The Elements of Organic Gardening

The Elements of Organic Gardening

From the Prince of Wales, an intimate guide to his Royal gardens and pioneering organic approach to creating world-class beauty.

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 St

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5 Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Review by Nicole for The Elements of Organic Gardening
    Rating:
    A quarter of a century ago, when Prince Charles first spoke publicly about his belief in organic gardening and farming principles, he was dismissed as a tree-hugging eccentric that walked around talking to his plants. Twenty-five years on, he’s considered an ecological visionary. His personal life may be somewhat controversial, but the garden is one place he gets it right (if only he could relate to people as well as he relates to his plants). In The Elements of Organic Gardening, published in the U.S. today by Kales Press, The Prince of Wales shares the sustainable growing methods he’s used in his own gardens at Highgrove, Birkhall and Clarence House.

    The book covers the time-honored principles of composting, crop rotation and water conservation that we’ve ignored for too long at our own peril. In a modest, personable style, Charles talks about his use of ducks and birds to naturally control pests such a slugs and snails, and the use of natural insecticides made from garlic extract to control bugs. He shares his ideas on the virtues of seasonal planting to work with nature’s calendar rather then against it (Do we really need strawberries all year round?), and extols the traditional values of husbandry — the care and cultivation of resources as well as crops — since you can’t have one without the other.

    As you travel through the pages, the heir to the English throne gives an intimate tour of each individual area of his extensive Highgrove gardens; The Productive Gardens, where rare heirloom varieties of fruit and veg provide vivid flavors, and The Ornamental Gardens, where planting provides food for the soul. We stroll with Charles on his don’t-call-it-a-lawn, flat, strictly non-monoculture, mossy green lawn-type areas, which are made up of a myriad green plants and what some might term weeds (what is a weed but something different that dares to stick its head above the uniform?). Precisely manicured and mown, with stripes that would make any Englishman proud, these areas perhaps illustrate best that fact that you don’t have to compromise to go organic. Don’t mistake this for a dry gardening tome, whether you’re a royalist or a republican, whether you have an acre or a plant pot to play with, this holistic approach to gardening — and ultimately life — makes for an invigorating philosophical read.

  2. Robert Weaver says:

    Review by Robert Weaver for The Elements of Organic Gardening
    Rating:
    This most recent summary of Prince Charles’s organic approach to farming and gardening at Highgrove follows two earlier efforts. The previous books are well-written and have wonderful photographs and the present effort, The Elements of Organic Gardening, is equally well thought out and beautifully presented. Twenty years ago, the Prince was thought to be an eccentric with naive and impractical ideas about conservation and an organic approach to living. The Elements of Organic Gardening presents tangible evidence that the Prince has accomplished a great deal in the last twenty years at Highgrove, his country estate and set a standard that puts him in the forefront of where we should be heading.

  3. Midwest Book Review says:

    Review by Midwest Book Review for The Elements of Organic Gardening
    Rating:
    Profusely and beautifully illustrated throughout with the full color photography of Andrew Lawson, and with the help of gardening expert Stephanie Donaldson in preparing the manuscript for publication, Charles, the Prince of Wales draws upon his more than twenty-six years of organic gardening practices used on the royal gardens at Highgrove (the royal family estate in Gloucestershire), as well as his other gardens at Birkhall (in the Scottish Highlands) and Clarence House (in central London), to instructively showcase organic techniques for maintaining healthy soil, planting a wide variety of shrubs, bushes, trees, and flowers, and generally sustaining a healthy and diverse ecosystem. “The Elements Of Organic Gardening” provides aspiring novice gardens and seasoned horticulturists a like with sound principles and practices that can be applied to just about any gardening situation, circumstance, size, or soil condition. Very strongly recommended for personal and community library Gardening & Horticulture reference collections, “The Elements Of Organic Gardening” is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking.

  4. Brbara E. Rockwell says:

    Review by Brbara E. Rockwell for The Elements of Organic Gardening
    Rating:
    Excellent book on organic gardening. Readable for beginners and masters. Shows what can be done with our natural process. Beautiful pictures.

  5. Sigrid Olsen says:

    Review by Sigrid Olsen for The Elements of Organic Gardening
    Rating:
    I loved the earlier book on Highgrove and gave it the highest review. It’s interesting to see this updated version, complete with delightful pictures of Charles and Camilla looking relaxed and happy. This book translates well for even the “small yard” gardener as there are a lot of tips. It is admitted that the Highgrove grass isn’t really grass at all–just a wildflower meadow that’s very closely clipped. It isn’t fertilized or watered either (though the pictures don’t show that–it would have been helpful and inspiration for the book to come clean by showing us the royal dried up lawn during a (rarely) hot English summer.) This book also is fun to compare to the earlier book, where one can see some of the new plantings (including the black and white garden) as they mature. There are also many other clever features in the garden, including the “green man” made of greens. There is inspiration for a novice gardener, and for organic gardeners there is a lot of useful information.

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