‘Paradise Lot’

(Please note: this review was originally published in Gardens Illustrated, November 2013)

Written by Eric Toensmeier

Published by Chelsea Green Publishing Company

Faced with a barren lot containing toxic soil littered with asphalt, concrete and brick, even the most determined gardener might lose heart. But not plant geeks, Eric and Jonathan. This is an inspiring tale of how they not only transformed their plot into a “permaculture paradise”, but enticed their two Eves in the process.

As one of America’s leading permaculture teachers, Eric Toensmeier’s passion for growing food more sustainably and in harmony with natural ecosystems is catching. We are introduced to techniques such as grouping plants in mutually beneficial partnerships to provide weed and pest control and the advantages of low-maintenance edible perennials.

However this is more of a charming personal account than a handbook. We learn through the authors’ own trials and tribulations, and the background love stories provide a big heart that pulsates through what could have seemed a lengthy and under-illustrated text.

This book’s compassionate philosophy promises to reinvigorate the gardening outlook of beginners and old hands alike.