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Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul: 101 Stories to Sow Seeds of Love, Hope and Laughter (Chicken Soup for the Soul) Paperback – February 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Chicken Soup for the Soul
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; First Edition edition (February 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558748865
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558748866
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 8.5 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,059,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling coauthors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, have dedicated their lives to the personal and professional development of others.

Marion Owen, is known as "The Compost Queen." Her columns appear in newspapers, magazines and web sites nationwide and her work as an award-winning photographer has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Audubon and Time.

Cynthia Brian, is the author of Be The Star You Are (Ten Speed Press) and hosts two television series, Starstyle Live Your Dreams and Starstyle The Business of Show Business. Cynthia can be heard weekly on Starstyle on Business Radio 1220.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Plum Pretty Sister

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.
Elizabeth Lawrence


Justin was a climber. By one and a half, he had discovered the purple plum tree in the backyard, and its friendly branches became his favorite hangout.

At first he would climb just a few feet and make himself comfortable in the curve where the trunk met the branches. Soon he was building himself a small fort and dragging his toy tractors and trucks up to their new garage.

One day when he was two, Justin was playing in the tree as usual. I turned my back to prune the rosebush, and he disappeared.

"Justin, where are you?" I hollered.

His tiny voice called back, "Up here, Mommy, picking all the plums for you!"

When Justin was three, I became pregnant. My husband and I explained to him that we were going to have another baby as a playmate for him.

He was very excited, kissed my tummy and said, "Hello, baby, I'm your big brother, Justin."

From the beginning he was sure he was going to have a little sister, and every day he'd beg to know if she was ready to play yet. When I explained that the baby wasn't arriving until the end of June, he seemed confused.

One day he asked, "When is June, Mommy?"

I realized I needed a better explanation; how could a three-year-old know what "June" meant? Just then, as Justin climbed into the low branches of the plum tree, he gave me the answer I was looking for . . . his special tree.

"Justin, the baby is going to be born when the plums are ripe. You can keep me posted when that will be, okay?" I wasn't completely sure if I was on target, but the gardener in me was confident I'd be close enough.

Oh, he was excited! Now Justin had a way to know when his new baby sister would come to play. From that moment on, he checked the old plum tree several times a day and reported his findings to me. Of course, he was quite concerned in November when all the leaves fell off the tree. By January, with the cold and the rains, he was truly worried whether his baby would be cold and wet like his tree. He whispered to my tummy that the tree was strong and that she (the baby) had to be strong too, and make it through the winter.

By February a few purple leaves began to shoot forth, and his excitement couldn't be contained.

"My tree is growing, Mommy! Pretty soon she'll have baby plums, and then I'll have my baby sister."

March brought the plum's beautiful tiny white flowers, and Justin was overjoyed.

"She's b'ooming, Mommy!" he chattered, struggling with the word "blooming." He rushed to kiss my tummy and got kicked in the mouth.

"The baby's moving, Mommy, she's b'ooming, too. I think she wants to come out and see the flowers."

So it went for the next couple of months, as Justin checked every detail of his precious plum tree and reported to me about the flowers turning to tiny beads that would become plums.

The rebirth of his tree gave me ample opportunity to explain the development of the fetus that was growing inside me. Sometimes I think he believed I had actually planted a "baby seed" inside my tummy, because when I drank water he'd say things like, "You're watering our little flower, Mommy!" I'd laugh and once again explain in simple terms the story of the birds and the bees, the plants and the trees.

June finally arrived, and so did the purple plums. At first they were fairly small, but Justin climbed his tree anyway to pick some plums off the branches where the sun shone warmest. He brought them to me to let me know the baby wasn't ripe yet.

I felt ripe! I was ready to pop! When were the plums going to start falling from that darn tree?

Justin would rub my tummy and talk to his baby sister, telling her she had to wait a little longer because the fruit was not ready to be picked yet. His forays into the plum tree lasted longer each day, as if he was coaxing the tree to ripen quickly. He talked to the tree and thanked it for letting him know about this important event in his life. Then one day, it happened. Justin came running into the house, his eyes as big as saucers, with a plastic bucket full to the brim of juicy purple plums.

"Hurry, Mommy, hurry!" he shouted. "She's coming, she's coming! The plums are ripe, the plums are ripe!",

I laughed uncontrollably as Justin stared at my stomach, as if he expected to see his baby sister erupt any moment. That morning I did feel a bit queasy, and it wasn't because I had a dental appointment.

Before we left the house, Justin went out to hug his plum tree and whisper that today was the day his "plum pretty sister" would arrive. He was certain.

As I sat in the dental chair, the labor pains began, just as Justin had predicted. Our "plum" baby was coming! I called my parents, and my husband rushed me to the hospital. At 6:03 p.m. on June 22, the day that will forever live in family fame as "Plum Pretty Sister Day," our daughter was born. We didn't name her Purple Plum as Justin suggested, but chose another favorite flower, Heather.

At Heather's homecoming, Justin kissed his new playmate and presented her with his plastic bucket, full to the brim with sweet, ripe, purple plums.

"These are for you," he said proudly.

