Is there a clinical term for people who overly identify with their passions? If not, we need one. Because suddenly it seems everyone around me has taken their hobbies and leisure-time pursuits to ridiculous extremes. We’re talking kooky.

I mean to the point where mere enthusiasts actually become one with their: golf-game-sports-team-bridge-hand, or, dare I even say, backyard garden?

How is it that we garden lovers, like our golfing brethren and other assorted passion-freaks, lose our personal identity? It seems to creep up slowly and then POW! one day: He’s a scratch golfer. She’s a master gardener. They’re a Steelers’ Nation…you begin to wonder where passion ends and demonic possession begins.

I read recently where a husband tased his wife because his team lost to hers. That’s not team spirit, that’s domestic abuse! I’ve seen hundreds of bikers act with impunity by blocking city streets during rush hour, that’s not recreational cycling, that’s thug mentality.

If my garden’s having a bad hair day does that mean I am? If you get dealt a bad hand do you fold your cards and quit bridge? If Roethlisberger gets sacked are you down too? It seems so much of what we love causes us to ruminate to the point of ruining all the darn fun.

Phhhht! I wave off the thought of all this mania and how it applies to my crazy-mixed-up-love of gardening. I do a quick gut check: am I crystal clear on the distinction between my personal life and the life of my personal garden? Well, of these things I’m certain…my own ten digits and the digitalis that graces my spring border are not one in the same. The silvery-soft lambs ear that colonize along my gravel garden path has no bearing on my own lopsided pierced ears. Between the Black-Eyed Susan of August and my own dark eyes, there’s no connection whatsoever…

Yet, I can’t deny that when a swarm of Japanese beetles assaulted my roses this summer, I felt under attack. When my fluffy nepeta splayed open the night before my garden walk, I felt exposed. When torrential rains drowned a newly planted section, I felt sunk. The more I consider my own warped gardenfreakishness the more I fear I’ve taken things too far: without noticing, have I become a horticultural Centaur—half woman half garden? Do I wear my garden like others wear their team jerseys?

C’mon, be honest, does this garden make me look fat?