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Gardening is a cornerstone of sustainable living, and at Cultivate we offer a wide and ever changing selection of books on premaculture, garden design, botany, organic gardening, and more. One of our sources, Timber Press, is considered the preeminent publisher of horticulture books with over four hundred titles in print. The Cultivate shop has one of the most extensive selections of Timber Press books in Ireland, and regularly searches out new titles. We can also special order any Timber Press book still in print.

Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, By Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

Review by Erik van Lennep

2006 Timber Press

Every few years I read a book which turns my perspective on the world inside out and upside down, something which makes me look at the world with a new appreciation and wonder. I picked up Teaming with Microbes expecting to learn a bit more about soil ecology and composting, and I did. But I was taken into a world as seen by the authors, of the unseen and largely unconsidered world populated by microbes, fungi, invertabrates and others that is responsible for all fertility, and thus for all of our food, much of our oxygen and most of our waste disposal.

See excerpts of this book online.

Read more: Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, By Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis

Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide, By Edmund C. Snodgrass and Lucie L. Snodgrass

green roof plants book

Review by Erik van Lennep

©2006 Timber Press

It is very encouraging that such a thorough reference is now on the market, and I hope this is an indication of the expanding market for green roofs in general. Green roofs are far more acepted in Europe than in the USA, so the fact that this reference is borne out of the experience of one of the foremost US nurseries to specailise in green roof plants is notable. Containing more than 300 colour photographs with cultural details on more than 200 species and cultivars, this is an essential resource for home gardeners, landscape architects, and designers looking for environmentally friendly choices.

Growing conditions on a rooftop are more challenging and exacting than those at ground level, and the plants have been selected and trialed from a variety of habitats where they must endure wide variations in moisture availability, shallow soil depths, higher levels of U.V. radiation and windy conditions....

Read more: Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide, By Edmund C. Snodgrass and Lucie L. Snodgrass

Gardening with Woodland Plants, By Karan Junker

Review by Erik van Lennep

©2007 Timber Press

Coming from the East Coast of North America, a region still largely forested and given a chance, quick to revert to trees, I have a long and happy association with woodland habitats and shade gardens. Woodland plants are among my favourites, and books on woodland plants outnumber the rest in my own library. I am always interested to see how the woodland garden is interpreted in the European context, and Karan Junker's encyclopedic treatment of the subject did not disappoint me. I found it a little disconcerting to navigate her purely alphabetic listings as she dispensed with the customary divisions by tree, shrub, perennial, etc. But this was only a minor annoyance for me, and others might not be inconvenienced by this at all.

Read more: Gardening with Woodland Plants, By Karan Junker

Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape

By Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden

Review by Erik van Lennep

“...technically a rain garden has come to mean something very specific, namely a planted depression that is designed to take all, or as much as possible, of the excess rain- water run-off from a house or other building and its associated landscape. However, we feel that the term is such an evocative one that we use a much more wide-ranging de?nition, which covers all the possible elements that can be used to capture, channel, divert and make the most of the natural rain and snow that falls on a property. The whole garden becomes a rain garden, and all of the individual elements that we deal with in detail are either components of it, or are small-scale rain gardens in themselves. Rain gardens are therefore about water in all its forms, still and moving, above and below ground, and the rich planting and experiential opportunities that exploiting that water can give rise to”.

Read more: Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape

The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes, By Rick Darke

Review by Erik van Lennep

©2007 Timber Press

This incredibly thorough encyclopedia of grasses is a very good companion volume to Green Roof Plants , as so many of the grasses and sedges discussed would be suited to rooftop growing conditions. It goes much further however, looking at the world of grasses and grass-like plants, as well as their uses in thatching, biomass, habitat, and human culture. They are of course also very ornamental. The author is a passionate explorer and connoseur of the grasses, and the knowledgeable text and stunning photography will entice you to share his appreciation for this very large family of plants.

Read more: The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes, By Rick Darke

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