Book and DVD Reviews

Tea‌g With Nutrients CoverWritten by Jeff Lowenfels
Published by Timber Press ©2013

Reviewed by George Batchelor

What do plants eat?  In his latest book, Teaming with Nutrients, Jeff Lowenfels writes for the gardener who is fascinated by plants and wants to better understand and visualize the world of soil molecules and root hairs, of hydrogen ions, covalent bonds, and nutrient movement through the phloem.  In the best of instructive traditions, his writing is not only clear, but his personal wonder and astonishment of the subject are contagious. Continue reading

Book Cover.140Written by William Seale
Published by The Garden Club of America, 2012

Reviewed by Kathy Sargent-O’Neill

For those curious about the history of one of the plots (Philadelphia) where the seeds of the American gardening and landscape movement were sown, The Garden Club of America – 100 Years of a Growing Legacy by William Seale is a good read. Continue reading

with Michael Phillips
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013

Reviewed by Penny Lewis

Generally when you’ve read and enjoyed a book, the movie version is a disappointment. But the recently released DVD, Holistic Orcharding, from Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard, is a wonderful exception. This five-hour video is subdivided into twenty-one sections that follow Phillips through a full year in his orchard. Continue reading

Written and published by

James L. Jones, May 29, 2012

Reviewed by Tricia Diggins

Join an ELA Eco-tour of James Jones’s solar greenhouse on April 10, 2013.

It is hard for me to categorize James Jones’s new book Fall and Winter Bloom in the Solar Greenhouse. It is basically a gardening book as opposed to a book about ecological landscaping. By a gardening book I mean a book that is geared toward people who love to collect and grow plants for any number of reasons. Continue reading

Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City
Written by Eric Toensmeier, with contributions from Jonathan Bates
Published by Chelsea Press, 2013

Reviewed by Penny Lewis

Like a well-designed polyculture, Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates have packed a lot of valuable and interesting information into a small space. And unlike many plant books, this one truly is a page-turner. Continue reading

The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way
Written by Michael Phillips
Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011, 414 pages

Reviewed by Nick Novick

Interest seems to be on the rise in all things local and sustainable. The outstanding Vermont-based publisher, Chelsea Green, reflects—and, perhaps, feeds—this trend with many excellent titles on building, sustainable energy, food, and other subjects germane to an emerging future more socially egalitarian, less dependent on fossil fuels, and more locally rooted. Local food production and marketing tends to be at the forefront of this movement, so it makes perfect sense that The Holistic Orchard is among their recent offerings. Continue reading

Greater Garden Yields with Drip Irrigation
Written by Robert Kourik
Published by Metamorphic Press, 2012

Reviewed by Brett Graf

Robert Kourik’s ebook, Greater Garden Yields with Drip Irrigation, provides strong evidence that drip irrigation is not just for low-water landscapes. It contains information from numerous studies that show that using proper drip irrigation strategies can improve the health and production of garden plants and the soil they live in. Continue reading

A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens
Written by Carole Ottesen
Published by Smithsonian Books, 2011

Reviewed by Risa Edelstein

As a landscape designer, I try to visit gardens every season both for inspiration and fresh ideas. A few years ago, I was in Washington with colleagues, and we got to see some of the gardens in the city including the natural landscape that surrounds the National Museum of the American Indian. A Guide to Smithsonian Gardens describes these and other Smithsonian landscapes with wonderful detail. Continue reading

Garden Your City

Written by Barbara Hobens Feldt
Published by Taylor Trade Publishing, 2005

Reviewed by Maureen Sundberg

Barbara Hobens Feldt’s enthusiasm for urban gardening is evident in every page of Garden Your City. Feldt sees gardening possibilities everywhere – tiny fire escapes and curbside planters, rooftops and parks. And she offers practical advice to ensure that the urban gardener has a successful and productive gardening experience. Continue reading

Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for Schoolyard Transformation

Written by Sharon Gamson Danks; Published by New Village Press

Reviewed by Trevor Smith

The transformation of our nation’s asphalt and turf schoolyards into thriving educational and inspirational Green Space sounds like the ultimate “kumbaya” notion. A notion that one might assume would surely suffocate under mountains of red tape. Asphalt to Ecosystems proves that this idea is more than a fuzzy feeling and can become a tangible reality. Continue reading