Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Roots of My Obsession by Thomas C. Cooper

Due to the demands of my busy schedule and the occasional setbacks that gardening presents I have frequently been forced to stop and ask myself, “Why am I doing all this work to keep these plants alive?” Even after improving my gardening techniques to decrease the maintenance my garden requires I still wonder why I do it.  I recently discovered that I am not alone in my thoughts when I found a book devoted to why other people garden, entitled The Roots of My Obsession.

A fun read that is suitable for those with a short attention span. =)
My general experience with the book was good. As you would expect, the narrative from each of the 30 authors is so diverse that it keeps the book fairly engaging throughout. The main theme that many of the gardeners repeated was that, at some time (after having some major setback with their gardening) they decided to persevere and overcome their deficiencies. Even with all of my setbacks, these fellow gardeners have provided me with hope that, even as a slow learner, if I keep planting and trying I will eventually learn enough to grow plants well.

Having worked in the soil for a few years, I could really relate some of the quotes from The Roots of My Obsession. One author, Claire Sawyers wrote said that, she often picked places that were most suitable for growing vegetables. A plot of land suitable for growing vegetables was definitely one of the criteria for me when looking at buying the house that my family currently lives in. Another gardener, Margaret Roach noted that “the root of ‘humility’ comes from the Latin humus for ‘earth’ or ‘ground’”. I could relate with this because working in and learning from my garden always adds an element of humility to my life. The last quote I really liked was by Anna Pavord, who stated that “a good garden delights more senses than any other art. You can smell it, touch it, listen to it, look at it, eat it.” I could follow along with Ms. Pavord all the way until she said you could “hear it”. Perhaps I can hear the wind whistling through my plants, but most of the time I consider it a problem if I can hear birds, caterpillars, or mice munching down on my produce. I do however agree that the gardening experience is definitely one that engages many senses at a time.

Overall, The Roots of My Obsession turned out to be a pretty fun read. By compiling this book the author, Thomas Cooper, provides a multifaceted perspective on each individual’s gardening experience. It is definitely a good book for those who, like me, ponder upon why they garden.


  1. I had heard about this book and was intrigued...I think gardeners are obsessive by nature and would love to find out why?

    1. Gardeners?... obsessive? The very idea! (=


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I look forward to learning more about gardening with you. Your comments help me recognize that gardening is a life-long journey.

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