About the Book

Author’s Note

Lucy Lavender and Topiary City is fantasy-fiction for ages nine and up. It’s a story set in a place where people have plant personas and plants have people personas, where everyone—plants and people alike are reliant on water for their survival.

Each of the main characters has a colour and flower that is representative of them. For Lucy it is lavender and the colour is purple, for Santolina it is santolina and the colour is yellow. For the Arum King it is the arum lily and the colour is aubergine, and for the Queen of Roses it is the rose and the colour is red.

For readers who wouldn’t know an arum lily from a rose, or santolina from lavender, I have created a Pictionary which lists 80 different plants referred to in the story and one or two facts about each. Many of the plants in the text have hyperlinks to the Pictionary at the end of the book.

There are some quite difficult words for younger readers, and I considered hyperlinking these words to definitions, but felt that their meanings could (most times) be understood in the context of the sentence.

Much of the book was inspired by actual places I’ve been to - or lived in, people I’ve known or plants I’ve met. The vineyard and especially the lavender came from living on Waiheke Island, the Pillared Palace from Auckland’s War Memorial Museum, and the topiary from the sculptural gardens of wealthy homes.

However, much is imagination. The tall grasses could be a US prairie land, the mud-brick highrises of the Topiary City, like the ancient walled city of Shibam, Yemen—without the ficus of course!

So welcome to Lucy Lavender’s planted world. For a peek inside her world, just click on the excerpt which will take you to the start of the book.

J. A. MacCulloch

Candytuft Canterbury Bells Cardoon Cornflower Saffron Larkspurs Lavender Penny Royal