Natural Gardening in Small Spaces

Natural Gardening in Small Spaces

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by Noel Kingsbury

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Even in a little garden you can create a sustainable ecosystem that looks great and, once established, largely looks after itself. Includes more than 150 photographs of small havens.See more details below


Even in a little garden you can create a sustainable ecosystem that looks great and, once established, largely looks after itself. Includes more than 150 photographs of small havens.

Editorial Reviews

Science News
"The author imparts a working knowledge of how plants grow in nature."
Science News, July 5, 2003
The New York Times
"Good ... on the designing–the–space issue."
—Jamaica Kincaid, New York Times, June 1, 2003
"Whether in a city or modest suburban yard, or a country environment, Kingsbury's sound advice orients gardeners towards thinking and planning in terms of an ecosystem as they develop a design scheme that joins together aesthetic elements and handsome plant combinations."

—Alice Joyce, Booklist, May 28, 2003

Publishers Weekly
A "balance between ornamental elements and a certain amount of 'letting go'" is the key to the successful natural garden, writes Kingsbury (The New Perennial Garden), and such harmony between art and nature can be achieved even in modest yards. The fundamentals of natural gardening-biodiversity, site-appropriate plantings and wildlife-friendly design-acknowledge that a garden is an ecosystem, one able to simultaneously please humans and sustain flora and fauna. In chapters that nicely mix explanatory text with color photos, Kingsbury walks would-be greenthumbs through shady gardens, backyard grasslands and dryer habitats, suggesting plant species and design ideas and offering tips on how to care for different kinds of plants in different kinds of environments. He even briefly covers "gardening without a garden"-plants that easily grow in pots and flats on rooftops-which many city-dwellers will appreciate (this chapter also features a call for more bat roosting boxes). A plant directory rounds out this helpful and inspiring volume. 150 color photos. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.34(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.74(d)

Read an Excerpt

Making the most of a small space means becoming aware of the importance of including as many habitats and microhabitats in the garden as possible. This means more biodiversity, which is good for wildlife, and which makes it more interesting for you, the gardener, and often more visually exciting too.

Creating spaces that are attractive for wildlife is increasingly important in a world where intensive agriculture has greatly reduced the availability of habitats for wildlife in the countryside. Studies have shown that residential suburban areas with medium-sized gardens are now providing better and more plentiful wildlife habitats than many stretches of arable farmlamd. Imagine how much more space there would be for wildlife if all gardens were managed in a more nature-friendly way.

Another aspect of gardening in tune with nature is the use of plants that are appropriate for the site. Much conventional garden effort has gone into changing conditions in order to suit particular plants, with the digging-in of peat and the application of iron compounds in order to grow rhododendrons being a fine example of one of the more extravagant and in the end futile of these practices. Traditional gardennig, with its historical roots in the growing of fruit and vegetables, where maximum productivity is the key issue, has also emphasized the creation of a perfect soil, which is all too often an unreachable and unrealistic aim. However, if your only concern is with long-lived ornamental plants, there is much less need to be worried about the soil. Plants are a lot more tolerant of poor conditions than we often think. Whatever the soil, the chances are that nature has beautiful flora somewhere for you to choose from. 'Difficult' situations have their own successful characteristic floras — just think of all those spectacular mountain heathers found on many cold and exposed hillsides. The 'natural' gardener, then, should choose plants for their suitability to the site, rather than trying to modify the site for the plants. The slogan is 'work with what you've got'.

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