come on back and take a peek!

As for work, I have been officially off from work for a few weeks, trying to rethink and plan stuff. I also have to begin the process of pairing down for our upcoming trips and summer vacation. I have decided not to send the boys to camp this year since we have two big trips coming up and they would miss too much for that to be a good choice. So I will be working out what they will be doing before I plan my reduced work schedule.

As for my gardening life, I planted my seeds in trays around May 10th for additional beauties to add to my garden this spring. I am not as confident when it comes to transplanting the baby plants when the time comes but it’s worth it when I am successful. So I am giving it a try again this year. Last year, with the advice of my garden girlfriend, Ashley, I had quite a few successes. So I’m at it again.

Leao painted our deck over and I am in paradise. That is my favorite place to be from May – late October.  We eat all of our family dinners there, I eat lunch there and breakfast in the summer. I spend hours reading there or listening to music. I bring my laptop and work out there, I color there. It’s my place. So when he said he was going to repaint it, I was ecstatic! That along with the new blinds makes it feel so warm and tropical.

I also received some happy mail last week. I didn’t know my name was entered for a giveaway when I signed up for an online class and this package arrived with all these great stamps and dies. I am so thrilled that they include sentiments so I can use them on different projects.  I rarely win anything so this was a real surprise. I can’t wait to play with them.

Well, I will leave you now and I hope that you have a blessed day!

Belinda

Happy Memorial Day!

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Happy Memorial day!!! I hope you are all spending time with loved ones and take time to reflect on memories of ones that have passed on. I intend on an intimate time  hanging out on our deck with the kids playing games and watching Nicholas help Leao grill up our meal for dinner.  I am in charge of lunch and need to run a quick errand to Whole Foods…what a coincidence, they have an amazing salad bar –what?? You suggest I buy lunch there? What a fantastic idea. I wish I thought of it myself!!

On to my post. I have been building a little fruit farm on our property for a few years.  I bought three dwarf fruit trees last year. So this year, I am determined to add more. So when I saw three dwarf fruit trees that were a decent size on sale at Home Depot, I was so excited.  I didn’t even hesitate. Of course I had already shopping for plants so I had a pretty full cart. And I always seem to thank goodness I have a large vehicle to stuff all my goodness inside.

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I name all the different garden beds in my yard with different names. I have one that I call my Buddha garden. Years ago I bought a Buddha to go in that area and a red pagoda.  So this year, I have decided to redesign the area to reflect more serenity.  So some of the plants I bought are in mind of the redesign.

My mother and I took a trip to Montreal Canada many years ago. We thought it would be fun to drive and it was. Although now that I am growing a bit older, I don’t know if I could hang that long in the car anymore.  While there we has so much fun and one thing we did was visit a Buddha Garden at the Montreal Botanical Garden. It was amazing. I loved everything and I see now they have added even more so a repeat visit is on my list for sure. So when we bought our home over 10 years ago, I knew somewhere I would like my very own Buddha Garden.

I will  be revealing the final design this week so be sure to check in.  I shouldn’t say final design because I still believe it is always evolving and morphing into something new.

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This day of shopping really marks the beginning of my gardening season. I am so excited to get things going.  I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable gardener but caring for fruit trees is very new to me so I am going to dive in and hope for the best. I bought a peach, plum and pear tree this time.  I look forward to them maturing abundant fruit for years to come! Any tips, welcome.

Have a blessed day!

Belinda

Spring – New Year’s for Nature

Don't you just love bulbs? Work once and years of beauty

Don’t you just love bulbs? Work once and years of beauty

Spring is such a special time of year. It’s like New Year’s for nature. What do I mean by that you say? Well it’s the time all the perennials get another opportunity to grow and bloom.  So as soon as I can, I walk around like the garden detective and look for signs of growth.

 

My mini deck garden is coming along nicely.

My mini deck garden is coming along nicely.

I hold my breath when I go to locations where some of my prized plants are to come like my peonies.  I start to envision what I want for the upcoming season. What colors speak to me this year, what new plants I want to try.

Cute finches happy that I put some food out for them.

Cute finches happy that I put some food out for them.

Watching the birds and the bees at work in my yard is always a fun thing and I am trying to expose the boys to these joys in hopes that they will have a spring ritual with nature when they have a home of their own. Whether it be to tend a garden or simply to observe the wildlife in their space.  It’s all very magical to witness.

The sound of birds singing in our yard is so sweet and the two times a day we hear the Canadian geese heading to the lake and then heading home is also a favorite time for me.  They have their own commuting schedule – to the lake in the morning and home in the afternoon.

I am late to plan my veggie garden but choosing to ease up this year and not fuss as much so that I can enjoy it more.  So I will head to the garden center to purchase some veggies later this week.

I hope you are having a nice spring and taking time to notice the little things in nature that really add beauty to our lives.

Have a blessed day!

Belinda

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