The Wild Garden

The Wild Garden
Cynthia Cliff

Jilly lives in a village called Mirren with her Grandpa and dog, Bleu. Outside the village, as we see in the beautifully detailed illustrations, is a wonderful wild place, a mix of meadowland, woods and ponds, while within the village is a carefully cultivated shared garden wherein people grow row upon row of vegetables and ornamental plants.

It’s the wild place that Jilly, Grandpa, and Bleu, spend much of their time, in spring enjoying the birds and minibeasts and searching for edible greens to eat for supper. At the same time the community garden is a hive of activity. And so it continues through the seasons, one difference between the two locations being that Jilly never knows what their forays might yield,

whereas the results of the labours of the other villagers in their garden are much more predictable.

Then with winter comes a fierce snowstorm after which the villagers decide to enlarge their growing space: a much much bigger garden should result in more and more rows of plants. Needless to say this plan perplexes Jilly and Grandpa: what will happen to the meadows, the nut trees and all those animal habitats? They have to do something to stop the wildlife devastation. Can two people possibly show all the other village residents that a bigger garden isn’t as they think, a better garden?

Perhaps there’s a way that everybody can be satisfied …

Cynthia Cliff’s illustrations of the contrasting growing spaces show that both have much to offer while both these and her story help make youngsters aware of the beauty and vital importance of nature; and how our amazing planet isn’t owned by humans, rather we must share it with the wealth of flora and fauna, respecting and caring for their habitats.

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