Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: The Roots of My Obsession edited by Thomas Cooper

Do you love to get down in the dirt, amending soil, pulling out weeds, patting compost lovingly around the base of new plantings, dividing hardy specimens, designing or enhancing the lay of the land?  Do flowers call to you?  Does nothing please your palate more than plucking a ripe fruit or vegetable you've grown yourself for your dinner plate?  Do you, in a word, just love to garden?  In The Roots of My Obsession, the collection of essays edited by Thomas Cooper, thirty of gardening literature's most respected writers have contributed short pieces about what compels them to garden, the obsession, the drive, the desire.  And each of the writers finds a different reason to garden, a different way of gardening, a different gardening ethos, and a different gardening aesthetic.  In fact, there are probably as many reasons to garden as there are gardeners in the world.  But this slight collection is instructive and hits the general themes that most people would touch on.  Some like to plan their gardens, some to let nature play a serendipitous role.  Some of the writers find great peace and solice in gardening, a way of escaping the more mundane aspects of their lives.  Others appreciate the riotous aspects of their patch of earth.  Some came to gardening as children at the knee of a relative; some came to gardening as adults almost by accident.  But all keenly feel and willingly surrender to its pull.  Most of the essays are interesting and charming and expose a green and fertile little corner of each writers' soul.  This is a delightful book for those who enjoy gardening or even those who love to wander among plants even if their own attempts at formally gardening, like mine, are less than picturesque.


  1. Oh, yes, yes, yes, and yes! I've added this to my list of to-be-reads. How delightful!

  2. I can't say gardening is my thing. I go through bursts of being into it and then I lose interset (usually when it gets too hot). We've tried a veggie garden for five years and I think the soil just won't work for it despite our best efforts. I'm finally giving that up.


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