—Science News, July 5, 2003
Natural Gardening in Small Spacesby Noel Kingsbury
With the growing recognition that a wisely and sensitively planted garden has a lot to offer to wildlife and the food web, more and more people are looking for ways to make their gardens environmentally friendly. However, gardeners have tended to assume that they need a lot of space to create habitats for wildlife and to evoke wild and natural places. In
With the growing recognition that a wisely and sensitively planted garden has a lot to offer to wildlife and the food web, more and more people are looking for ways to make their gardens environmentally friendly. However, gardeners have tended to assume that they need a lot of space to create habitats for wildlife and to evoke wild and natural places. In Natural Gardening in Small Spaces, renowned plantsman Noël Kingsbury refutes that presumption, showing how even in a small garden you can create a sustainable ecosystem that looks great — and, once established, largely looks after itself. More than 150 glorious photographs of small natural gardens provide visual confirmation of Noël Kingsbury's contention that even the smallest garden can provide a natural haven.
—Science News, July 5, 2003
—Jamaica Kincaid, New York Times, June 1, 2003
—Alice Joyce, Booklist, May 28, 2003
- Timber Press, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Revised Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 8.76(w) x 10.34(h) x 0.48(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'.
Meet the Author
Noel Kingsbury is a well-known designer, commentator, and writer on plants, gardens, landscape, and the environment. His doctorate in horticultural ecology from the University of Sheffield focused on the selection and management of ornamental perennials and he is still engaged in active research in this field. Noel is interested in combining natives and non-natives in ecological planting schemes and a passionate advocate for sustainable plant combinations that require minimal intervention from the gardener. He trials plants and gardens at his home on the border between England and Wales and travels widely.
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