This may be more widespread but I have not heard of it outside of my own garden. It is not something one normally speaks of and those who practice this rarefied form of gardening rarely admit to it.
It would appear not to be contagious as I have been unaffected though it has been part of my wife’s life for at least thirty years. On the first number of occasions when I came on her doing her coffee pot gardening I feared that she might not be well. I would come on her in a – I was going to say “distracted state” but that would imply a state of upset when, in fact, she would be very perfectly at peace and perfectly contented. She would exhibit signs of having “lost time” but not in any way which caused her upset; more that she was in a state of mind where time was of no consequence. Since those early days when it came as a surprise I have come to understand it as a time of engrossment, relaxation and of oneness with the garden and its plants.
As I am now at home, retired, I am a distraction and she has had less opportunities for her coffee pot gardening and she has missed it, I believe. In recent weeks she suggested I go and do the weekly shopping on my own and I now realise this is to give her time to do her “thing”.
In her earliest days of coffee pot gardening she would see me off to work and take the coffee pot to empty the grinds under whichever plant she though would most benefit from this tasty mulch. I would return in late afternoon and find her still in the garden, still in her nightdress, lost to the world and totally engrossed – “I stopped for a minute to deadhead the roses and wandered along.”
There have been incidents of hiding among the shrubs, of lying on the ground among the plants when she has been surprised by the postman or some other visitor and I’m sure friends have been puzzled to find the house door wide open and nobody in sight, of shouting her name and receiving no response. I’m sure several were not only puzzled but worried over the years but it never stopped her and I certainly won’t!