I don't plant flowers or maintain a garden. My genes don't allow it. My mom would be the first to admit that neither she nor the rest of us have green thumbs. In her thoughtful and affecting debut, memoirist Carol Wall deftly introduces the polar opposite of people like me: Giles Owita, a Kenyan expatriate living in Virginia, who could conceivably be called a Grand Master of Gardening. He takes good care of every aspect of gardens because, as he puts it, "Every yard must have its flowers."
Wall, who is also a cancer fighter, doesn't believe in Owita's green philosophy. Flowers remind her of death - her sister Barbara, a Down syndrome baby, died of heart failure at the age of two and Wall recalls putting flowers on Barbara's grave.
Wall's yard has "muddy splotches in the midst of thinning grass, shrubbery turned brown or wild and out of control, the ...
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