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The Roots of My Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden [Digital]

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Digital
  • ISBN-10: 1604694122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604694123
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, amusing wintertime reading for gardeners December 29, 2012
This pithy little book makes for great winter reading. It's a series of essays, each about five pages long, by 30 different gardeners talking about the pivotal moment where they became a real gardener. While I'm sitting indoors this January getting twitchy from wanting to prune and transplant and weed, it's a wonderful thing to be able to revel in that passion by reading about other people's love affair with gardening.

Tovah Martin starts her essay by saying, "To set the record straight, I don't garden of my own free will. I am held hostage. Always have been."

From Margaret Roach: "It is no wonder so much of gardening is done on one's knees: the practice of horticulture is a wildly humbling way to pass the days on earth. Even the root of the word "humility" comes from the Latin humus (for "earth" or "ground"). . . Humbled or no, "gardener" was the label imprinted on me when souls were handed out."

Then, Amy Stewart makes the point that gardening is a verb, not a noun. "A garden is not a thing you can buy or own or ever possibly finish. No, "garden" is something you do. It's an active, fidgety sort of pastime, another way of jingling the loose change in your pocket, except that the pocket happens to be your backyard, and the change is a hellebore, or a cherry tree."

Good stuff, yes? If this book sounds like your kind of thing, then you will almost certainly like it. It's exactly as it is billed. The authors are quirky, spirited, and a lot of fun to spend time with, and the book itself is presented in an attractive paperback format with a little cover flap that makes it look a little extra-special for gift-giving.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure October 8, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ordered for a friend who is avid gardener. Read it to see how it was & enjoyed it a great deal. Short, interesting chapters
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gardeners write about what inspires them October 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Thirty gardeners write about what (or who) inspires them and how they became devoted to gardening. Each essay is about 5-6 pages long. I bought this for my Kindle and enjoyed it very much. The writers include: Tony Avent, Thomas Christopher, Rosalind Creasy, William Cullina, Rick Darke, Page Dickey, Helen Dillon, Ken Druse, Sydney Eddison, Fergus Garrett, Nancy Goodwin, Susan Heeger, Daniel Hinkley, Thomas Hobbs, Penelope Hobhouse, Panayoti Kelaidis, Roy Lancaster, Tovah Martin, Julie Moir Messervy, Stephen Orr, Anna Pavord, Anne Raver, Margaret Roach, Marty Ross, Claire Sawyers, Amy Stewart, Roger Swain, Douglas Tallamy, Richard Turner and David Wheeler.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Garden of Earthly Delights January 18, 2013
By Owl
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This charming little book offers a new vista in our gardens of earthly delights. Here Hieronymous Bosch might have painted 30 figures--well more, if he included such splendid family members as Fergus Garrett's Turkish grandmother whose flowers "were her great love and joy" or Panayoti Kelaidis's rock-garden besotted brother-in-law, Allan.

"The Roots of My Obsession" began when editor Thomas C. Cooper invited some well-known garden writers to reflect on "Why do you garden?" Whatever the original number so invited may have been, he obtained brief (5 to 6 page, probably as long as requested) replies from 30 gardeners.

Some are legendary figures such as the venerable Penelope Hobhouse and the greatly admired Margaret Roach. All are suitably obsessed, some to that point described by the late, great Henry Mitchell, garden writer for the Washington Post, of the understandable madness of a friend who planted hundreds of packages of seeds for a narrow city garden. Mitchell's essays are available elsewhere but the obsessions here are as he described.

Every one of these 30 gardeners writes splendidly, in a unique voice, and every one of them has a fascinating story to tell. One expects such prowess with words as well as plants from the likes, say, of Amy Stewart whose "Wicked Bugs" is a gardening best seller and who has written five books and appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows, or from Stephen Orr, editorial director for gardening of Martha Stewart Living, whose essay "The Flower Thief" may have you LOL.

That is, these are professionals and it shows!

Most of the writers interpreted "Why do you garden?" as "How did you get so involved to begin with?"--that is, the origins of their vegetable love.
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The Roots of my Obsession, Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden, edited by Thomas Cooper, Timber Press.
Under the stewardship of Thomas Cooper, innovative Timber Press collected first hand experiences of distinguished gardeners from around the globe and encapsulated them into a little book whose size belies the grandeur of its contents.
Do not be misled by the title. This is not a collection of cobbled - together, self-congratulatory paeans to horticulture. Instead, consider it a jewelry box filled with personal sketches that touch the heart of those that open its cover. Mr. Cooper himself has written a sublimely crafted introduction that represents garden writing at its best.
Imagine your favorite musicians. Then, think what a concert would sound like if they all assembled to perform at a command performance. Now, envisage this publication; for that's what this is: - a concert of master gardeners, each with their own moving solo.
The publishers solicited thirty personal recollections from some of the world's most prominent horticultural voices to find out what motivated them. It is not a coincidence that they are all, in their own right, superb garden writers. Only the splendor of their professional accomplishments surpasses the beautiful skills of communication they display here.

Some of the participants in this book submitted short essays, others have written a short narrative. A large number connect the dots of gardening back to pleasurable childhood experiences. Regardless of the kind of horticultural journey they traveled, all share a love for this passionate hobby.
With a variety of thirty different personal experiences to discover, readers who garden will find themselves reflected in the pages of this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars 2 Stars
I was expecting some very emotional wow stories. They all sounded the same.
Published 24 days ago by Garden Geek
4.0 out of 5 stars Why we garden
Very interesting to read how thirty great gardeners got interested in gardening. I read with interest, as a fellow gardener, and found some common ground (no pun intended) with... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Florence R. Miner
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful book for anyone who loves to garden or just ...
This is a wonderful book for anyone who loves to garden or just loves to read about gardening. I enjoyed it so much I bought several copies for Christmas presents.
Published 15 months ago by czbyer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Those that were interesting were fantastic. easy light
maybe 50% of the gardeners had something interesting to offer. Those that were interesting were fantastic. easy light reading
Published 18 months ago by Chase Tydings
4.0 out of 5 stars Rainy Day Reading
Overall, I enjoyed the essays, but I got the feeling after I finished reading them that they were mostly of a literary nature, and not so much from the grunt and sweat of a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jorge Martinez
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Enjoyable book with interesting stories. I can relate to some of them, being a gardener, but most are not about average gardeners. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Jody
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it a lot- my largest complaint is that it's too short!
I just started gardening two years ago and wanted to read about other people's experiences to understand my obsession more. This book was really great for that. Read more
Published 23 months ago by K. Ostrovska
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding anthology
This anthology of personal observations should be required reading for all gardeners. This is a wonderful collection of well written essays.
Published 24 months ago by Fletcher Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Morning Coffee Book!
This collection of gardening stories is so great! All gardeners will find their own story somewhere in here. Read more
Published on August 28, 2013 by Dan
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