Canadian literature has long been preoccupied with the wilderness and the landscape, but the garden has remained neglected terrain. In Garden Plots, Shelley Boyd focuses on private, domestic gardens tended by individual gardeners, to show how modest, everyday spaces provide fertile grounds for the imagination. Combining the history of gardening with literary analysis, Garden Plots explores the use of the garden motif in the works of five authors: Susanna Moodie, Catharine Parr Traill, Gabrielle Roy, Carol Shields, and Lorna Crozier. With works spanning the nineteenth to twenty-first centuries, these writers reveal the associations between the arts of writing and gardening, the evolving role of the female gardener, and the changes that take place in Canada's literary gardens over time. With the task of understanding our connection to the physical environment becoming increasingly important, Garden Plots explores the subtle relations between place and narrative. This fresh, literary approach to Canada's gardening culture reveals that gardens grow and change not simply in the earth, but also in the pages of our texts.
Shelley Boyd is the Canadian literature specialist in the Department of English at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia.
?A poetic and insightful analysis, Garden Plots will inspire a fresh interest in reading (or rereading) the works of these influential writers.? Geist
"Building on the pioneer writing of Moodie and Traill, Shelley Boyd moves gracefully into the twentieth century and provides insightful readings of works by Roy, Shields, and Crozier. Garden Plots adds much to our understanding of the writings of these authors and provides a new way of re-conceptualizing Canadian writing, past and present." Michael Peterman, Department of English, Trent University