The Carefree Garden

Letting Nature Play Her Part

By (author): Bill Terry
ISBN 9781771511261
Softcover | Publication Date: June 1, 2015
Book Dimensions: 6 in x 9 in
192 Pages

About the Book

What happens when a lifelong gardener finally realizes that he must collaborate with Mother Nature rather than work against her in order to achieve his dream of creating the perfect garden? In this delightful and thoughtful narrative journey of horticultural discovery, Bill Terry asks how and even why we garden, and to what end?

These are personal stories, thoughts, and ideas about the “perfect” garden interspersed with humorous, imagined conversations with Mother Nature herself. As he works in his West Coast garden, choosing wild roses over the fancy hybrid teas, and discarding manmade hybrids and cultivars in favour of the charm and simplicity of peonies, hellebores, and tulips as they grow in the wild, Terry learns to welcome and encourage happy accidents, greatly reducing the work and effort required to maintain order (as most gardeners seek to do), and instead embracing a substantial measure of disorder.

The perfect garden, he discovers, respects both Mother Nature’s demands—integrating endemic plants, choosing natural species and varieties—and the gardener’s personality—expressing her own taste and creativity, and rich in private memories. This is a light-hearted and witty collection of reflections that will appeal to gardeners everywhere.

About the Author(s)

Bill Terry is a retired CBC executive, and the author of Blue Heaven, Beyond Beauty, and co-author of Beauty by Design. He lives on BC's Sunshine Coast with his wife Rosemary.


“Upon opening [The Carefree Garden] I became immediately captivated. The welcoming charm of the plants [Bill Terry] loves are echoed in his writing, which is full of wry humour and personal anecdotes.” —The Times Colonist

“Full of valuable gardening advice … this book is more than that: it is the story of Terry’s evolution as a gardener. While he is quite philosophical in his approach to taming the wilderness, he is also witty in a charming, garden-y way.” —Y.A.M. Magazine

“It seems that inviting Mother Nature for a conversation over coffee can have startling results. In this whimsical yet fact-filled, illustrated gardening book, Terry is taken to task by irritable Mother Nature, and he is urged to plant or sustain native flora in place of the refined hybrids and disposable annuals that gardeners enjoy … This book will be of great interest to those with green and brown thumbs alike.” —Coast Reporter

The Carefree Garden is a joyful celebration of the act of coaxing a garden into being on a Pacific Northwest shoreline under the watchful eye of Mother Nature herself. Both enchanting and instructive, this book is a life-enhancing delight; a pleasure to read and a feast for the senses.” —Jane Urquhart, author of The Stone Carvers and The Night Stages