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Tales from an Under-Gardener: Finding God in the Garden - 52 Devotions [9781788932202]

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Read an interview with Richard Littledale here >

Expand the description and scroll down to view the Preach magazine review.

A beautifully illustrated devotional book that looks at what we can learn about God from tending our gardens. Richard Littledale invites you to push open the garden gate and join him as he discovers the joy of gardening.

A reluctant gardener, Richard took up 'project garden' to help combat the loneliness of bereavement, only to find that the physical transformation of his garden mirrored a real change in himself too. Follow Richard's journey through 52 tales and uncover what gardening can teach us about patience, humility, hope, fruitfulness and the abiding goodness of God.

Beautifully illustrated throughout, each tale includes a gardening story, a biblical reflection and a prayer. Whether you are an enthusiastic beginner or naturally green-fingered, this gentle and encouraging book reveals inspirational thoughts about life and God from the perspective of the gardener.


This is a devotional guide opening the garden gate and journeying with the author as he discovers the joy of gardening, and what it teaches us about ourselves. The 52 devotions (chapters) are only six or seven pages long and they include gardening anecdotes, biblical reflections and prayer. There are many hand-drawn quality illustrations to complement what has been written.

The book is a very personal experience in ‘making a garden’ and in learning to improve the gardening experience, which includes the mistakes made such as not drilling drainage holes in an old trunk being re-purposed as a planter, and committing a ‘cardinal sin’ of moving hellebores! There is the realisation that planting is not for now but for the future, this is finely illustrated in Tale 25 when Richard bought a ‘twig’, and nothing happened for a few months, in January things started to happen, and in the summer of the following year a Virginia creeper was evident.

Richard is minister at Newbury Baptist Church to which he moved from London a few years ago, and he found journeying through his new garden experience a means of solace, inspiration and hope. This is evident in the new light shown in the reflections on often well-known passages of scripture.

It became apparent that the book was partly cathartic for Richard and partly a desire to share his experience of the way gardening helped overcome the grief of the death of his wife, and the way it helped him overcome the ensuing loneliness.

A really helpful, well-written book to dip into and find something useful. Many others in circumstances similar to that of Richard, will undoubtedly also find solace, inspiration and hope in reading this book and in the simple activity of gardening, with the enjoyment and sense of achievement in producing a new creation. Readers may also find comfort, after the loss of a loved one, in their journey towards hope by reading Postcards from the Land of Grief by the same author.

Review by Alan Rashleigh for Preach magazine, Issue 31. Alan has been a Methodist local preacher for 48 years and is a retired ATC chaplain; he is a VAT consultant specialising in charities and is a former Finance Director of LWPT and LWPHomes.


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AUTHOR: Richard Littledale is an author, preacher, pastor, BBC broadcaster and, above all, a highly skilled communicator, innovator and expert storyteller. 26,000 people read his regular blog.

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Richard Littledale
Authentic Media
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