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giveaway: the 'why's' of 30 garden writers

I WAS HONORED to be invited to be one of 30 voices in the new essay collection “The Roots of My Obsession: 30 Great Gardeners Reveal Why They Garden,” just out from Timber Press and edited by Thomas Cooper, former editor of “Horticulture” magazine. On the jump page, I’ve harvested a few tidbits from a handful of the other contributors, English and American alike—and if you tell us your reason, you’ll get a chance to win one of three copies I’ve bought to share. Care to confess what really gets you going–out the back door, I mean, to weed, water, and experience the wonderment such as only a garden can provide?

Tony Avent, founder of Plant Delights Nursery:

“Just as a computer comes with certain pre-installed programs, I was born with a fully functional 7.0 horticultural operating system…I wasn’t very popular in high school, where an interest in plants was not something for a guy to admit in public.”

Rosalind Creasy, author and edible landscaping guru:

“I was in charge of finding the cutworms curled around [my father’s] tomato plants. With every cutworm I found, he would whoop and holler; I felt like I had saved the family from starvation.”

Penelope Hobhouse, author and National Trust gardener:

“Gardening is not about instant gratification. It is a process—from seedling to flower (a matter of a few weeks) and from small rooted cutting to a useful shrub (often a few years). This whole process, rather than the ultimate product, seems to me half the joy of gardening.”

Ken Druse, author and photographer:

“Why do I garden? Am I crazy? I don’t really have a choice. The only way to avoid the pangs of withdrawal from an addiction like gardening is to garden more. This is one habit I have no intention of breaking.”

how to win ‘the roots of my obsession’

TO WIN A COPY of “The Roots of My Obsession,” simply comment below, telling us why you garden. I’ll choose three winners at random, using the tool on Random.org, after entries close at midnight Monday, October 15. Feeling shy? Just say “count me in” or some such, and your entry will be registered. Good luck to all. Want to learn more about the book? Start on the Timber Press page about it.

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  1. Kristin Belle Knudsen says:

    I garden because I would not feel truly alive if I did not. I am a grandmother now, but I have been a gardener since I was five or six years old. I garden organically, and mix ornamentals with edibles throughout my garden.

  2. Cathy says:

    I grew up in a family that owned a florist business with greenhouses and that was our daily life and never gave any thought to why. Now in the past few dozen years, I’ve become intensely involved in gardening in the ground with everything from perennials, shrubs, trees and vegetables, to working on getting community gardens expanded and establishing gardens with volunteer non-profits. ..still haven’t given much thought to why…more like why not???

  3. Susan Hall says:

    Being in my garden is complete surrender to my senses. I never listen to music or anything except the plants and insects. I also wont answer the phone unless it’s one of my precious grandchildren! The process is all. I love the product and want to be the best gardener I can, but without the process I would not bother. I keep adding ground to my cultivated areas, which means lots less grass, and I don’t suppose I can keep that up forever. But I want to end my days going out to pull a weed or transplant something or mulch a bed.

  4. Martha says:

    I garden because it brings me back to the earth. I have so much fire and air in my astrological sings, I NEED some earthly grounding – gardening is perfect, plus it grows my food all summer!

  5. Connie says:

    Gardening activity is deeply rooted in me from childhood. As a preschooler I followed my grandfather as he prepared the corn patch. My instructions were to place three corn seeds in each hill. It was an experience of warmth, sunshine, and kindliness that I recall from a distance of 58 years. I cannot remember a time when I did not have a strong urge to work with plants and soil.

  6. Megan Cain says:

    I garden for the pure joy of it. For the aesthetic beauty – the happy heart I get from walking into my garden and being struck by the shapes and colors. For the satisfying feeling of walking into my backyard and harvesting food for dinner. Because I live in Wisconsin and the season ends…and begins again each spring.

  7. Cathie says:

    When I jump out of bed and step in to my gardening clothes, all laid out the night before, I say, Is there a better way to start the day? Gardening fills me with passion and puts me right where I want to be….in that very moment.

  8. Lawrence Rickson says:

    I love gardening and I’m tring to instill this love to my neice. It is so funny when she comes over and we walk around the yard, she wants to sample everything. I started doing this a coulpe of years ago with her, she is 9. But try and get her to eat her veggies at home, FORGET IT!!! I hope she will learn to eat veggies, instead of just sampling in the garden, but it is a start. We planted OUR garlic last week and she had lots of fun. Now when we harvest it in july, she’ll see the whole picture. I’m very excited and hope that she is too.

  9. Colleen says:

    I garden because I grew up in apartments and my mother was insanely good at keeping house plants, at task at which I fail miserably. When I bought my house and was faced with a blank plot of land, I started plopping plants in the ground and fell in love. When I garden I feel a sense of calm and purpose that is absent in the rest of my life. :)

  10. Veronica Butler says:

    Gardening nourishes me! It feeds my soul and I like to think that I leave a little piece of me wherever I live. I try to make each patch of dirt better than how I found it.

  11. DonnaB says:

    I garden because I love beautiful flowers and eating vegetables I’ve grown myself, and because the the scent of freshly dug soil makes me happy.

  12. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    I garden to forget the stress which haunts me daily.
    I garden to supply the table with organic produce.
    I garden as a creative outlet.
    I garden for exercise and vitamin D.
    I garden because the soil calls to me.

  13. BLC says:

    I enjoy gardening because it’s creating/starting beauty in our space that will develop and change- usually in a way more beautiful than I first imagined.

  14. margaret says:

    ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED, but I’m always happy for ongoing conversation on the subject of what gets you out and gardening.

    Thanks for all the great answers. I chose three winners at random using the tool at random.org, and they are: Cynthia Smith, Terri, and Denny (who will each be notified by email).

  15. Carolsue says:

    I love to garden because I love having fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and other veggies to make delicious meals for my family. Home-grown is so much better than store-bought!

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