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Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape, 2nd Edition Paperback – September 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0930031848 ISBN-10: 0930031849 Edition: Revised and expanded for North America

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; Revised and expanded for North America edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930031849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930031848
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

What exactly is a forest garden? British author and gardener Hart describes it as a miniature imitation of a natural forest, complete with a fruit and nut tree "canopy" and lower tiers of climbers, bushes, creepers, and assorted perennial vegetables and herbs. Such a garden may occupy half an acre or less and like the natural forest is largely self-regulating once established. In addition to self-sufficiency, it offers aesthetic rewards and provides a sanctuary for wildlife. In this book, originally published in Britain in 1991 and revised for a U.S. readership, the author describes his own forest garden in affectionate detail, as well as similar individual and community projects around the world. Both philosophical and practical, Hart discusses gardening, agroforestry, permaculture, the environment, and what constitutes a proper diet. At times he drifts away to romantic visions of a future postindustrial Green utopia, but for the most part his feet remain planted firmly in his beloved garden. Hart's personally annotated lists of trees and perennials include many varieties known and grown in North America. Suitable for both public and academic libraries.?William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A holistic approach encompassing health issues, spirituality, and environmental concerns governs Hart's philosophy of "forest gardening" --akin to multistory gardens maintained by certain indigenous societies. Hart and a partner have implemented just such a garden on a small farm in Shropshire, England, and Hart's ardent treatise champions a union of modern technological methods and machines with ecologically sound practices. Interplanting edible crops is utmost: herbs and fruiting shrubs, "fodder-bearing" trees, and a variety of perennial plants. Highlights include mention of other communities that have achieved great degrees of self-sufficiency, where a sacred view of man's connectedness to nature appears inextricably linked to low-maintenance symbiotic plantings, appreciation of handcrafted objects, a vegan diet, and independent lifestyle. Alice Joyce

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R. Griffiths on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Since reading Robert Hart's classic book I have seen forest gardens sustaining life in Mexico, Fiji, Australia, South Africa and Britain. Around the world perennial 'home gardens' have been grown for millennia. Yet in temporate climates we seem to have forgotten how. This book has inspired me to increase the diversity and productivity of my own small garden in England, so far with good results. It is inspirational, but it is also practical. The Appendices offer suggestions for a variety of uses and climates. I would recommend as a companion volume, Patrick Whitefield's 'How to Grow a Forest Garden' for further details of the practicalities. But Hart's desciption of his own forest garden at Wenlock Edge stands alone and is an invaluable guide to practical sustainability.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
The practice of "forest gardening", is an absolute must for anyone interested in sustainable agriculture and/or gardening. The book, however, presents only limited amount of information, that could have been easily written in half the space.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
The author believes harmony (peace) on this planet is highly correlated with an approach to gardening that recognizes the value of plants and all living things. He blends history, philosophy,and anthropology together as he talks about plants, vegetables, herbs, nuts, animals, and trees. He offers practical ways in dealing with "natural" problems associated with farming. Best part of the book is his Appendixes where he lists drought resistant plants, wetland plants, sun loving herbs, shade loving herbs, etc. He provides an excellent bibliography. The author loves this planet. This is a thoughtful essay on the proper relationship of human beings to animals and plants on this planet.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charles Andrew Wingard on December 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
Robert Hart's book on Forest Gardening is very inspiring, but more research is needed to start your garden. The list of suppliers in the Appendix is very helpful for those in North America, and the list of cultivars includes little known but very useful varieties. Overall, the book helps one understand the why of forest gardening but not the how to.
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64 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Dominic Ebacher on May 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the major problem I had with this book was my expectation that it might actually have something to do with forest gardening. What a silly thing for me to think - its only the title of the work after all.

This book was, if not entirely worthless, perhaps one of the more repugnant things I have read in a while. It is seldom that I can read a book and be so turned off that I can't get through the whole thing - and with this book, I didn't even get through half. "Forest Gardening," is a book that is much more of an inspirational nature, and doesn't have much to do with forest gardening at all (what I wanted). Instead, it is filled with anequdotes about how "primitive" people lived in harmony with their forests and how all of societies ills can be traced to a non-vegan diet.

In short, I came to this book looking for helpful information about forest gardening, and found instead a 233 pg. book of propaganda full of mistruths and out-right lies about the basic biology of the world.

Most of the misconceptions (If I can call them that) centered around biology itself and how individual organisms interact. The author warps facts, and I think deludes himself and possibly his readers, by explaining how everything that happens in an ecosystem is the will of Gaia, a non-real entity which comprises the "concious earth."

I am a died in the wool environmentalist. I practice permaculture, and I grow a very real forest garden. I also have a degree in biology - and all of these things made me object to the way this author defiled what otherwise would be a worthwhile topic by interjecting this deified view of ecology and making biological similarities (convergent evolution) seem like proof that Gaia was working to shape the earth.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By MYOB on July 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As others have said, if you'd actually like to grow a forest garden, get something more useful, such as How to Make a Forest Garden; or, if you can afford it and want really in-depth information, Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Vision, Theory For Temperate Climate Permaculture and/or Edible Forest Gardens, Vol. 2: Ecological Design And Practice For Temperate-Climate Permaculture.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS on January 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you have not yet read 'Forest Farming' by Douglas and Hart, then you may lack the background to fully appreciate this book. In 'Forest Farming' we are told that civilized man has marched across the face of the earth and left a desert in his footprints primarily because he has ploughed the hills with the loss of top soil. Crop-yielding trees offer the best medium for extending agriculture to hills, steep places, rocky places, and to the lands where rainfall is deficient. Every good Buddhist plants and sees the establishment of one tree at least every five years and this simple act multiplied six billion times would have a greater economic benefit for humankind than traditional development plans. The 'tool' with the greatest potentials for feeding men and animals, for regenerating the soil, for restoring water-systems, for controlling floods and droughts, for creating more benevolent micro-climates and more comfortable and stimulating living conditions for humanity, is the tree. Douglas and Hart point out that the deeper problem is ignorance as many crop-yielding trees and shrubs are currently ignored by farmers because agriculture in most parts of the world is geared to cereal growing and livestock rearing by conventional means, despite the fact that trees offer higher yields per acre. If the tree growing potentialities of city private gardens was fully recognized, suburban areas would not only have purer air and a more benevolent microclimate but a greater degree of self-sufficiency.
In this book Hart develops the case for the urban dweller to adopt forest gardening to achieve economy of space and labor while producing fruit, nuts, root and perennial vegetables and herbs. He provides the guidelines required for temperate, tropical and sub-tropical climates.
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