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From the publisher of THE HELP comes a uniquely moving and inspiring true story of an unlikely friendship between a white school teacher and the intriguing Kenyan man who arrives one day to tend her neglected garden and ends up transforming her life.

A moving true story of the unlikely friendship between two people who had nothing—and ultimately everything—in common.

Carol Wall was at a crossroads. Her children had flown the nest, her beloved parents were ageing and she had overcome a serious illness. A neglected garden should have been the least of her worries.

Until one day she sees a man working in her neighbour’s garden and realises he is responsible for its spectacular transformation. His name is Giles Owita. He comes from Kenya and he’s very good at gardening.

It was kismet. … And while I knew from the moment I met him that he was something special - truly, I didn’t know the half of it.’

Before long Mister Owita is transforming not only Carol’s garden, but her life. Although they seem to have nothing in common, a bond grows between them. When both are forced to share long-buried secrets, their friendship is transformed forever.

This is the story of a woman who at mid-life finds there is so much more to learn and a man whose grace in facing life’s challenges is a lesson for us all.

‘Deeply personal, poetic and brimming with humanity, this is a book of lasting grace.’ Steve Lopez, New York Times bestselling author of The Soloist


This memoir touches upon everything that is important in life. Not only is it beautifully written - I am also in awe of Carol Wall's raw honesty and incredible courage.

Kathleen Grissom, New York Times-bestselling author of The Kitchen House

Carol Wall’s suspenseful tale of human frailty and strength is a marvel. In her garden, an unexpected bond slowly forms as two people from distant worlds help each other confront long-buried secrets and fears. Deeply personal, poetic and brimming with humanity, this is a book of lasting grace.

Steve Lopez, New York Times bestselling author of The Soloist

Carol Wall’s disarming memoir Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening is a poignant tale of an unlikely teacher and a doubting student, who, by bringing a neglected patch of ground back to life, reveal the secrets of reclaiming, restoring, and freeing a wounded soul. It is a generous story filled with grace enough to bring healing to the reader as well. An engaging personal and spiritual journey into life’s essential questions.

Jonathan Odell, author of The Healing

In this moving memoir chronicling the many lasting rewards garnered from an unexpected friendship, writer Wall enlists a neighbour’s gardener, a man from Kenya, to help maintain her garden. What begins as a purely professional relationship, with Wall hoping to learn more about gardening, blossoms into an intimate friendship ... Owita, a quiet and unassuming man, transforms Wall’s unkempt lawn into a living masterpiece, showing Wall the beauty inherent in everyday life ...

Publishers Weekly starred review

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    March 3, 2014

    Bantam Australia

    304 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    March 3, 2014

    RHA eBooks Adult

    304 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au


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