Book Review: The Roots of My Obsession

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

edited by Thomas C. Cooper

162 pages
Timber Press, 2012
List price: $14.95

I’m always interested in the how and why of things, especially when it comes to a person’s motivation for doing something. It seems to never be what you think it is and is almost always a testament to the vast peculiarities of the human personality. Perhaps I should have majored in psychology, but aren’t we all a little bit fascinated with how humans think?

This may be why I love to read memoirs, especially gardening memoirs. In The Roots of My Obsession, some of the major players in the gardening world share how and why they got involved in gardening. Their stories will resonate with those of us who understand their passion and we’ll feel a kinship with them, perhaps giving us permission to obsess right along with them.

Among the collection of gardeners featured are plantsman Dan Hinkley, edible queen Rosalind Creasy, nature enthusiast Doug Tallamy, and former The Victory Garden host, Roger Swain. Each of the thirty tells his or her story in their own chapter, making this a book you can pick up and put down at will. It’s an easy read, and personally, I’d like to see a sequel featuring more from other gardening personalities. You can never get enough of fellow gardeners “talking shop,”  can you?

Thomas C. Cooper is senior editor at Boston College Magazine. He is also the former editor of Horticulture magazine and The Gardener.  He has written for the New York Times and the Atlantic and is the author of Odd Lots.  He lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Read more garden book reviews.
Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre.

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