Book Review - The London Garden Book A-Z

Tony Rollinson
Wednesday, 12th December 2012

This wonderfully photographed book explores the diversity of London's gardens, helping us to look again at that which is very literally beneath our feet.

The first surprising, and encouraging, fact is that London is home to over 3 million gardens, from handkerchief front yards to historic horticultural sites, public gardens and parks. It brings home how important these green spaces are to those living, working and visiting our capital city.

The book includes contacts, some practical gardening advice and useful listings of horticultural societies and projects, plant nurseries and a city gardeners map – it offers a plethora of places that you will wish to visit.

It has snippets of wisdom, such as Paul Richens stating "I don't have a dream of going to the country, I have a dream of escaping into a green London" – I mean, that is certainly a permaculture response.

The book will encourage people to connect with what is already around them and it gathers together stories that we have covered here in the pages of Permaculture magazine.

It shows how allotments and community gardens allow garden-less urbanites to enjoy tending plants and harvesting their own food. It includes contributions from guerrilla gardeners, who convert neglected public land into green spaces that help people look anew at their environment. Vertical planting techniques create gardens that redefine what blocks of flats, apartments and office spaces can be.

We find permaculture included at many points (if only book publishers and their authors would index their works to highlight the impact of permaculture) as it takes in increasingly essential initiatives such as urban vegetable growing, community gardens, composting, bug friendly gardening and bee keeping.

Tenacious, adaptable and imaginative, London gardeners see opportunities in the most unlikely of places. They/we are at the forefront of the re-evaluating of the worth and possibilities of our urban environments – and that makes this a worthwhile book.

If you are someone with a said "handkerchief front yard", balcony or small space and need inspiration and sound advice as to what you can do then do take a look at our brand new book Permaculture In Pots: How to Grow Food in Small Urban Spaces by Juliet Kemp (E-Book edition also available) It is bursting with with tips and workable ideas that will enable you to grow your own food, even if you are renting!