Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A garden perve

I don't know about other folk but i love looking at other peoples' gardens and if the owner of the gardens are around so i can pick their brains, then all the better. It really is a way to fast-forward your process of experimentation in your own garden. You often see things you didn't think were possible or just better ways of doing things. That is also why i think community gardens are great - you can learn just by looking.

So this brings me to Kate Herds' book "Kitchen Gardens of Australia"

A mixture of 18 gardens around the country with food growing at their centre. Some of them are very formal and well designed - while others like our Alice Springs garden are thrown together with recycled bits of wire and wood and make no claim to being pretty - at least not in the dead of winter!

Kates' introduction to food gardens is all about the benefits that they can bring to individuals, families, children as well as the biosphere. Growing food is one of the most "real" activities we can engage in. We all need to eat, but increasingly we are finding we need to inoculate ourselves and our families from the pressures of the modern world and media in particular. Time in the garden is a tonic, an education, a slow outward breath when we are in the moment and the other pressures of the day disappear.

But I'm sure i am preaching to the converted about the benefits of gardening.
Another thing Kates' book may help to do is to to expand the area of vegetables and fruit grown in more formal settings. Through her chosen gardens it is obvious that vegetables can be beautiful and a desirable part of any garden (each garden has an overview design page). If we can bring food plants back into the main stream gardening mixture then we are one step closer to a more grounded suburbia, where people preserve, swap produce and share something of substance. 

A timely book and another tool in the arsenal to encourage sustainable gardens.

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