Dooley to sign copies of newest gardening book

SUWANEE — Pigskin or petunias, Vince Dooley’s got it covered.

The legendary University of Georgia football coach and athletic director will be in Suwanee tonight, promoting and signing copies of his newest book — “Vince Dooley’s Garden: The Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach.”

• What: Toast at Town Center featuring Vince Dooley signing copies of his new book, “Vince Dooley’s Garden: The Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach”

• When: 5 to 7:30 p.m. today

• Where: Suwanee’s Town Center, intersection of Buford Highway and Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road

A 200-page trip through his passion for the outdoors and gardening, Dooley’s latest work also features 35 paintings of “some of Georgia’s most elegant gardens” by artist Steve Penley.

The long-time gardening enthusiast will be available to sign copies from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in front of City Hall as part of Suwanee’s monthly Toast at Town Center events.

“(The book) is basically my journey into gardening,” Dooley said Wednesday. “It should be an inspiration for anybody that wants to be a gardener, because if I could be one, anybody can.”

After his 40-year career between the hedges in Athens, Dooley found an interest in gardening.

With admittedly “no background at all,” he went to a few horticulture classes at Georgia “12 or 14 years ago,” and the love affair blossomed from there.

“I always said living around a university, if you have a curiosity about something, you can quench it,” Dooley said.

“I was curious about plants, and became highly infected with a disease for which there’s no cure. As a result of that I came to have a garden and a garden that kept growing and growing. One thing led to another and I wrote this book.”

Toast at Town Center is a monthly street-festival-type event where merchants offer special deals, entertainment and in-store events.

Due to time constraints, Dooley will not be signing outside memorabilia.

Though passionate, the Athens icon, who now has a garden in his honor outside of Georgia’s athletic association offices, admits he’s still an amateur horticulturalist.

“I’m green, but growing,” he said. “I enjoy learning. Gardening is good for the mind, it’s good for body and it’s good for the soul and the spirit.”

“I never lose in the garden, either,” he added with a laugh.