Grounding

Lulah Ellender

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  • Granta Books
  • 2022
  • ISBN 9781783786978
  • 304 pages
  • Hardcover with dust jacket
  • 22.5 × 14.5 × 3 cm

Lulah Ellender’s garden in Sussex is an unruly but beloved place. It is also not permanently her own. When just a few weeks after losing her mother, Lulah is told that she and her family might have to leave the rented house that they have made their home, her immediate response is to freeze, to neglect the plants she has spent years cultivating. But before long she finds herself back in the garden, tidying, planning, and planting – putting down roots even though she may not be there to see the shoots emerge.

Drawing on her intimate knowledge of this small plot of land in Sussex, as well as her visits to the celebrated gardens close by – Charleston and Sissinghurst, among others – Lulah explores the broader relationship between gardener and garden. From artistic figures such as Vita Sackville-West, Virginia Woolf and Frida Kahlo to the long-gone inhabitants of a ruined village nearby, Lulah considers the ways in which tending the soil, growing plants, and tuning into the unceasing rhythms of nature can help us live with uncertainty and bring a sense of coming home, of feeling grounded, and ultimately of finding one’s time-bound place here on Earth.

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