Imogene Lavender, her daughter, Jeanette, and her niece,
Loutishie, wage their individual battles with grief and
find the answer to many of life's questions deep in the red-
clay dirt of Euharlee.
After forty-eight years of marriage, Imo's life is
shattered when Silas, her beloved husband dies. She deals
with her grief by throwing herself into nurturing both her
vegetable garden and her girls. Imo's concern for Jeanette
and Lou supercedes any desires for self-fulfilment, and she
determines to go on with the "fever of this life on earth"
solely to guide Jeanette and Lou through the perils of
adolescence and too many visits to the Dairy Queen.
However, the longings of Imo's lonely heart and the
persuasions of well-meaning friends send her off on a man-
hunt. After a beautician at the Kuntry Kut `n' Kurl
transforms Imo into a woman who looks two decades younger
than her sixty-four years, Imo cruises the frozen food
aisle of the local grocery, looking for single men buying
Lou records her aunt's man-hunt and her love for her
vegetable garden in her journal, "Loutishie's Notebook."
She also ruminates here about her own grief and her all-
consuming fear of the Rapture of the Saints and store-
bought tomatoes. Her story is about the family's passage to
wholeness and brings us lessons on love, death,
disappointment, and acceptance of change.
Imo's search for love leads her on a journey that is
sometimes painful, sometimes comical, and always
surprising. When life gets too complicated, she turns to
her vegetable garden for solace and for distraction. The
seasons of life, death, and love reflect the seasons in her
garden, and ultimately, it is the garden that gives Imo a
feeling of connection with her departed lovers and hope for
Set in the fictitious town of Euharlee, Georgia, Truelove
and Homegrown Tomatoes is a down-home story celebrating the
enormous healing power of the Southern garden.