The Roots of My Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden, edited by Thomas C. Cooper, Timber Press (October 2, 2012); 164pp, paperback; publisher's price: $14.95; Amazon price: $11.29.
Why do you garden.....for fun, peace, work, connection to the earth, for food, to share, to learn?
The Roots of My Obsession features thirty essays from some of the best known voices in gardening: Raver, Pavord, Orr, Messervy, Martin, Kelaidis, Hobhouse, Hinkley, Fergus Garrett, Dillon, Avent, and more. They show that gardening is a passion and obsession that cannot be conquered or abandoned, only indulged. Each gardener tells a compelling story, relating their quest as a personal vision. The writing is direct, engaging, and from the heart and only three pages long. Well edited, I might add, by Tom Cooper who truly learned rock gardening by picking out rocks from his parents' farm.
For Doug Tallamy, a love of plants is rooted first in a love of animals: "animals with two legs (birds), four legs (box turtles, salamanders, and foxes), six legs (butterflies and beetles), eight legs (spiders), dozens of legs (centipedes), hundreds of legs (millipedes), and even animals with no legs (snakes and pollywogs)." For Rosalind Creasy, it's "not the plant itself; it's how you use it in the garden." And for Sydney Eddison, the reason has changed throughout the years. Now, she "gardens for the moment" and mostly in her troughs.
As you read, you may find yourself nodding your head in agreement, or gasping in disbelief. What you're sure to encounter is some of the best writing about the gardener's soul ever to appear. For anyone who cherishes the miracle of bringing forth life from the soil, The Roots of My Obsession is essential inspiration.
My book was a hostess gift from a friend, and I really treasure it. In fact, I re-read some of pieces over and over. Buy it as a gift for someone who gardens.
Betty Spar, Chair of the Book of the Month Committee and member of NARGS since 1993 and past president of Potomac Valley Chapter.