Viola isn't too lucky when it comes to men. She is still great friends with her first husband Marco, father of her teenage daughter Rachel, but he long ago realised he was gay and lives with his partner James in Notting Hill. Viola's second one, a hard-living soap-actor called Rhys, crashed his Porsche into a tree and died while leaving her for someone else. Harrassed at their own home by Rhys's grieving fans, Viola and Rachel have been living quietly for months back at her mother's rambling old house where her brother and sister think she should stay for her own safety whereas her friends think it's time she moved back home and set about finding herself someone new to love.
A motoring mishap of her own during which Viola meets a man at midnight who is planting a tree on a traffic island makes her decide it is time to get on with her life at last. What she hasn't counted on is fierce opposition from her family – do they really think she is, at 35, incapable of coping (Ok she does seem a bit accident-prone) or do they have an agenda of their own? And why is her increasingly frail Bohemian mother so insistent on staying in a house that's full of rickety stairs and treacherous floorboards?
Rachel, meanwhile has a bit of a secret life of her own going on, meeting a boy while working on her aunt's stall on Portobello Road and wishing fourteen wasn't such a scary age.
I've been keen on the idea of guerrilla gardening for some time now ever since I saw a crop of sweetcorn and sunflowers on a small roundabout in East London. It was such a joyous and unexpected sight and made me want both to do some planting of my own and to write about it. I love the idea of the secret planting of flowers and vegetables for everyone to enjoy. For this book I came up with a delicious man called Gregory Fabian who late at night slides out and plants bulbs, trees and flowers in unexpected places like supermarket car parks and disused council window-boxes.
For myself, well just along the road from me there is a patch of ground where the council have planted some dull clumps of ornamental grass. Gradually, I'm planting fruit trees on this land to make a community orchard.