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Even in the best of times, building a mosque in France has long been a tortuous endeavor. But it may now get harder, with tighter restrictions on foreign donations under President Macron’s new law against Islamism.

About two million Muslims in France practice their faith in 2,500 mosques that receive little or no public money.

Margaret Roach, who writes the In Garden column for The Times, wants readers to see planting and landscaping as more than outdoor decorating. She spoke to Times Insider about finding deeper meaning in gardening. Here’s an excerpt.

How did you get into gardening?

In my mid-20s, my father had died and my mother, who was about 49 at the time, got early-onset Alzheimer’s. Since she was a widow, I came home to Douglaston, Queens, to manage the situation, and I ended up getting a job as a “copy girl” at The Times at night and caring for her during the day. Someone thankfully gave me a James Underwood Crockett book, a companion to the PBS show “Crockett’s Victory Garden,” as a gift, and I just started doing everything in the book.

What did you take away from that experience?

It was occupational therapy. I had to be near my mother, but I could be digging in the front yard or pruning. So my initial connection with gardening was refuge. That was what did it for me — with the imprint of my grandmother Marion, who was a great gardener.

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