I simply love this review by Toronto writer Lionel Gayle:
SHE HAS TWIGS IN HER HAIR
Plants flourishing in the garden—such a colourful scene. Perhaps it stirred up envy or stoked admiration in a few visitors and passers-by. Everything seemed hunky-dory, they probably said. And the gardener just had to sow the seeds, or plant the seedlings, or stick the cuttings in fertile soil. Plus, adding water if it didn’t rain. A few months later, jackpot! Pretty flowers ready for the vase, and fresh vegetables for the steamer.
Growing a garden from roots to shoots—or by any method—is not so simple.
Ask Cynthia Reyes. The “passionate gardener” shares a piece of her horticultural world in her latest gardening memoir, “Twigs in my Hair” (2019).
She’ll tell you, “Gardening is much more than growing pretty flowers and nutritious vegetables.”
And, let’s say you decided to garden outside of Toronto as she does, prepare yourselves to wage a helluva war—or wars—with wild creatures, including rabbits and squirrels.
People will say gardening is hard work. But you don’t have to be interested in gardening per se to appreciate this book—157 pages of fun reading, and colourful photographs. Take the chance to snoop into Cynthia’s family life, and find out which member prefers to grow vegetables than flowers.
Just promise you won’t whine because the pictures have no captions. And, don’t liken the images to children without names
“Twigs in my Hair” is a synopsis of Cynthia Reyes’ life journey. A journey that includes her dream of becoming a gardener when she became an adult and acquired her own home. From rural Jamaica, where the failure of her first childhood garden broke her heart, she’s managed to forge a symbiosis with nature, on the outskirts of Toronto.
This little book has lots of real-life gems. As you hide indoors from Covid-19, just use the gardening landscape as a backdrop to some of Cynthia’s lifetime activities. And hide your surprise when she talks frankly about her “days and nights of sin” that turned her into “a dirty old woman.”
What she describes as the “conflict of horticultural proportions” resulted in a bangarang with her husband Hamlin Grange (who supplied the photos in this book). But what was the fight all about? And did they ever learn to garden together?
Did Cynthia ever find out why her gardening teacher refused to see her in his last days? And what was she doing in South Africa when the said tall, white-haired gardener died?
And while you hunt for those juicy bits, find out how the mother and wife, who styled herself as “a fierce gardener” reacted when her gardener friend, Les, pulled a prank on her. And see who saved her from the gigantic humiliation.