Justin and Heather are now teenagers, and the plum tree has become our bonding symbol. Although we moved from the home that housed Justin's favorite plum tree, the first tree to be planted in our new yard was a purple plum, so that Justin and Heather could know when to expect her special day. Throughout their growing-up years, the children spent countless hours nestled in the branches, counting down the days through the birth of leaves, flowers, buds and fruit. Our birthday parties are always festooned with plum branches and baskets brimming with freshly picked purple plums. Because as Mother Nature--and Justin--would have it, for the last fifteen years, the purple plum has ripened exactly on June 22.

Cynthia Brian

(c)2000. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marion Owen, Cindy Buck, Carol Sturgulewski, Pat Stone, Cynthia Brian. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.



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Customer Reviews

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A MUST read for gardeners and non-gardeners alike!
Jane Ryan
I could smell the beef, garlic and tomatoes simmering in the kitchens of my childhood as I read of the life's lessions learned from her grandmother.
"ladyh9"
I like that I can read a short uplifting story when I just have a few minutes to read.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clint Hunter on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Another in the series of books with similar titles and formats. This time it is 101 stories relating to the joys of gardening and the personal, physical, and emotional benefits of the act of working with the soil to bring life to plants of all kinds.
Among the generalized headings for the stories are: The Joy of Gardening, Blossoming Friendships, Love in Bloom, Making A Difference, Little Sprouts, The Seasons of Life, Overcoming Obstacles, The Family Tree, and Potpurri. You can probably guess the general themes of the stories which make up each section. They range from the ridiculous to the thought provoking. I enjoyed most all of the stories. Two of my favorites were emotional in style.
One of my favorite stories is that written by Nelson Mandela about the garden he was eventually given permission to start while imprisoned on Robben Island. In summary, not only did the garden provide an "enduring satisfaction," but, as Mandela states, "a small taste of freedom."
Another story I enjoyed is Henry Boye's "A Son's Harvest" which relates how after being estranged from his father for thirty-nine years, their realization that both father and son were gardeners gave them a common ground for the establishment of a relationship. Having been given vegetable seeds by his father, Boye relates that now planting something that can be eaten in the garden each year serves as a constant reminder of that relationship.
There are many interesting short compositions in the book. If you have ever taken pride in a well planted garden, you are sure to find a few which are particularly pleasing or meaningful to you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bertha Sutliff on February 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Chicken Soup for the Gardner" is a must read book for those needing to know that life's rewards go far beyond the events of the day to day living of this world. Gardens are more than plants in the ground tended by that person with the green thumb. The gardens we plant in our hearts and tended by friendship are the ones that grow to nourish our spiritual well being. One of the stories, "Keeping the Harvest" by Carol McAdoo Rehme, touched me deeply. She shows us what range real love can attain. As a contributing author I am proud to be placed among so many who want to share their heartfelt and sometimes comical stories. "I'll Plant Anything" gives us the lighter side of gardening. Valerie Wilcox proves that true friends will do anything for true friends. Read "Chicken Soup for the Gardner" and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Galligar Chance on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This heartwarming, soul-satisfying collection of stories is a beautiful testimony to the special knowledge held dearly by every gardener, regardless of if they are first-timers or veterans. Even the smallest gardens have the ability to uplift our lives with the magical, unique understanding that they are living reminders of the potential beauty of the world.
Sharon Galligar Chance, Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Tx.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joseph J Hecksel on February 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul is a collection of 101 short stories and vignettes. Each piece is about three pages long, a format that is convenient for those of us who's free-time comes in little snippets. The stories share a common theme: Despair + a Garden + God's Grace = Wisdom and Peace.
Chicken Soup books seem to really polarize readers. A reader either really likes them and buy copies for all their friends, or dislikes them and would not buy one on a bet.
Let me assure the first type of reader that Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul is just as good the other Chicken Soup books. One of my concerns was that the quality of the writing would be inferior to the earlier books, that all the good material had already been skimmed. That concern was baseless. Evil is newsworthy because it is rare. Dignity, humanity, honesty and sacrifice ARE the human condition. There is no shortage of inspirational stories, just a shortage of publishers who think they are worthy of the readers' attention. Chicken Soup is still skimming the cream.
Book reviews are supposed to help the reader decide "Do I buy this book?" That is not much of an issue with this book. Chicken Soup addicts will buy this book. The question on the table is: "Do I buy this book for the cynical friend who thinks they are 'sappy', or 'maudlin'?" I think the answer is a qualified "Yes."
These stories do not strike a quick resonance with cynics. It is not because cynics have never felt despair. Rather, it is because cynics are afraid of the pain of revisiting those times. Cynics need to ease into these stories the way you might ease into a hot-tub. So buy them a copy and highlight a few stories like:
*A Veteran's Garden, page 25 "The Marines sent me overseas.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hannah Albright on October 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
A truly good book evokes cozy images and sensations from the past. And this is a very good book, one that teaches us to stop and consider how wisely we spend on this earth.
Among my personal favorites was Nona's Garden by Paul Silici. I could almost smell the delectably heavy garlic, beef and tomatoes slowly steaming in my grandmother's kitchen, and felt a tug on my heartstrings when she shared the story of her grandmother's lessions in life. Planting Day filled me with hope for the younger generation when I saw that sixteen-year-old Beth Pollack had written such an insightful essay. It was good to learn in Pat Stone's A Bedside Story that I'm not the only person who talks to their plants.
There's something for everyone in CS for the Gardener's Soul.
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