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Ultimate Sustainable Landscaping Reading List


Planting: A New Perspective by: Piet Oudolf & Noel Kingsbury - the ultimate manual to Wild Garden Design strategies & methodology

Growing Food in a Hotter Drier Climate, by: Gary Paul Nabhan - a really cool examination of how indigenous farming techniques in the Southwest can be used to grow food with less water. Big research on the power of shade.  

The New Sunset Western Gardening by: Kathleen Norris Brenzel - the essential guide to plants and climate zones in Western North America. This is the gardener's bible. 

One Straw Revolution by: Masanobu Fukuoka - classic manifesto on the simplicity of Natural Farming and how to make produce less of a headache to grow and more affordable to enjoy

The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden by: Johanna Silver - Ruth Bancroft pioneered cactus and succulent growing in a climate where temperatures ranged from -20 degrees Fahrenheit to 115. This book has the most essential techniques for building a long lived drought tolerant garden in almost any part of California. 

the Long List

California Native Plants for the Garden, by: Carol Bornstein, Bart O'Brien & David Fross - older listicle type book. most information of this kind is now available on sites like CNPS Calscape Website

Desert or Paradise: Renaturing Endangered Landscapes, by: Sepp Holzer - a broad stroke guide to how large scale water features and passive irrigation design rapidly reverses desertification.

Designing California Native Gardens: The Plant Community Approach to Artful, Ecological Gardens, by: Glenn Keator - cool approach to creating authentic California native gardens. Some beautiful design examples from a huge array of habitats. 

Edible Food Forest Gardens Vol. I-II, Dave Jacke & Erin Toensmeir - the Ultimate agroforestry encyclopedia. Documents most pertinent information practiced in western food forestry Permaculture to date. Volume II is an especially precious compilation of large indices that feature lists for: dynamic accumulators, medicinal values of plants, coppicing species, blooming calendars & beneficial pollinator habitat

Edible Landscaping, by: Rosalind Creasy - all the classic garden beauty served up in a fantastic edible array. Conventional food dominant. Managed by regular doses of chicken manure. Based out of Oregon. 

Farmers for 40 Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea and Japan, by: Franklin Hiram King - super cool book about the farming history of Asia. Wondering how a region with a population twice the size of the rest of the world has sustained itself all these years? Canals, night soil and so much more. Incredible read. 

Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Homescale Permaculture, by: Toby Hemenway - this classic beginner's Permaculture manual has a lot of really useful information on practical approachs and - especially valuable - hot to research & design plant guilds. 

Lawn Gone!: Low-Maintenance Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard, by: Pam Penick - Really more of a listicle than particularly useful in my opinion. 

The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy, by: Chris Turner - this is more about urban planning and very cool innovations for bridging society into a more sustainable sphere. Big stats on bullet trains and integrated solar economies in here! 

The Low-Water No-Water Garden: Gardening for Drought and Heat the Mediterranean Way by: Pattie Brown, In depth exploration of how to use gravel in the landscape and approach the true Mediterranean (i.e. Italian, Moroccan, etc.) landscape style & plant palette

Mediterranean Gardening: A Waterwise Approach by: Heidi Gildemeister - Bit a broad stroke overview and classical exploration of the forms and plants and philosophy used in Mediterranean landscaping. 

Mycellim Running: How Mushrooms can Help Save the World, by: Paul Stamens - for all the mycellium curious out there this book blows the mind. Very cool perspectives on how and how broadly fungi have integrated with (and in some cases manipulate) our living world. 

Nature in the Balance: The Economics of Biodiversity, by: Dieter Helm & Cameron Hepburn - Fascinating (and complex) examination of quantifying the financial worth of natural systems. Did you know that if the true costs of production of Macdonald's hamburger (i.e. rainforest deforestation & public health) were accounted for it'd be priced at OVER $200??? 

The New Organic Grower by: Eliot Coleman - ever wanted to be an organic farmer? Well this guy will tell you how. Sweet, calm grandpa vibes from a hugely productive farm operated with minimal equipment. His Year-Round Vegetable Production is also a GREAT read (my favorite part is where he documents how 19th century Paris used to grow all it's own vegetables [within city limits] using cloches & the horse manure from carriages)

Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City by: Eric Toensmeier & Jonathan Bates - The documentation of a New England food forest plot. Careful tracking of plant guild successes and strategies 

Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles by: Eric Toensmeir - important accounting of most practical perennial vegetables to adapt to American gardens and diets. 

Ideas for Japanese Gardens, - sweet little vintage gardening manual from Sunset Magazine

The Secret Teachings of Plants: the Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature, by: Stephen Harrod Buhner - fascinating exploration of our ability to absorb knowledge from the natural world. Trippy. 

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Growers, by: Suzanne Ashworth - important and heartfelt testament to the importance of seed saving. Very useful practical guide for DIY'ers

Solviva I-II - How to Grow $500k on One Acre and Peace on Earth by: Anna Edey - amazing insights in experimental building, interconnected greenhouses, humanure composting and season extension from martha's vineyard

Spin Farming - The New Way to Farm by: Wally Satzewich & Roxanne Christensen, how to flip a small lot into a profitable vegetable growing plot on a budget. Hint: relay cropping lettuces and radishes. 

Wild Foresting: Practicing Nature's Wisdom, by: Alan Drengson, Duncan Taylor - poetic exploration of getting lost in nature. 

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