Gardening is a State of Mind was written as a fun book. It’s not a serious gardening textbook, or something oppressive. Gardening, to me, is all about fun. Pity the gardener without a sense of humor. You’d miss so much!
From the very first page:
They don’t know what it means to stare down an enraged agapanthus. They’ve never been in a gun battle with a primula. They’ve never been hunted down by a posse of hybrid tea roses. They don’t know what real fear is.
Yep, it’s a battle of wits, cunning and stamina. And that’s just reading the gardening books. The real test comes when you’re Out There, watering can in hand, confused look on face and the dog and the cat are taking bets on your argument with the petunias.
Fearlessly, you pick up the seed packet. You raise your fork in a salute to the Gods of Gardening. You sally forth, grimly determined to tell those azaleas who’s boss, and why you want a raise.
That sets the tone for the book. Gardening is a way of life, a challenge, and unmitigated fun. In this book “you” the gardener do battle with landscapes, and everything else, from an early age.
We start with a person’s first encounter with a garden and things basically deteriorate from there. We move on to arguing with dogs and cats about planting anything. Then there are families, local governments, and other environmental risks. Then there’s criticisms from the plants. You may know the sort.
Eventually, as with all gardeners, your Right to Garden, and what’s wrong with everyone else, come into play. This is a very objective approach to gardening, proving that all non-gardeners must have something wrong with them. Whether your gardening is physical or mental or both, you can prove to your own satisfaction that they’re wrong. Useful, isn’t it?
Gardening paranoia is also addressed in merciless depth. For example:
A caterpillar on the grapevine! Whatever could it be doing here?
Let’s ask it.
Hi, caterpillar, can I help you?
No thanks, just browsing.
A few weeks of this sort of cutting edge diplomacy will convince most people that they’ve dug out of their diplomatic depth. The aloof insect versus the somewhat shabby, tense, human.
You see what I mean. Nothing like a bit of honesty to provide all the excuses you need. The rest of the book is a long-overdue series of justifications for gardeners.
You can preview and buy Gardening is a State of Mind here on Amazon.
 Caterpillars are actually not the sort of conversational dynamos the above exchange might indicate. Play on their doubts. The correct reply is, “You realize that’s a Shiraz?” followed by a sympathetic look and no further information.