The Magic of Books and Gardens

By Peggy Webb (Guest blog- Mississipian Peggy Webb is the author of 64 novels, including Driving Me Crazy which was submitted for a Pulitzer. Beloved for her comedy and lyrical writing, she has turned her talents from romance to mystery with her debut Southern Cousins Mystery Series ).

I have four lush and lovely English gardens at my house, and I created every one of them from scratch. When I moved into the little cottage where I write with three dogs at my feet, I had eight shrubs lined along the front porch. They looked like meatballs. Looking out the window at that pitiful display inspired nothing in me except the urge to pull the shrubs out by the screaming roots and start all over.

You see, great gardens are like great books; both require vision, planning, hard work and the talent to make them grow.

I started my gardens with a barren patch of earth underneath a giant pecan tree and a venerable cedar. It took almost a year to haul camellias and daisy gardenias up from Fairhope, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida then plant Columbine, bearded iris and every variety of daffodil known to man. Next I collected old brick from my farm and laid a winding pathway through the newly named Enchanted Garden. The finishing touch was a pergola complete with climbing roses and Carolina jasmine. I dug every hole, planted every flower, hauled every brick and even built the pergola (with help from my daughter-in-law).We played the Tom Sawyer trick of making the building project look like such fun, the neighbors joined in.

Additionally, I now have the Angel Garden, Sugar’s Garden and the Secret Garden. In the way of every great garden and every great book, they provide year-round magic.

Where do you find your magic? What parallels do you see between gardens and books? What’s growing in your garden and sitting in your bookshelves? I’d love to hear from you!

ELVIS AND THE DEARLY DEPARTED by Peggy Webb is in bookstores NOW!   It’s the first book of her new comedic SOUTHERN COUSINS MYSTERY SERIES, starring the zany Valentine cousins and a sleuthing Basset hound who thinks he’s the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Think “Stepahnie Plum meet Fried Green Tomatoes.”   When the body of a prominent  psysician goes missing from Uncle Charlie’s Eternal Rest Funeral home, the Valentine cousins (and Elvis, too, of course) set out in hot pursuit of the recently imbalmed, last bound for Las Vegas by way of downtown Tupelo.  Her website is at 

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