|The Diary of a Mad Gardener
is a delightful and hilarious peek into
the frenzied mind of Dibble, a passionate,
obsessive, and absolutely "mad" gardener.
His single-mindedness propels the reader
from day to day though a series of totally
plausible, though definitely unusual,
horticultural happenings, meanwhile
revealing great gardening tips!
Dibble struggles alone as he
battles the forces of nature, including
pests, atrocious weather, and Shirl, the
garden woman from up the street. From
garden shows to garden disasters he
experiences what every gardener
experiences, but with a decidedly wacky
His backyard is a horticultural
flea market -- if it's green, he'll
plant it. There is no aspect of
gardening that Dibble doesn't dabble in,
even creating a pay-per-view Bart
Simpson topiary that turns out to be one
of his less successful ventures when
fans of Bart beat a path through his
flower bed. Yes, whether he's weeding or
whining, Dibble's philosophy truly is
"to boldly grow where no one has groan
Gardening and laughing are two of
the best things in life one can do to
promote good health and a sense of
well-being. Hoe, hoe, hoe and ho ho ho
with this refreshing
Dear Dibble. He’s a bumbling, scrabbling,
frantic, and hopelessly passionate gardening
fool. If you don’t see yourself in at least
one of his days in Diary of a Mad
Gardener, then you’re not a true-blue
gardener. David Hobson has done it again and
produced a book that is ‘laugh out loud
funny’. His first book, Soiled
Reputations, highlighted the rivalry
between Cynthia and Riley. Now Dibble’s
diary captures the perennial optimism and
the obsessive tendencies of all die-hard
Be careful who you loan this book to. I
pointed out the October 30th entry to my
nine year old and lost this paperback for
the next half hour. It was worth the
experience to hear him chuckling about
This book rolls along like a fully loaded
wheelbarrow going downhill. The only
pictures you’ll find will be those created
by your own imagination, but Dibble plants
plenty of viable seed for those.
Diary of a Mad Gardener is a
delightful break from ‘instructive’
horticultural books but there are many
subliminal tips included. Dibble’s fictional
diary underlines the importance of keeping a
journal. As he concludes near the end of the
year, “Some of the things I’ve done might
seem odd, even bizarre but I’m not
concerned.” True gardeners will understand.”
We understand, Dibble, we really do.
Reviewed by Beverley Mitchell
Dibble, the Mad Gardener, is a crazed,
obsessed and passionate gardener. His diary
is filled with his day to day misadventures
similar to what ordinary gardeners
experience but on a much crazier level.
This book is definitely not your usual
serious how-to gardening book. Dibble
bumbles along growing seedlings, visiting a
big garden show, constantly fussing about
the weather, battling and competing with his
neighbour, Shirl. He'll try anything but
he's cheap and sneaky and more than a little
demented. His philosophy is "to boldly grow
where no one has groan before."
His battle with will power is a common one
for all gardeners who are drawn to the local
nursery for the latest and greatest
"This is crazy. I'm rapidly running out of
planting space, but I keep bringing more and
more stuff home. I know my problem is due to
a total lack of planning, yet I can't seem
to do anything about it. I try, but I get
overwhelmed with the number and variety of
plants that are available, and now they're
piling up on trays on the patio....
I use any excuse. I tell myself that I'm
only browsing, or I go with the intention of
picking up a couple of things I need to
complete a planter, and before I know it
I've filled half a flat with annuals. Then,
since I'm such an astute consumer and know
that a full flat is discounted, I go ahead
and fill it, often with things I have
sitting at home waiting to be planted." (78)
You'll laugh at him but surely there is a
little of Dibble in all of us.
Dibble also offers up lots of gardening tips
and information in his hilarious accounts of
life in the garden.
Laughter has long been known to help us heal
and feel good. Horticultural therapists
promote the benefits of gardening, bringing
one closer to nature with its soothing,
healing effect. The Diary of a Mad Gardener
will make you grin, chuckle and guffaw. It
will also relax and refresh the most serious
And you thought you were a mad gardener?
Nothing compares to the life of Dibble. This
Canadian gardener shares with us an entire
year of gardening experiences. Is any day
normal in the life of Dibble? NO!
There aren't many thigh slapping books about
gardening but the "Diary of a Mad Gardener"
is one of them.
The town knows Dibble, the postman knows
Dibble, and every plant in Dibble's garden
His neighbor Shirley and thoughtful members
of his family get involved and may or may
not appreciate his endeavors.
One can not help but truly understand his
frustrations along the way to becoming the
lovable gardener that he is.
Read this book day by day or all at once you
won't be able to put it down.