From Library Journal
Hemenway, a permaculture expert and associate editor of The Permaculture Activist, explains how gardens can function as ecosystems, describes the basic parts of an ecological garden (soil, water, plants, and animals), and shows how to create backyard ecosystems through guilds. Guilds, the author tells us, are groups of plants that function as an ecosystem to provide products for humans, create cover and food for wildlife, nourish the soil, conserve water, and repel pests. A simple example of a guild is the "three sisters" (corn, beans, and squash); corn stalks provide a trellis for beans, the beans supply nitrogen to the soil, and the squash leaves inhibit weeds and conserve water. While Hemenway's ideas are intriguing, creating guilds specific to an area involves extensive research, which involves either observing plant communities in the wild or using books or university contacts. In addition, the author doesn't sufficiently explain how to incorporate the many sun-loving vegetables and flowers into guilds, which are often shade-oriented. Recommended only for botanical and academic libraries. Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Toby Hemenway is the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. After obtaining a degree in biology from Tufts University, Toby worked for many years as a researcher in genetics and immunology, first in academic laboratories at Harvard and the University of Washington in Seattle, and then at Immunex, a major medical biotech company. At about the time he was growing dissatisfied with the direction biotechnology was taking, he discovered permaculture, a design approach based on ecological principles that creates sustainable landscapes, homes, and workplaces. A career change followed, and Toby and his wife spent ten years creating a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon. He was associate editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture, from 1999 to 2004. He teaches permaculture and consults and lectures on ecological design throughout the country. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener. He is available for workshops, lectures, and consulting in ecological design.
He lives in Sebastopol, California.
Visit his web site at www.patternliteracy.com