Guest Post: Catherine Ferguson

The Garden of my Dreams

By Catherine Ferguson

All my friends are green with envy – over my green fingers!

My perfectly proportioned back garden is an oasis of floral beauty all year round, even in the depths of winter. And in the summer, I never, ever have to buy salad vegetables because there’s always an embarrassing abundance of ripe tomatoes, unblemished peppers, juicy cucumbers and perfect lettuce right outside my back door.

And did I mention the quality of my prize-winning begonias?

Actually, NONE of the above is true. Not one single word of it.

Except in my dreamy imagination …

The truth is, I would love to be a gardener. But rather like my heroine, Holly, in The Secrets of Ivy Garden, I have all the enthusiasm for it but wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

I fantasise about growing my very own vegetables. In stressful, deadline-looming moments, my mind will sometimes drift to a golden, sun-dappled future when I will be perfectly relaxed and contented, wandering down the garden path in the late afternoon, basket over my arm, plucking peas and tomatoes and raspberries for my supper and unearthing fragrant new potatoes to eat with my home-grown mint.

I do realise the reality would probably be a long way off the fantasy, taking into account pesky garden pests gorging on anything green and leafy poking above soil level and all the dire diseases that can wipe out an entire crop in a few weeks. But that doesn’t stop me dreaming of having my own little vegetable plot one day.

One day … aaaaah!

There are, sadly, several obstacles preventing me from creating my glorious ‘kitchen garden’ immediately. First, my current garden is really only big enough for a small patio area and a shed. And second, I’m not sure I have the time to devote to nurturing plants. I have enough on my plate at the moment nurturing a teenage son, never mind picking up after salad veg into the bargain. (Mind you, thinking about it, I’d probably get a marginally more lucid conversation out of a raddish.)

But the main reason I haven’t done it yet is probably because deep down, I suspect that growing vegetables might be a bit emotionally draining, and I get drained enough sometimes writing about the human heart in my books. I can just imagine the scenario: lovingly preparing the ground, sowing the seed, excitedly watching the little lettuces start to emerge, imagining all the crunchy salads to come – then being utterly devastated when Peter Rabbit sneaks in through a hole in the fence and demolishes the lot.

Or maybe that’s just an excuse because digging a garden is probably a whole lot of very hard work.

Ah well, one day …



When Holly breaks up with her boyfriend Dean, she’s at a loss as to what to do next. But things go from bad to worse when her beloved grandmother Ivy dies – and Holly is left in charge of sorting out Ivy’s house and garden. As she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings and makes her way through the wilderness outside, Holly soon finds that there is more to Ivy than meets the eye, and uncovers a surprising family secret that changes everything…

This is a heart-warming and hilarious story from Catherine Ferguson about starting over, learning to garden and most of all learning to love.

Click here to get your copy.


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