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Ann Lovejoy's Organic Garden Design SchoolAnn Lovejoy’s Organic Garden Design School by Ann Lovejoy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ann Lovejoy’s Organic Garden Design School has helped me form a design to restore the woodland gardens that were stripped earlier this year by overzealous tree trimmers. Her ‘Golden Bowl’ analogy enabled me to understand the concept of tree canopy, high understory, low understory and perennials. Previously, I had been focusing just upon low understory shrubs and perennials; now I understand that adding some medium sized trees will help create a more gentle transition from woodland to garden border. Her ‘rule of thirds’ (one third evergreens, one third structural shrubs and one third perennials) also provides a useful guideline for garden design. I will start applying these ideas right away – both to plan out my plant purchases and to site them appropriately.

The only criticism I would have of the book is that some of her recommended plants are considered invasive in this area. Fortunately, I’ve got a good list of native alternatives from my studies at Longwood Gardens. Overall, Ann Lovejoy’s Organic Garden Design is a tremendously useful guidebook. I borrowed it from the local library – and now I’m going to buy my own copy!

 

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Disclaimer!  I’ve just joined the wonderful book site, Goodreads (www.goodreads.com), and now have a huge backlog of garden books to review.  So I’ll be posting them periodically over the next few weeks.  Look for me on Goodreads if you’re a member too!

The Organic Lawn Care Manual, by Paul Tukey

My husband purchased “The Organic Lawn Care Manual” in 2008. Out of curiousity, I thumbed through it and found it highly compelling. Paul Tukey’s advice just makes good sense – for the earth and for ourselves. And it’s easy to follow. We immediately adopted the all organic routine, tested our soil and amended it based on the results, applied corn gluten for weed control, and even started making compost. Our lawn looks great, not in a 1950’s suburban perfect sort of way, but real and healthy. What’s more though – the book inspired me to start advocating for natural lawn and garden care practices. I  joined the Million Acre Challenge, and even did a speech on organic gardening at my local Toastmasters club. I’m not exaggerating by saying that this book inspired me to make many positive changes in my life and my community. If you care about the environment, it’s a must read!

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