Talking to Zeus : My Year in a Greek Garden Paperback
by Jane Shaw
Jane Shaw was working as a volunteer in Chelsea's famous Physic Garden when she earned a placement to work for a year on a very special organic garden in Greece.
But this was to be no easy-going break in the Mediterranean.
The five-acre plot, which Jane swiftly named 'Alcatraz', was devoid of creature comforts, perched on a steep, remote hillside that was blindingly hot in summer and freezing in winter, and overseen by a 74-year-old, passionate, mercurial eccentric English lady called Joy.
On arrival, Jane is immediately drawn into the intrigue of village life, such as the ongoing feud with the nouveau richeex-pat neighbour with a sports car, whom Joy suspects has dug an illegal bore hole to water his terraced lawns.
But most of all she is beguiled by the vibrant energy of the landscape, the folklore, the food and the numerous engaging characters who flock to Joy as the wise matriarch of the locale.
The story arcs through a year of seasons in the garden as Jane learns to love its wild beauty and to relish the hard work and care it needs. This is a charming, wildly entertaining and joyful portrait of a very special place, and will appeal to anyone who loves gardening, or who has enjoyed books such as Driving Over Lemons.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages, line drawings as ch. openers
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
- Publication Date: 27/05/2010
- Category: Gardens (descriptions, history etc)
- ISBN: 9781849830188
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Review by eas
Jane Shaw writes compellingly of her memorable and life-changing experience in a five-acre organic garden situated on a steep hillside in Greece. It is no picnic - freezing in winter and blindingly hot in summer. Jane's mentor is the passionate eccentric and slightly mad Joy, the curator of the garden and this is the story of their developing relationship as well as Jane's developing knowledge of herself.It is a read that is hard to put down, drawing you in to the lives of the various characters - human and animal - with a generosity and livliness that takes you to the very heart of Jane's day-to-day, hour-to-hour experience. Her hardships are dire but her optimism great as she pushes herself ever onwards to face the rigours and complete her one-year's internship to gain her reference for Kew Gardens.Do take time to read 'Talking to Zeus'. It is Jane Shaw's first book and I can guarantee from the quality of content and writing it will not be her last. You wil end as I did, with a lump in the throat and a sad / happy wish that all could have ended differently - but a knowledge that the end was not only inevitable but right.