Having been publishing permaculture books at Permanent Publications for 20 years, we are now seeing a trend on both sides of the Atlantic of mainstream publishers following suit. This is no bad thing. It gets the subject into a different arena, one that has marketing budgets and media contacts we could only dream of.
We have survived on the support from a global grassroots movement for which we are eternally grateful. So here is a permaculture gardening book designed to be visually enticing and promote the concept of working with nature and no-till methods in an accessible and non-jargony way.
Here you are introduced to the ethics and principles of permaculture, plus the concept of guilds, food forests, stacking, sectors and other important design elements. The American authors are careful to integrate warm and cool climate gardens throughout and to make this book relevant to most gardeners the world over. There are garden designs from balconies to large urban lots, and a vital chapter about building the soil.
You could argue that this book is an excellent introduction to organic gardening, but what distinguishes it as a permaculture book? It is the application of the ethics, principles and design methodology that lay the ground at the beginning; the integration of polycultures, guilds and perennials as well as annuals in 'food' forests; and the outreach beyond the garden into the community. As a visually attractive beginner's guide, we really like it.
Maddy Harland is the editor of Permaculture magazine and co-founder of Permanent Publications.