Old Homes, Gardens and Women

courtesy: kjmcountrygardens.com

What is it about gardens and broken down homes that they are so readily included in women’s literature….chick-lit….chick-flicks?

When I read Alice Walker’s book of essays In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, I was struck by the number of books I’ve read or movies I’ve seen around this theme:  Wildflower Hill, The Forgotten GardenThe Physick Book of Deliverance Dane Under the Tuscan Sun (which I love) – to name a few.

Why is it that artists love to envision women bringing a barren piece of land to fruition?  So many stories involve bringing a garden or an old home to life, and in doing so, a woman finds herself, or is healed and becomes whole. The female protagonist will hammer and dig her way to a new life.

I wonder why we love to associate these ideas with womanhood and with a woman who is lost?

Maybe it’s the romantic notion that women nurture life.  Women give life.  We take care of something fragile, meet its needs and allow it to flourish. 

Maybe we’re so bad at taking care of ourselves, that the only way we can do it is when we trick our minds into believing that we’re taking care of something else and inadvertently, we end up taking care of ourselves (but, don’t tell us that – we’ll stop all the crazy refurbishing and planting immediately).

I wonder if our voices get so lost as we grow that we have to bang them out when we are adults?  Regardless, it does seem to be a beautiful process of rebuilding oneself.

Do you love the imagery of a woman restoring herself by restoring a garden or an old home?  What books have you read around this theme that you recommend?


4 thoughts on “Old Homes, Gardens and Women

  1. I am not the gardening/remodeling type, but I know lots of women who de-stress by gardening. I do think it has something to do with giving something life and keeping it alive. I also think just the feeling of dirt through fingers and the non-thinking (in a good way) aspect has something to do with it.


    1. True. I’m not the remodeling type and I discovered the benefits of gardening this past spring – though I am far from having a green thumb 🙂 Personally, I tend to overcome life’s challenges with exercise and lots of time with family & friends…but, for some reason literature loves to make women remodel and grow.


    1. Thank you so much for visiting! The Invisible Woman sounds intriguing and heart-wrenching. I’m glad my insights were of value. Sorry for delayed response…not so good at the blogging lately, but I do appreciate you comment.


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