"Some folk fall into gardening, some are dragged into gardening, and a few others are born to garden. I fall into the latter category. There are a few marginal gardeners in my family but no one with what I now recognise as a single-minded passion. Just as a computer comes with certain pre-installed programs, I was born with a fully functioning 7.0 horticultural operating system, along with some specialised apps like an obsessive personality, an overactive imagination, an overly logical brain and a touch of ADD"
- Tony Avent.
This has been declared the year of reducing the perilous mountain of books and virtual books that have been accumulating over the last year or so. Bookshelves are groaning out aloud and the Kindle is in danger of spontaneous combustion. I blame it all on joining a reading group when I finished work. This has been great for taking me out of my comfort zone when it comes to reading, but the new to me authors and recommendations for further reading have reached epic proportions. For the foreseeable future new book purchases and using my library card will be carefully monitored. What I will be doing is concentrating on what is already under the roof.
Working on the logic that I will probably do more reading over the first three months and last three months of the year, the still to be touched gardening books are my immediate reading material. First candidate to emerge from the toppling pile has been 'The Roots Of My Obsession', in which 30 gardeners have been invited to write on the topic of why they garden. So the book is a series of short essays from the contributors who are in the main American and Canadian, although a few well known British gardeners also feature i.e.Fergus Garrett, Helen Dillon, Roy Lancaster, Anna Pavord, Penelope Hobhouse and David Wheeler. I had come across only a handful of the other contributor's writing before. In fact reading this book has left me with yet another list of authors and books that I would like to read which is defeating the object of the exercise somewhat.
At 162 pages this is a book that you can either read from cover to cover in a reasonably short time or savour it in bite sized chunks. It is a prefect dipping into book. There are no illustrations but they are not needed. As to why people garden the reasons are varied and make for delightful reading. I felt as if I had come across a number of kindred souls like Amy Stewart who writes "I'm not into shoes, lipsticks or fast cars. I'm into palm leaf begonias, because they are madcap Victorian creations that bring to mind dirigibles, Paris green wallpaper and opium dens. I garden because I can't help myself". What I did note is that many of the contributor's interest in plants and gardens began when they were children. It has certainly made me think about why I garden - maybe a subject for a future post. Now the deed has been done I'm not sure whether I can be ruthless enough to weed this particular book out of the book mountain and dispatch to the literary compost heap. More book reviews to follow as the year unfolds. Meanwhile I would ask you to tell me which gardening book you've enjoyed recently but that could prove fatal .......
'The Roots Of My Obsession', IBSN 13:978-1-60469-271-6 is edited by Thomas C. Cooper and is was published by Timber Press in 2012. It is available as a paperback and there is also a Kindle edition.