Shortlisted for the Garden Media Guild Practical Book of the Year:
How to Create an Eco Garden: The Practical Guide to Greener, Planet-friendly Gardening
Published by Aquamarine, 2011. ISBN-10: 1903141893; ISBN-13: 978-1903141892
“Gardeners have a unique role to play in easing the growing pressures on our natural world. Eco gardening can slow our overconsumption of natural resources, reduce waste, cut energy use, and make a positive contribution to slowing climate change. Working in harmony with nature, eco gardeners can create beautiful and resilient gardens that reduce our ‘carbon footprint’, while nurturing vibrant, biologically rich growing spaces that build soil, boost biodiversity and encourage a sense of self-reliance.
“Comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, down-to-earth, useful and inspiring”
Each page of this earth-friendly book is bursting with inspirational ideas and tips for creating your own eco garden on any scale – from a balcony to a large garden. Find out how to make soil-building compost from kitchen waste, how to save energy by harvesting rainwater, and how to maximise sunlight in your garden. Discover earth-friendly organic techniques that attract beneficial, pest-eating animals and insects. Learn about the value of using recycled and reclaimed materials for landscaping.
Six eco garden plans, each packed with environmentally friendly ideas, include a city courtyard, an intensive food garden, dry and rain gardens, and an eco allotment. Find out how to grow food, from microgreens to potatoes, vertical vegetables and fruits. Simple and fun projects include making a pond, a log pile and a wildlife hotel, turning a lawn into wildflower meadow, making a green roof, and planting a ‘fedge’.
“A good present for anyone seeking out a green alternative to the patios and pesticides approach to gardening”
A fully illustrated directory of 80 plant species will help you choose the best plants for your eco garden, including flowers for attracting beneficial insects, to shrubs that provide winter food for birds. A calendar of care shows you at-a-glance what jobs need doing throughout the year.
Packed with hands-on practical advice, 500 specially commissioned colour photographs and original illustrations, this eco-friendly book is for everyone who wants to have a beautiful and productive backyard that won’t cost the earth.”
Book reviews, extracts and other mentions for How to Create an Eco Garden…
• ”John Walker has been ploughing a sometimes lonely furrow as one of a select breed of environmental garden writers willing to take on, and sometimes ferociously attack, mainstream gardening practices that are blatantly doing more harm than good. His sometimes hectoring style has caused some other notable garden writers to take umbrage on occasion – for example asking Bob Flowerdew to cut down on his flying did not go down too well – but his fearless commentary on the gardening styles of others gives the world of garden writing a much needed ‘edge’.
“Not that I want to give the impression that John only writes firebrand stuff. This book is more practical than political, actually a good present for anyone seeking out a green alternative to the patios and pesticides approach to gardening. John gardens in North Wales but his book thankfully avoids any country bias with a focus on smaller urban and suburban and allotments. This is very much for the ordinary gardener.
There are sections on subjects not always covered – tackling tough weeds, for example, and making your own wormery. And then there are chapter headings you very rarely see in other gardening books: ‘Renewable gardening’, ‘Using a sunny wall’, ‘What is sustainable landscaping?’. There’s plenty of practical advice too. It’s comprehensive, beautifully illustrated, down-to-earth, useful and inspiring. Even for the experienced gardener.” Clean Slate, Winter 2012.
• “This is a great introductory book with sustainability in mind … it isn’t text-heavy and can be dipped into as and when you need to. The most important chapter, in my opinion, is ‘soil care and composting’. This is comprehensive and covers the why’s and how’s in a clear format … I liked the items on sprouting seeds/mini-greens and also the section on vertical vegetables and fruits, which add an extra dimension when thinking about growing for food … I was impressed with the clear and structured introduction to thinking about how you garden and what you use or don’t use in the garden.” The Horticulturist, July 2012.
• “John sets out his views on ecological gardening, showing why what we do in our gardens matters in relation to the wider living world. He also offers an explanation of how gardeners may deal with global climate change. It brings it home that the trees you grow are important to you but also have a role in ‘the bigger picture’ … I found much to enjoy and learn in this book, not least the section on Sustainable Landscaping. Having recently made my first living willow chair, I may well progress to other structures, such as a willow ‘fedge’. John has researched and sourced a wealth of sustainable materials that will enhance and enliven your garden.” Herbs, June 2012.
• “With many parts of the country currently experiencing hosepipe bans and an increasing number of us wanting, and even needing to grow our own food, this book should be walking off the shelves. The statistics for habitat loss for wildlife, both flora and fauna, makes sobering reading. The recent potentially catastrophic collapse of the bee population, vital to the survival of nature itself, is an indication that we all need to change our habits. Gardeners are in a unique position to make a valuable contribution … The author, an award-winning writer on gardening and the environment, has carefully thought about the practical as well as the global issues. Underlying all the projects is the question: ‘how will this make a difference?’ … The case for being eco-friendly is compelling: gardening is one of the biggest leisure activities in the country, so if all of us make even a small change the result will be huge.” Gardens Illustrated, May 2012.
