In her rose garden, prickly, private biology teacher Gal Garner blooms, tending her competition roses -- especially the one she's trying to breed -- with patience and care. On dialysis since she was a child, Gal is an expert at pushing others away, but her solitary and regimented ways come to an abrupt end when her niece, Riley, arrives after her mother takes off for Hong Kong. Though it isn't an easy process, Gal and Riley eventually establish a relationship, and Riley helps Gal learn to connect with and reach out to others. As in Ramsey Hootman's Courting Greta
, this exercise in compassion leads to reconciling with family members, participating in community life, and embracing new experiences.