James Dodson has an amazing ability to make any aspect of his life that he cares to share with us interesting, readable and enjoyable. I have read all of his books. He has collaborated with Arnold Palmer on his autobiography.
He has written eloquently about his relationship with his father in a moving book entitled Final Rounds. He has written several books that talk about his relationshiip with his children and family. He has written about The Dewsweepers, a group of men who share a love of golf and true friendship. His personal books are about relationships, spiritualty and life and they are all very moving and very entertaining.
He has written what I consider the definitive biography of Ben Hogan which was a total departure from his previous efforts. A real tour de force.
In this book, golfers and golfing are hardly mentioned. This book is about gardeners and gardening. Is it ever.
A transplanted son of the "mid-south", Dobson and his family live now in Maine. A place where gardening does not come easy. Much of one's time, if they live in Maine and garden is planning for those few months where the climate is hospitable to plant life. The rest of the time, Mother Nature does her best to make life miserable for growing things and the people who care for them.
I did not buy this book. My wife did. However, before she was ready to read it, I spotted it, noted the name of the author, wondered if there were two James Dodson's, determined that the one I was familiar with was one and the same with this author and started to read.
It is perfectly logical that my wife would buy the book. She is a gardener, both flower and vegetable. She has lovely gardens and I enjoy admiring them, photographing them and keeping the lawns that surround them looking neat and trimmed. However, as I told her many years ago, "I don't weed." So, for me to start reading a book about the subject was unlikely. And I can assure you that if Dodson was not the author I would not have.
I was not long into the book before he had me hooked as he laid out his passion for gardening and related it to so many aspects of the gardening world and it's people. He even reintroduced me to an old friend I have not seen in a very long time - a lady by the name of Polly Logan. What a special treat THAT was.
As I closed the covers on the book, I was not invigorated to start turing over the earth and setting out a garden of my own. I did have a new appreciation of those who do and I enjoyed the travels that Dodson took the reader on to many of the pantheons of gardening around the world.
It truly is a beautiful madness and we are all enriched because of it.