For twenty-six years, the Prince of Wales has passionately honed the organic practices used at Highgrove, Their Royal Highnesses' family home in Gloucestershire, as well as in his other gardens at Birkhall in the Scottish Highlands and Clarence House in central London. Read more...
For twenty-six years, the Prince of Wales has passionately honed the organic practices used at Highgrove, Their Royal Highnesses' family home in Gloucestershire, as well as in his other gardens at Birkhall in the Scottish Highlands and Clarence House in central London. Now, alongside Andrew Lawson's elegant photographs and with "Country Living" gardening editor Stephanie Donaldson, the Prince's vivid elucidation of his techniques for maintaining healthy soil, planting varieties, and sustaining an ecosystem "in harmony with the natural laws and rhythms of the universe of which we are an integral part" offers a wealth of wisdom to delight and inspire any gardener. His practices, based on a deep respect for nature, can be adapted to almost any garden, large or small. The Prince is hands-on in his gardens, and it is this passion that reveals itself intimately to be at the heart of "The Elements of Organic Gardening," 200 full-color photographs.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 54.
- Review Date: 2007-10-01
- Reviewer: Staff
This handsome coffee-table book introduces the basics of organic gardening through a formal yet intimate tour of the prince of Wales's three stately gardens: Highgrove, the estate he uses as a demonstration organic farm and fund-raiser for charities; Clarence House, his London home, and Birkhall, “the most private of the Prince's gardens” at Balmoral Estate in the Scottish Highlands. It appears to be written mainly by Donaldson (Peaceful Gardens), with an introduction and selected quotations from Prince Charles, and includes standard subjects such as how to build soil, make compost and choose seed varieties, but also intriguing descriptions of more unusual experiments, such as the extensive rainwater collection and reed and willow pond water filtration system from which all the water at Highgrove is obtained. Avid gardeners will appreciate the detailed photos of woven willow plant supports and the movable bee house “honey factory.” Anglophiles will be charmed by photos of the prince laying hedges and filling bird feeders, and descriptions of those who work his gardens, such as Dennis Brown, 70-something manager of Highgrove's “productive” garden, who “leaves the Walled Garden at the end of the day” to cultivate vegetables “he hopes will trounce all comers at the local shows.” (Oct.)
Digging in with Prince Charles
How often have you paged through a beautiful, glossy-paged garden book and gone away frustrated with your own meager efforts? Spreading vistas and great banks of bedded-out tropicals may be glorious, but they're certainly not achievable in my garden. Or, most likely, in yours. Don't you wish that someone would balance those beautiful photographs with applications for home gardeners? This is exactly what the Prince of Wales and Stephanie Donaldson have done in The Elements of Organic Gardening. Although the royal gardens are of a startling scale and grandeur, with flocks of gardeners flitting to and fro, this book explains the earth-friendly approach used in managing them and gives ideas for achieving sustainability in smaller ones.
Prince Charles has been widely recognized for his deep concern for the natural world, and The Elements of Organic Gardening demonstrates how this concern manifests itself in the landscapes around his homes. Ornamentals mingle with edibles in joyous profusion, while troops of Indian Runner ducks parade through in a comic ballet. And the valuable text breaks down the principles behind these gardens' maintenance. Throughout, the book's pages are brightened with handsome photographs by renowned garden photographers Andrew Lawson and David Rowley.
Few home gardeners will be able to achieve the grand effects illustrated here, but The Elements of Organic Gardening offers practical advice on sustainability for even the smallest garden.
Caleb Melchior gardens on a country estate in Perry County, Missouri.