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A forest garden is a place where nature and people meet halfway, between the canopy of trees and the soil underfoot. It doesn’t have to look like a forest – what’s important is that natural processes are allowed to unfold, to the benefit of plants, people and other creatures. The result is an edible ecosystem.

For three decades experimental forest gardens have been planted in temperate cities and rural sites, in households, neighbourhoods, community gardens, parks, market gardens and plant nurseries. Forest Gardening In Practice is the first indepth review of forest gardening with living, best practice examples. It highlights the four core skills of forest gardeners: ecology, horticulture, design, cooperation.

It is for hobby gardeners, smallholders, community gardeners and landscape professionals.

Forest Gardening In Practice features:
* A history of forest gardening
* Step-by-step guide to creating your own edible ecosystem
* 14 in-depth case studies of established forest gardens and edible landscapes in Europe and the USA.
* Chapters on integrating animals, learning, enterprises, working in community and public settings.

Where to get it?

permanent publications

About the author

Tomas Remiarz has been involved in creating and maintaining forest gardens across the UK and Europe for nearly 20 years. He is currently involved in a sustainable rural housing project project on a 7-acre site in Herefordshire. As a founder member of the Permaculture Association’s research advisory board he is particularly interested in studying polycultures and has produced several reports on the subject.

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Location: Southeast US Zone 8b
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Added to my reading list!
Posts: 802
Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns

review published on permaculture magazine International n. 91

Forest Gardening in practice is a book that comes out at the right time. We have many titles on forest gardening but this book changes our perspective on the subject. It has been written by Tomas Remiarz a known permaculture teacher and consultant, that has worked for the past twenty years in the UK and Europe.

Up till now we have read books that share a deep understanding of how plants interact. Forest gardening for many is mimicking natural ecosystems at its height, yes, but it is more than that if we take the discussion a step forward focusing on the interaction between plants and people.

“Gardens are nothing without the people who make, tend and use them. Each garden is an interpretation of what’s possible on a particular patch of land, filtered through the needs and desires of those who are working with it. This is part of the social dimension to forest gardens that so far has not featured much in the literature on the subject”

And this is what Tomas Remiarz has done in his book.

We are now thirty years from when Robert Hart defined our current concept of forest gardening. These thirty years give us the opportunity to look at what has worked and what has not in forest garden design, we have sites that have evolved for the past twenty or more years and share a story. The story is not only that of the succession of plants and growth of the canopy. No, it is the story of the people that started those projects, what led their original design and how this evolved, changed in time, and how in some cases they passed their forest gardens on to others. These thirty years give us the opportunity to see how communities have worked and work in shared spaces, how groups interact in the maintenance of sites, how people learn skills and learn to share them. These thirty years share the errors and frustrations people have encountered.

Plants and people interact not only on the yield-harvesting level, there is more to our relation even within designed natural ecosystems and the author shows it to us.

Tomas looking back at the past thirty years shares more than fifteen case studies in different climates, with different sizes and settings, from backyards, to educational, commercial or public settings. Each case study is a chapter by itself, and the author shares a lot of information on every project. But even specific aspects are discussed in thematic chapters. This is the central section of the book.

The book is divided in four sections. The first sets the context of forest gardening, how it evolved and how it relates to other fields as agroforestry and. Section two takes the reader down a walk in Nature understanding how it works and what is helpful for design. Then there is section three that as said is the core of the book. Section four is a step by step guide to laying out an edible ecosystem, but it is not only focused on the first theoretical stage of the work but even on the practical planting phase and its maintenance or dealing with problems.

This book takes our knowledge on forest gardening a step forward. It is great to read at the same time sharing real research data along with personal stories of the designers and stewards of the forest gardens recalled. Tomas has a way of writing that is friendly and informative, his way of describing some sites he visited is so descriptive the reader can actually see them, create an image from text, but there is more, there are all the photos. The visual side of this book is very strong. Tomas shares his work with a collection of exceptional photos, their colour and beauty inspires.

This is not the usual book on forest gardening, describing only layout patterns or listing plants, this is a book that will take the understanding of forest gardening to a social level.
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