Spirits bloom in ‘Garden Voices’ | SummitDaily.com

Spirits bloom in ‘Garden Voices’

Kimberly Nicoletti
summit daily news
Special to the DailyCarolyn Freas Rapp, a part-time Frisco resident, collected women's stories about how gardening touches their lives and included a dozen of them in her new book, "Garden Voice

FRISCO ” You don’t have to garden to enjoy the harvest of Carolyn Freas Rapp’s book, “Garden Voices: Stories of Women and Their Gardens.”

Rapp, a part-time Frisco resident, unearths soulful stories of 12 women who garden to not only feed themselves physically, but also to nourish themselves emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They approach gardening as a sacred practice, but their stories vary as much as a flower garden in full bloom.

Michiko grows exotic vegetables so she can photograph them. Susan brought flagstones home for her garden after every radiation treatment. Joan rises at 1:30 a.m. to pick fresh vegetables to sell at the farmer’s market. Francie re-creates Elizabethan gardens at the Shakespeare Folger Library. Judy ripens friendships through gardening.

And readers’ hearts expand as they journey through the 154-page book.

Rapp always wanted to spend time gardening, but being a working mom prevented her from digging in the earth ” until her first child finished high school.

“My role of mother was diminishing, and I just wanted to grow things, so I added growing vegetables and flowers to growing children,” Rapp said.

She used her background in storytelling to create simple, accessible stories from her 25 interviews of gardeners. Each story leaves readers with the hope that is inherent in the act of gardening ” even if it’s in Summit County.

“No matter what a mess the world is, plants grow if you take care of them,” she said. “It puts us more in touch with the life cycle. A garden can be healing without someone being physically sick. I leave my garden, after working in it, more balanced, moving more slowly, happy and more connected to earth.”

While some of the stories read better than others in terms of storytelling, each woman contributes interesting details and philosophies. Rapp introduces each woman’s story with a page or two explanation.

A reader can breeze through the text in a single sitting or return day after day to savor yet another story. Either way, the sacred act of creating and nurturing remains long after the book ends.

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