Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow
Where others would see a long-abandoned property as a lost cause, Tara Austen Weaver saw promise. Through the course of fixing the house and overhauling the expansive garden and orchard, she and her mother learn to reconnect. As the garden blooms with the fruits (and vegetables) of their labors, so does their relationship. Reading this will make you want a garden of your own.
For fans of Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving memoir of rediscovering, reinventing, and reconnecting, as an estranged mother and daughter come together to revive a long-abandoned garden and ultimately their relationship and themselves.
Peeling paint, stained floors, vined-over windows, a neglected and wild garden—Tara Austen Weaver can’t get the Seattle real estate listing out of her head. Any sane person would have seen the abandoned property for what it was: a ramshackle half-acre filled with dead grass, blackberry vines, and trouble. But Tara sees potential and promise—not only for the edible bounty the garden could yield for her family, but for the personal renewal she and her mother might reap along the way.
So begins Orchard House, a story of rehabilitation and cultivation—of land and soul. Through bleak winters, springs that sputter with rain and cold, golden days of summer, and autumns full of apples, pears, and pumpkins, this evocative memoir recounts the Weavers’ trials and triumphs, detailing what grew and what didn’t, the obstacles overcome and the lessons learned. Inexorably, as mother and daughter tend this wild patch and the fruits of their labor begin to flourish, green shoots of hope emerge from the darkness of their past.
For everyone who has ever planted something that they wished would survive—or tried to mend something that seemed forever broken—Orchard House is a tale of healing and growth set in a most unlikely place.
Praise for Orchard House
“This touching memoir chronicles how the act of transforming a garden together—of ‘planting hope’—helps a mother and daughter reconnect and revive the sense of groundedness that had been lost within their relationship and themselves. . . . [Orchard House] deftly [captures] the love, laughter, trials and tears that make motherhood the joy and job it truly is.”—American Way
“Honest and moving . . . [the story of] one woman’s initiation into intensive gardening with her mother, which changed a neglected space into something beautiful and bountiful and shifted their relationship as well.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Fascinating, tender, often heartbreaking . . . The perfect gift for a mother or a daughter with an appreciation for the transformative power of gardening.”—HGTV Gardens
“A wise exploration of family roots . . . Nurturing a garden is a lovely metaphor for healing a family. . . . [Orchard House] could serve as a handbook for both.”—Shelf Awareness
“With buoyant grace and empathic insights, Weaver offers an ardent tribute to both the science of perseverance and the art of letting go.”—Booklist
“This is a glorious book—lyrical, honest, compassionate, and wise. It reminds us that gardens and families are messy businesses, but from them we can harvest hope and food and moments of grace.”—Erica Bauermeister, author of The School of Essential Ingredients
“Filled with sensuous descriptions, this beguiling story enchants. Gardeners and non-gardeners alike will delight in this lyrical tale of how a garden grows a family.”—Diana Abu-Jaber, author of The Language of Baklava and Birds of Paradise
“Orchard House is a glorious and deeply moving story of one family’s redemption. If Anne Lamott and Wendell Berry ever had a literary love child, Tara Austen Weaver might well be her.”—Elissa Altman, author of Poor Man’s Feast