I have an essay published at The Millions. This is a lovely literary site I’ve followed for years now and it is such an honor to be published there (especially after I had a couple of rejections from them in the past.)

This essay is a braided one, with personal and literary aspects to it. I write about how Voltaire’s Candide inspired both my physical garden and my literary one. Along the way, I share thoughts from Virginia Woolf, May Sarton, Diane Ackerman, Adam Gopnik and . . . The Martian (by Andy Weir.)

It took me the best part of a year to tinker with it until I was ready to send it out.

The first real garden I grew on my own was in 1996, when I was in my mid-20s. I had graduated as an engineer and started working at a pneumatics manufacturer in the British Midlands. My one-bedroom rental was in an old semi-detached two-story house where the local council authorities had converted each floor into a separate flat and sold off to private owners. Each flat had a small, equally sectioned area of the backyard. From my upstairs kitchen and bathroom windows, I could see the entire backyard with its two neatly fenced-off plots.

Read the complete essay at The Millions.

2 thoughts on “Published: But Let Us Cultivate Our Garden (The Millions)

  1. Jenny, I’m so glad I went straight into reading about your garden(s) rather than adding the link to a reading list that never gets any shorter!

    What a lovely essay you’ve written and how resonant the ways you’ve recognized that you are a gardener, tending many different gardens all at the same time. Thank you for the seeds and flowers I’ve taken from you—as you know, all gardens are thieves!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Hazel. I’m glad you read it right away too. 🙂 And glad that it resonated with you. Given your own interest in plant life and nature, I should have known it would.

      Hope all is well. I’m not on FB much, as you see, other than to share the odd bit of writing. We must have a long, newsy email catch-up about our latest interesting reads one of these days, though.



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