Edited by Thomas Christopher
Timber Press, Inc., $34.95, 255 pages

The benefits of sustainable gardening are many: it provides local food options, cools the earth, absorbs carbon dioxide, enriches topsoil, and supplies habitats for animals. In The New American Landscape, fourteen of the leading voices in gardening and ecology discuss the future of sustainable planting. An ecological friendly garden is one that improves, not degrades, the environment. It is easy to define but harder to achieve. The book’s experts and editor, Thomas Christopher (who has twenty-five years of gardening experience) reflect upon how to make plantings an environmental asset rather than a drain. Topics covered include “no-mow” lawns, native plants, edible gardens, attracting wildlife, gardening for climate changes, managing soil health, pest and disease solutions, green roofs, and conservation. Readers will find the chapter about Meadow Gardens to be fascinating. According to a NASA study, lawns in America cover an area larger than the state of Kansas. Rather than laying down a conventional lawn, combine natural lawn (native grasses) with native plants. The book’s photographs are beautiful. The authors include case studies to show successful projects. A home in Portland, Oregon is featured and applauded for its reduction in water use for irrigation, reuse of salvaged materials, and overall reliance on sustainable practices.

Elizabeth Franklin