cover image Through the Garden Gate

Through the Garden Gate

Susan Hill. H. Hamilton, $0 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-241-11930-3

""The best gardens are something of a muddle,'' explains Hill, a British novelist, playwright and children's book author. Unfortunately, so is this uneven compilation of essays, poems and lists that share a gardening theme. Barrett's subtle, enticing paintings capture the magic of gardens, and some writings are lovely (in the chapter ``The Night Garden,'' Hill observes: ``there is a good, round moon, whitening the flowers, making the roses . . . like pale ghostly wands, and silvering the wisteria that tumbles over the balcony''). But much is trite and overblown, such as her fantasy-garden wish list that includes a waterfall, stream and lake. And is it necessary to warn readers not to ``insult'' children by giving them ``a neglected, weed-ridden, stone-filled patch'' to garden? Like a muddled garden, this book would be improved by judicious pruning. (February)