The Thrifty Gardener: How to Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing

Alys Fowler: celebrity gardener extraordinaire.

The Thrifty Gardener

Product details

Product name: The Thrifty Gardener: How to Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing

Reviewer: Kate Arneman

Author: Alys Fowler

Publisher: Kyle Cathie

Price: $34.95

G Rating:


In these days of domestic goddesses and backyard blitzes, the cult of the celebrity gardener rivals that of the celebrity chef.

British horticulturalist Alys Fowler applies the energetic, no-nonsense approach of Jamie Oliver to gardening while eschewing the mass-produced instant makeovers of Jamie Durie et al.

As the gumbooted redhead writes in her foreword, "Gardening is something you do, not something you buy."

The Thrifty Gardener is a practical guide to gardening for beginners with a low budget and an environmental conscience.

Fowler's writing is clear, accessible and down to earth.

Photography by Simon Wheeler allows the personality and philosophy of the writer to shine through as we see her in action (dressed in enviably stylish yet not totally unrealistic gardening ensembles).

The emphasis on 'thrifty' gardening (through DIY projects with recycled and repurposed materials) serves the environment well, in addition to keeping costs low.

There's a guide to skip diving etiquette and plenty of creative suggestions - fill an old hot water bottle three quarters full with sand to use as a "grantastic" kneeling pad, or cut the top off a large olive oil tin to create a chic planter.

Fowler advocates natural pest and weed control and sustainable fertilisers.

She provides step-by-step instructions for setting up and maintaining compost heaps and worm farms.

The "No Garden Gardening" chapter is aimed at aspiring green thumbs who don't have the luxury of space (or even soil, for that matter!).

Suggestions on potted outdoor and indoor plants will provide inspiration for renters and city-dwellers whose only available space is a concrete courtyard, fire escape or rooftop.

Australian readers will have to look elsewhere for information on natives as this book is written from a British perspective.

In other respects, little is lost in translation - most of the information pertains to basic principles: designing a garden, sowing, propagating and pruning, soil structure and growing vegetables and herbs.

Printed on PEFC-certified paper.

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