Skip to main content

Book Review: My Garden, the City and Me

My Garden, the City and Me

Rooftop Adventures in the Wilds of London

by Helen Babbs

My Garden, the City and Me

144 pages

Timber Press, 2011

List price: $18.95

I’ll admit that I like to read chic lit now and then. It’s mildly entertaining when I want to relax and not try to tax my brain figuring out the meaning of life. Most books of this genre (that I’ve read anyway) take place in Britain and while the nuances of difference in language and culture may not affect the outcome, they do flavor the story in a unique way. Besides being a book about gardening, it was the fascination with the British voice that spurred me to read My Garden, the City and Me: Rooftop Adventures in the Wilds of London by Helen Babbs.

Let me stress that this isn’t chic lit and I didn’t expect it to be. It’s a charming story of a year in the life of Babbs’ apartment…err, flat…rooftop garden. But it still has that British essence that I enjoy. I chose bedtime to read this book, not to help me find sleep, but to escape from the day to that rooftop far away in London. The rooftop served Babbs and me well in this respect.

Reflections of her year as a gardener and her views of her city make My Garden, the City and Me a pleasant read. I empathized with her trials, but because I'm a rural gardener, I especially cheered her success at growing so much in the middle of a metropolitan city. It’s a sweet memoir.

Helen Babbs is a freelance journalist and writer in her mid-twenties. She has worked for the BBC, Associated Press, and Time Out, and is editor of the London Wildlife Trust's magazine, Wild London. She has a monthly nature notes column in Kitchen Garden magazine and blogs on their website about her roof garden, in addition to writing for Organic Garden and Home magazine.

Read more garden book reviews

Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre