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What do you do when you find yourself living as a stranger? When Beth Lynch moved to Switzerland, she quickly realised that the sheer will to connect with people would not guarantee a happy relocation.

Out of place and lonely, Beth knows that she needs to get her hands dirty if she is to put down roots. And so she sets about making herself at home in the way she knows best – by tending a garden, growing things. The search for a garden takes her across the country, through meadows and on mountain paths where familiar garden plants run wild, to the rugged hills of the Swiss Jura. In this remote and unfamiliar place of glow worms and dormice and singing toads she learns to garden in a new way, taking her cue from the natural world. As she plants her paradise with hellebores and aquilegias, cornflowers and Japanese anemones, these cherished species forge green and deepening connections: to her new soil, to her old life in England, and to her deceased parents, whose Sussex garden continues to flourish in her heart.

WHERE THE HORNBEAM GROWS is a memoir about carrying a garden inwardly through loss, dislocation and relocation, about finding a sense of wellbeing in a green place of your own, and about the limits of paradise in a peopled world. It is a powerful exploration by a dazzling new literary voice of how, in nurturing a corner of the natural world, we ourselves are nurtured.


I loved Beth Lynch's tender, wise meditation on grief, home, and the restorative magic of making a garden
Beth's prose is as iridescent as the alpine gentians she describes. Her deep love of plants and gardens shines off every page
Gorgeously written memoir about inheritance, exile and the healing power of gardening
Caroline Sanderson, 'Editor's Choice' - THE BOOKSELLER
Beth Lynch's subtle and moving book is about the heart-work of finding and making a place for oneself in the world; the effort of putting down roots, the pain of tearing them up again, and how one grows to know another person or another landscape. Horticulture and human feelings twine together here - and what flourishes in the several gardens of this book is, in the end, hope
Beth Lynch grew up in rural East Sussex, where her parents, avid gardeners, taught her to love plants. As an adult she was uprooted to Switzerland with her husband, leaving behind the hellebores, geraniums, aquilegias and cornflowers dear to her heart. The move was a melancholy one. Feeling herself lonely, she turned again to the restorative magic of gardening to cure her homesickness. This tender, wise book shows how in doing so she reconnected with all that was familiar and found happiness
A quiet celebration of the garden, and the act of gardening. Through her connection to the earth, Lynch finds refuge, beauty and a sense of restoration - and her writing offers the same. I loved it
[Lynch] writes lyrically about the natural world
Constance Craig Smith, DAILY MAIL
A lyrical but also fiercely funny account of how having green fingers can cure your soul
Kathryn Hughes, MAIL ON SUNDAY
A lyrical reminiscence of cultivating a sense of rootedness in a new and (at least seemingly) inhospitable environment
Rafia Zakaria, TLS
Beth Lynch's beautiful book evades easy categorisation: part memoir, part travelogue, part heartfelt nature writing, this evocative book is deeply reflective on the themes of memory, sense of place and how we choose to entangle ourselves (or not) with the world and people around us . . . a contemplative read that will be particularly enjoyed by keen gardeners and nature lovers, but even the least green-fingered reader will warm to Beth's memorable, almost poetic meditations on family, sense of self and finding one's place in the world. A book to be enjoyed in the summer, in as green a space as possible
Charlotte Griffiths, CAMBRIDGE EDITION magazine
Beth Lynch is a gifted writer . . . This is a subtle book of evolving voices. The detailed and enthralling chapters describing Lynch's idyllic childhood garden in East Sussex and later her rustic home in the bucolic Swiss mountains of the Jura are joyous and vivid. The text is bright and buzzing with insects, bats, toads and butterflies . . . her lyrical writing about the natural world transports the reader to another dimension
Engaging . . . the wistful dreams of the garden-less gardener are not steeped in green lawns and tidy borders; they luxuriate on wilder things - plants bearing emotional attachments and wilful, obstinate character . . . Lynch's prose deals liberally in astute and subtle observation and, similar to reading V.S. Naipaul or Jan Morris, I found myself inclined towards multiple sittings . . . exceptional writing
Matt Collins, HORTUS
An utterly lyrical, charming account of how having green fingers can begin to soothe the soul
When Lynch moves to Switzerland she feels isolated and takes refuge in her love of gardening. In the process she reconnects with the garden of her Seventies Sussex childhood. A lyrical, charming account of how having green fingers can soothe your soul
This touching, honest and beautifully written memoir will appeal to anyone who has loved (or lost) a garden
This memoir evocatively describes how the author, brought up in a cherished Sussex garden, finds solace through growing plants - and never more so than as she nurtures precious cuttings from home after her parents die and the house is sold. That loss is still very present as she embarks on a new life in Switzerland with her husband where, daunted by an unwelcoming culture, the prospect of finding and making a garden makes life pleasurable again. An enjoyable read on many levels, this book is particularly enlightening on the difficulties of uprooting to another country.