Gardening & Marriage, Twigs in My Hair - A Gardening Memoir

A Garden and A Love Story

Will a marriage survive a partner who asks a flower fanatic: “Can you eat flowers?”

Writer Paula de Ronde reviews Twigs in My Hair – A Gardening Memoir

 

THE PROVIDER AND THE BEAUTIFIER

Photos courtesy of Hamlin Grange

Cynthia Reyes, author of A Good Home, An Honest House and co-author of the Myrtle the Purple Turtle series of children’s books, has now written Twigs in My Hair: A Gardening Memoir.

Anyone familiar with Cynthia’s previous books knows that the underlying theme is her love of home and family.  In Twigs in My Hair, she invites us to enter into her passion for gardens, her own and those of friends with whom she shared that passion.

Blog Photo - Tulip red and yellow CU

In writing that is almost lyrical at times, Cynthia takes us on a tour.  She is the guide that shows you how it is done.  Building a garden takes time and patience.  Cynthia is the artist, the earth is her canvas; Mother Nature is her helper, and sometimes not. 

Mama's Garden Pathway May 2015

The text is beautifully enhanced with the photography of Hamlin Grange, Cynthia’s husband.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee on Blue shrub

Cynthia painstakingly guides us through the creative process of making a beautiful welcome mat into her home.  She is the creative master of all things blooming while Hamlin, ever practical, tends the produce. 

Blog Photo - Late summer garden tomatoes

What a great combination: the provider and the beautifier.

Blog Photo - HG photo of Red Poppy

Twigs in My Hair: A Gardening Memoir,  is an analogy for life itself.  The garden evolves as the seasons do and as we do. 

The garden has late and reluctant bloomers as we humans do.  Will that wisteria ever bloom? 

The most lush and beautiful gardens require hard, sometimes backbreaking, work. But oh, what beauty results and how satisfying to see your efforts rewarded.   That is the same as in life itself.

Blog Photo - Crocus in Spring

The book is laced with Cynthia’s warmth and humour.  How do you get a fox to pee in a bottle?  Will a marriage survive a partner who asks a flower fanatic: “Can you eat flowers?”

I found something extra too.  As an accomplished author, Cynthia is able to say a lot with just a few apt words and phrases.   

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This is a memoir that goes beyond the passion of two gardeners.  It is also shines a light on the love between two people who grow with their gardens into a deeper unity with each other, with their family and home.

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The photos above may be used only with the express written permission of Hamlin Grange.

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Paula de Ronde  loves books. After a career as a librarian, she now writes a blog — stories about her 51 year love with her husband Bert.

A Good Home, Oma and Opa, Young readers

Oma Paula and ‘The Best Critics’

I never know how much to tell you about the journey that Myrtle is on! (Are you bored yet?)
 
But many of you have hung in with me through the rough times, so I figure you are more than overdue for good news. And right now, some of my ‘goodest’ news is about Myrtle.
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Blog Photo - Myrtle Readers Paula and the grandies
 When Paula de Ronde wrote about Myrtle on Facebook recently, I was delighted.
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“Yesterday I read Myrtle the Purple Turtle with three of my ‘honorary’ grandchildren. Myrtle got three thumbs up, some giggles and big smiles.
“Cynthia Reyes has written a book for parents and friends who love to read and love to read to children.
“We had quite a talk about it and it is a hit.   Zoe, who is only 2, sat through the whole thing and wanted me to go back to certain of the very colourful pages. She was the illustrations critic and by her response they certainly did what they are supposed to do –  engage through colour.

“Dylan Damien (8) and Charlie (6)… talked about ‘friends’  and that ‘it’s OK to be different.’

“I have told many friends about how much I like this book. However, these are the best critics as the story is for them.  I bet this becomes a go-to, cuddle-up book on those long Winter nights.”

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Stefan Steen took the photo above of his wife Stephanie, their 3 children and Paula.

Paula and Stefan go way back to his childhood, when he and her son Damien were close friends.  Sadly, Damien died young, but Stefan remained close to Paula and her husband Bert.

Stefan and Stephanie named their first child for Damien.  Damien was known for giving the greatest hugs, and Paula says she is delighted that the kids have learned to give her “Damien hugs” too. 

They are the grandchildren of her heart, she says.

Today, Paula and Bert are close to all three children, who call them “Oma”, and “Opa” (Dutch for “grandma” and “grandpa”).

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A retired librarian and cultural connoisseur,  Paula has an eye for great stories.  She was the first person outside our family to read the draft of Myrtle, and therefore was its first reviewer.

Blog Photo - Paula and Bert
Photo Credit: Heather Bubb-Clarke
She said this about Myrtle:
“It is a long time since I have been so effusive about a children’s book.  Now we have something other than The Ugly Duckling, et al,  for this age group with a nice dollop of  ‘how to’ for adults facing this dilemma too.
 

“Children will love, relate and respond favourably to the  humour and that light, underlying silliness that is their everyday language.  I was smiling as I read some of the lines, descriptions and Myrtle’s thoughts.

“There are many teaching moments and issues in this book and you present them in such a warm and lovable way.  It is simple but not simplistic, ethical, tackling issues that we so need to tackle today but without being pedantic.”

I respect Paula a lot, so you can imagine how much her critique encouraged not just me, but our whole family.  And now, we’re glad to know that she has read it to her ‘grandchildren’ too.

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Thank you, Paula, Stefan and Stephanie — and special thanks to our young critics!