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The Self-Sustaining Garden: A Gardener's Guide to Matrix Plantingby Peter Thompson
Synopses & Reviews
This book explores the theme that plants themselves can do much of the hard work gardeners believe is an essential part of gardening. The Self-Sustaining Gardenadvocates using plants as partners in self-sustaining communities to create low-maintenance gardens rather than being a slave to spades and hoes. The term "matrix" refers to the integration of roots, stems, foliage, and flowers, which provides protection for the plants in the community by resisting invasion by outsiders, or weeds. On a larger scale, the matrix consists of a variety of plants ranging in three dimensions, from a canopy of tall trees through climbing plants and shrubs, to perennials, bulbs, ferns, and mosses. The guiding principles of matrix planting are, firstly, choosing plants that are suited to the conditions in the garden and, secondly, combining these with other plants with the same requirements. In a series of compelling case studies, Peter Thompson shows how to transform a conventional garden into a self-sustaining garden. Focusing on "grassy themes," pools and damp areas, and mixed plantings, he presents a clear evaluation and plan of action for each example. His lists of plants include valuable detail on special requirements and appropriate association.
The Self-Sustaining Gardenbrings together an explanation of the universal principles of matrix planting with specific applications and informative chapters on soil health and biological controls, and shows how to pull all the ingredients together into a strong, self-sustaining design.
Book News Annotation:
Writing with great passion, Thompson (formerly head of the physiology section at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, England, he runs a garden school in Shropshire) describes "matrix" planting. Focusing on the right plant for the right spot in terms of soil, water, and light, this system relies especially on native plants, allowing them to grow together in a symbiotic matrix that minimizes or eliminates weeding and watering. The woes of what Thompson terms orthodox gardening, which is labor-intensive in the amount of weeding, pruning, and watering required, are contrasted with matrix planting, both in his introductory chapters and in the subsequent hands-on chapters describing different kinds of garden situations. Practical applications, including soil preparation and planting in a range of situations are described. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Exploring the theme that the plants themselves can do much of the hard work of gardening, The Self-Sustaining Gardencombines an explanation of the universal principles of matrix planting with case studies and chapters on soil health and biological controls, and shows how to pull all the ingredients together into a strong, self-sustaining design.
Exploring the theme that the plants themselves can do much of the hard work of gardening, "The Self-Sustaining Garden" combines an explanation of the universal principles of matrix planting with case studies and chapters on soil health and biological controls, and shows how to pull all the ingredients together into a strong, self-sustaining design.
About the Author
Dr. Peter Thompson is a distinguished plantsman, with a background in plant physiology. He has founded a gardening school in Shropshire, England, owned and run Oldfield Nurseries, and headed the Physiology section at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he established a Seed Bank for useful, threatened, or otherwise important species and populations of wild plants. He lives in the UK.
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