• “Is this the book that many modern, environmentally aware gardeners have been seeking? Possibly. The slightly off-putting title correctly implies that it is a practical step-by-step guide, but the ecologically friendly alternatives it gives can be implemented individually in any garden, whether large or small, urban or allotment. There is something here for every gardener: novices to environmentally sensitive gardening can see how feasible it is to adopt techniques such as growing edible crops, storing water, composting or maximising the use of a sunny wall. More experienced gardeners can embrace sustainable paths and fences, making biodegradable pots, fitting green roofs and choosing environmentally friendly tools. Within the book is an abundance of well-labelled and informative photographs and diagrams, step-by-step instructions and useful information panels on topical matters (such as the use of grey water, soil conditioners and even information on food miles). The objective of this well-executed book has been achieved.” The Garden, May 2012.
• “John Walker’s comprehensive book provides a clear guide to eco-friendly gardening without being patronising. A good read and useful reference for novice and experienced gardeners alike.” The English Garden, April 2012.
• “When John Walker’s newly-published book arrived it reminded me of John Seymour’s iconic The Self-Sufficient Gardener, with its neat diagrams and practical tips, showing garden layouts … The book offers six eco ‘greenprints’ and the eco allotment (which I love the look of) has a dry mulch on the perimeter to provide a habitat for hunting spiders and beetles … This is a resource book of ideas: whether you want to look up mulches, or connect a water butt to a pipe. I think it will appeal to new eco-friendly gardeners, but there’s plenty of advice for experienced gardeners too … John is the writer, when it comes to environmental issues, who is ahead of the field. “ Val Bourne, gardening correspondent, The Oxford Times, 15th March 2012.
• “You cannot expect the expected with John Walker. He likes to prod the conscience and confront environmental practices to promote thoughts intended to be followed by action. This is a practical and comprehensive new book with dozens and dozens of worthwhile ideas.” The Recycle Works, March 2012.
• “This is the best gardening reference book I have ever seen. The layout, one spread per subject, is excellent. It is written in a friendly and accessible way. It includes all the basics I’ve never liked to ask. Its eco-friendly bias is just what we need.” Amazon.co.uk review, 13th February 2012.
• ‘Eco-fitting Your Garden’, book extract featured in The Telegraph, 4th February 2012.
• “… This book is certainly the most up to date and comprehensive I have come across on how to garden as sustainably as possible.” Review by Wellywoman, 6th January 2012.
Ordering my book using the link to Amazon on the left (just click the book cover or button) earns earth-friendly gardener a small commission, which helps support the upkeep and development of the site.
Asking your local library to stock my book(s) also earns me (like other authors) a modest but ever-welcome and ongoing income through the Public Lending Right.
And choosing to order books through your local independent bookshop, even if they cost a little more, helps to keep that bookshop busy – and open.
Weeds: An Earth-friendly Guide to Their Identification, Use and Control
Published by Cassell Illustrated, 2003 (currently out of print). ISBN-10: 184403061X; ISBN-13: 978-1844030613
“In this earth-friendly guide, John Walker’s fresh approach encourages you to see garden weeds as more than unwelcome invaders in your beds, borders, vegetable garden, allotment, lawn, path or drive. Whether your garden is large or small, old or brand new, Weeds will help you identify, make use of and deal effectively with the weeds you find growing there, without resorting to chemicals.
• Practical techniques for preventing,clearing and controlling weeds without using chemical weedkillers
• Clearing weedy ground without back-breaking digging
• How different weeds grow, spread and survive and what they can tell you about your garden
• Using weeds to improve the fertility of your garden, feed your plants and encourage wildlife
• Colour photographs help you identify common weeds”
The Bed and Border Planner: Over a Million Ways to Mix and Match Perfect Borders
Published by Merehurst Ltd, 1999 (currently out of print). ISBN-10: 1853917524; ISBN-13: 978-1853917523
“The Bed and Border Planner is the essential guide to creating brilliant beds and borders using three key planting criteria – colour, shape and texture; its revolutionary design allows you to experiment with real life examples before going ahead and buying or growing the plants yourself.
• Which colours will work best in my border?
• What effect does a plant’s shape have on my plants?
• How can I use texture to enhance my planting?
If you’re not sure, then dip into the encyclopedic mix-and-match pages to sample the combined effects of 320 tried-and-tested plants and discover thousands of possible planting schemes. You’ll find the answers you need to match the plants you love to the site and soil where they will flourish.”
Editor, A Gardener’s Guide to Annuals (Merehurst Ltd)
Contributor, The Garden Sourcebook: The Essential Guide to Planning, Planting and Garden Style (Mitchell Beazley)
Contributor, Garden Organic Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Complete Guide to Natural and Chemical-free Gardening (Dorling Kindersley)