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The Roots of My Obsession: Thirty Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden Paperback – October 2, 2012
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“In revealing, deeply personal and highly reflective essays, the joys, challenges, and rewards of gardens are limned by the finest hands in the field.” —Booklist
“This charming, simple book makes a great gift for gardening friends, who can curl up with it on a rainy day and reflect on their own obsession.” —Publishers Weekly
“After finishing the book, you may even feel a bit better about your own all-consuming horticulture hobby.” —Country Living
“This is a wonderful book because you can leave it by your bed and open it to any short essay and find yourself relating, laughing, or learning.” —Winston-Salem Journal
“A visual feast of inspiration combined with practical advice on how to put together a garden that shines throughout the year. A great winter read.” —Pacific Northwest Magazine
From the Back Cover
A portion of the profits from this book will be donated to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation.
Top customer reviews
"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. Others interpreted the question as "Why do you NOW carry on with such intensive, passionate gardening?" This gives us a happy dialog of past and present, perhaps a felix culpa that the editor wisely let stand. None-the-less, all the essays live up to the book's title, the ROOTS of their obsession.
Among the joys of this book that will while away some happy hours when the readers can not be out in their own gardens are
--meeting with a surprising intimacy so many different gardeners compared to a book by a single author
--this is about GARDENS not farms not forests but gardens
--having a common starting place gives a coherence beyond the pleasant but quite different effect of excerpts from the published writings of various gardeners
--the intelligence of the editing and sequencing of the essays
--the space blessedly is taken up by the stories rather than a few paragraphs between photos although picture books of splendid gardens have their joys too
--while in no way a how-to book, there are fruits & blossoms of useful insights and advice in every essay.
--the excellent value, an affordable gift to yourself and to your gardening friends
Among the garden of books about "How do you garden," what delight to have one about the "Whys" of their obsessions in which we gardeners may recognize the roots of some of our own. I just ordered four more copies for friends.