PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Get Down On Your Hands and Knees

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers
WRITING THE GARDEN
Horticultural Society of New York
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Petulant
Aggressive
Self-involved
Beleaguered
Phobic 
Stressed

Is this the description of a patient on a psychiatrist’s couch or the psychological profile of a garden writer?
As Elizabeth Barlow Rogers read excerpts from her book, I compiled a list of mental disorders.

Diagnosis:
HOARDING of plants, 
GUILTY over extreme shopping 
HYSTERICAL about predators in the garden
Risk syndromes: 
Over-use of the internet
Obessive reading of nursery catalogs
Persistent fear of choosing the wrong species
Resentment of native plants
Paralysis and inertia over making a mistake
Early warning signs:
Anxiety (not being able to read all the gardening books on your shelf)
Low Self-Esteem (combined with garden envy)
Jealousy (I want what they have)
Panic over lack of temperature control (early frost, drought, high heat)
Fear of marauders (voles, deer, squirrels, slugs)

Stress over fungus, virus and other diseases
Disorders:
Obsessive compulsive disorder
Phobias traced to a specific triggering event, often in childhood

Cure All:
Instead of reading excerpts from garden writers, find a used bookstore (not an easy task), walk to the back(that is where you will find the garden books), dust off the bindings(most of these tomes have been on the shelf for years), sit on the floor, find a volume that appeals to you,  pay a small sum and place the book next to your bed and see if you care to open it.  If you are in need of something humorous to cheer you up,  try Reginald Farrer’s, A Rage for Rock Gardening.

No matter what book you choose, I can guarantee one thing.  Books of garden writing are an antidote for insomnia.

and … TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

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