When she was a girl, Alice Vincent loved her grandfather's garden – the freedom, the calm, the beauty of it. Twenty years later, living in a tiny flat in South London, that childhood in the garden feels like a dream.
When she suddenly finds herself uprooted, heartbroken, living out of a suitcase and yearning for the comfort of home, Alice starts to plant seeds. She nurtures pot plants and vines on windowsills and draining boards, filling her new space with green, and with each unfurling petal and budding leaf, she begins to come back to life.
Mixing memoir, botanical history and biography, Rootbound examines how bringing a little bit of the outside in can help us find our feet in a world spinning far too fast.
Alice Vincent is Features Editor at Penguin Books, having previously worked as a writer and editor on the arts desk of The Telegraph. After teaching herself to garden in 2014, Alice started to share her adventures in urban gardening through Noughticulture, a newsletter and Instagram account, as well as in a column for The Telegraph. She has since written for Gardener’s World and Gardens Illustrated, appeared on Gardeners’ Question Time, collaborated with Hunter, Finery, Monsoon and Seedlip, among others, and hosts workshops and a YouTube channel for Patch Plants. Her first book, How To Grow Stuff, was published in 2017. She lives in South London.
"Breathtakingly beautiful writing about the natural world [...] Vincent's championing of female gardeners from eras past is both cheering and fascinating [...] Rootbound is a story of growth"
"This memoir has the potential to be the millennials' answer to Eat Pray Love"
– Daily Telegraph
"Rootbound is a poignant testimony to the joy that greenery will bring to your life, and it is a magical reminder that humans, like plants, can mend and grow in their own good time [...] A deeply personal exploration of the healing power of plants"
"Reading this book is like breathing fresh spring air. Rootbound is achingly honest and earthily good, a beautiful hymn to wild hope, strength and tenderness, in nature and in ourselves. I loved it"
– Charlotte Runcie, author of Salt on Your Tongue
"A book about heartbreak, salvation, nature and balcony gardens [...] Alice Vincent mixes memoir with botanical history to explore how plants can heal us"
– Huffington Post
"There are riffs on everything from famous women gardeners to the history of New York's wondrous High Line elevated linear park [...] Rootbound gives a revealing insight into Alice's generation, their concerns, self-absorption and earnestness. It also radiates a youthful enthusiasm and optimism, a hunger to reconnect with nature even in the midst of a sea of concrete, and the refreshing belief that anything is possible. Millenials, in particular, will love it"
– Daily Mail
"Unrestrained, exuberant, vigorous, forthright [...] A tender and wholehearted story of re-finding that most precious resource, the space to grow"
– Helen Jukes, author of A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings
"Heartbreak can be the best teacher [...] [A] hopeful memoir of self-discovery and horticulture [...] A beguiling bouquet whose vibrancy feels extra welcome as the first green shoots of spring start to show"
– Mail on Sunday
"Vincent's story is being held up as a guidebook to the millennial generation's fascination with plants, but it's more than that [...] Beautifully composed [...] A prescient pre-COVID-19 account of how unsatisfactory a life disconnected from nature can be"
– Financial Times