Remarkable- A Really Original Gardening Book! I love gardens and gardening books. I check out the new titles -particularly the oversize ones- and browse through all the pictures, looking for new ideas.
The text- well... no... not so much. Sometimes. Bits and pieces. But not all of it.
This new book by Stephen Orr is an exception. The subtitle is "Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening." And I read it, every page, cover to cover.
Orr highlights some central ideas that are beginning to rewire how we think of gardens- and how we go about constructing and maintaining them. There is a growing consciousness of how a garden is created: if existing features need to be removed, how will those old materials be disposed of... or re-purposed? How can we minimize the resources the new garden will require: care, maintenance -and, in particularly, water? When new materials (including hardscaping) are to be added, where will those materials come from? How far will they need to be transported? Careful use of all our resources is becoming a prime concern from start to finish.
Cutting back the demands for water, in particular, is coming to the forefront in every zone, not just in arid regions. And this new consideration is not so much for xeriscaping, but rather taking a step back, and looking at the larger picture- what is the climate like, here where we are going to garden? What plants are comfortable and will thrive here, without extensive -and expensive- life support? Natives, yes, will thrive, but Orr is comfortable bringing in non-natives, as long as they will thrive in the local climate- on their own. (Still, with careful research on any that might become invasive.)
Orr starts from the top, with the big considerations:
- What is the purpose of your garden? Outdoor living? Entertaining? Meditation? Play space? Producing vegetables (and/or eggs, honey...) Or cut flowers for the house?
- Where is your garden? In the soggy northwest, the arid southwest, in a temperate area that resemble the Mediterranean region?
- What materials will you use? A new feature in many new gardens is gravel- which may sound odd, but has many practical qualities.
- And what about edible gardens? Even those that produce honey- and eggs, as chickens become common even in larger cities (Berkeley, California, for example!) And community gardens mean more than just food- they can nourish and educate the young, and bring beauty and a spirit of renovation to neighborhoods that have fallen into economic backwaters.
And the pictures. Wonderful pictures. Glimpses of beautiful gardens all across the country. New York. Berkeley. Texas. Portland. And, yes, even Chicago. Fascinating gardens I haven't seen documented in any other publication. Great new ideas.
Plus wonderful lists of resources: designers, web sites, community groups, books, support organizations, suppliers...
A great deal in a small (and very attractive) package.
Are you into gardening? Or going green- to save our world and make it an even better place for our children and grandchildren?
Then check out our Library's new additions! Like Linda Mulford's cool new blog "Our Voices, Green Choices". Linda shares great resources!
And your Library is sprouting out green all over! Call and ask about Recycling, and about our Gardening Green events in May and June, and our Reading Green group, discussing Eaarth (really!) in May, and Second Nature in June!
Let's get growing!