One Woman • One Garden • One Dream

Welcome to Nonsuch Kitchen Gardens, a website designed and written by the brilliant Sara Douglass (Sara Warneke) who many of you already know sadly died on 27th September 2011 of ovarian cancer.

For those who are only learning of her passing now, I am so sorry.

Sara and me sharing a joke, nonsuch

Responsibility for Sara’s literary estate and thus her websites passed to me. Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Karen Brooks and I was one of Sara’s closest friends. I knew Sara for over twenty years and along with my husband Stephen, was her primary carer in the last nine months of her life. I am more than aware of the huge privilege and responsibility that Sara left when she entrusted me with her creative memory. So, you can imagine my horror when, not long after Sara passed, so did her websites. They vanished into cyberspace unable to be accessed or opened, no matter that I had passwords, had paid all dues and now owned the material.

It has taken me well over two years and a great deal of legal wrangling, emails, letters, conversations, and numerous requests to various host companies, domains, and employing IT professionals to try and restore this site.  Finally, just as I was on the brink of giving up believing the universe was telling me something, it spoke to me again. A woman named Gina, a wonderful and tireless cyber wunderkind, came into my life and managed – with much sweat, swearing and persistence, to restore Sara’s original site/s.

For many reasons, I have made the decision to keep NonSuch Kitchen Gardens as a memorial site (with some additional material that you may not have seen before). My reasons for this are both very personal and professional, but this site was important to Sara and thus to me. I want to leave her voice with all its humour, acerbic wit, fierce intelligence, anger, frustration, compassion, fear and sadness in tact. This site marks her final years – her last months at her gorgeous house, Ashcotte, in Bendigo and her move to Cornelian Bay, Hobart, where she chose to become as self-sustainable as possible and threw herself into gardening as well as writing in the way only Sara could.

This site records the renovation of her house and garden, the crops and flowers she sowed as well as the cats she loved and certain issues that either stuck in her craw or made her laugh. It was also where she wrote her final blogs and books and I am so very pleased to be able to have her magnificent, heartfelt and confronting blog post, The Silence of the Dying, on this site once more. The response to this piece globally was amazing and the requests I have had for it numerous. I’m so relieved that it’s once again available for you to read and consider.

This is a wonderful website, but it’s merely a glimpse into the woman, friend, teacher, writer, civic-minded, incredibly imaginative and beautiful person that Sara was – but how lucky are we to have this? I hope you enjoy either re-acquainting yourself with Sara or meeting her for the first time. Please, feel free to leave comments or observations and understand that the material on this site will not change – it will remain a cyber memorial for Sara and her fans.

Sara making us dinner

The good news is, as I mentioned above, it’s not the only site that’s been resurrected. The site formerly known as SaraDouglass.com is now SaraDouglassWorlds.com. If you are seeking information about Sara’s books, reviews, interviews and all things to do with Sara’s magic literary creations, then this is the site I hope you’ll visit and interact with over and over.

Enough from me, welcome friend and enjoy.

Karen Brooks
8th April 2014
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

 

 

 

Nonsuch gardensStephen and Sara Cornelian Bay