Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Sunday, 18 September 2011

My Garden, The City and Me: Book Review

My Garden, The City and Me is a charming tale of one city dweller's adventures in starting edible and wildlife gardening. Except she doesn't have a garden, so undaunted she borrows her neighbour's kitchen roof to explore the possibilities. This really is gardening against the odds: a garden just 3 metres square with limited access to be gardened by a novice who just has oodles of enthusiasm to get her over the hurdles.

How much can be grown in such a tiny space? Well, it turns out to be quite a lot and Helen Babbs tells us about her triumphs and disasters. In between life on her rooftop garden, she tells us about the various community projects and initiatives she's discovered which take place in London. This is in complete contrast to the usual view of London as a faceless city, and shows there's thriving communities to be discovered if one only knows where to look.

This is the tale of one year's growing, told by the season, which turns out to be a life changing experience, not only in Helen's new form of transport (a bicycle), but also a career change into freelance writing.

At the end of the book there's Helen's selection of the best plants to grow, the best moments she's experienced, things to read and places to go which forms a useful reference section for readers (not just those based in London I'm sure) inspired to follow in Helen's footsteps.

My only criticism is the book's length: it's far too short and I was left wanting far more than a mere 140 pages. Luckily Helen has secured regular freelance work with Kitchen Garden magazine (and she also blogs for them), plus as a regular garden blogger for The Guardian, so more won't be too hard to find.

Update: she also has her own blog about aerial edible gardening.

NB Timber Press attended the final event of the Seattle Fling and this is what I found in my goody bag, courtesy of Andrea who kindly gave me hers when they'd run out :)

2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the book, too. Thanks for the links to her online writing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Carol - glad you enjoyed it! I was worried it wouldn't travel that well, but you and Kylee have proved me wrong :)

    ReplyDelete
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