Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Often people ask me what is my favourite gardening book. This is a tricky question to answer because, as many readers of this blog would know, I am a little bit outside the square in my ideas and I wonder whether this person means a reference book, like Oriental Vegetables by Joy Larkom, something inspiring for the beginner like Backyard Self-sufficiency by Jackie French or something more meaty like Permaculture One by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren.

There is, however, a book that is all of these in one.... easy to read, inspiring, philosophical, Australian and full of wonderful ideas and information. It is Beyond Organics, by Helen Cushing. Luckily for us, Helen has just started a blog, called Gardening with Helen. Here is an excerpt from Nasturtiums are like Teenagers.......

If you have nasturtiums in your garden, you will know what I mean when I say they are a plant requiring a relationship with their gardener.

I am a great fan of the nasturtium, but let’s just say they regularly test the friendship. They are a sort of teenage plant – lots of life, energy and beauty, but unsure of their boundaries. Or perhaps more accurately, uninterested in their boundaries....

.....There is another patch by the veggie bed. As an organic gardener and nature conservationist I believe in having a ‘living mulch’, maximising the habitat, protecting the soil, growing biomass etc – I’m sure you know the reasons. But as with teenagers, so with living mulch/nasturtium. The relationship must be interactive to achieve best results. Neglect means loss of influence (otherwise known as control), blurred boundaries, the need for a firm hand at a later date. Recovering the veggie garden from the enthusiasm of nasturtiums is more an act of archaeology than gardening.

She explains in her introduction.....Hope someone likes whatever it is that evolves here – it will be a rambling garden of words, of that you can be sure! Let me know if you enjoy it, and if you have any gardening questions, try me.

Helen is new to the whole blog thing so go and say hello, and leave a comment, she is our new neighbour! I have put a link to her blog in the side bar, under Tasmania.

1 comment:

Helen said...

Hi Kate, thanks for the kind words about Beyond Organics. My brother has similar sentiments - says its "the best gardening book he's ever read" and now he says my blog is "the best gardening blog he's ever read." He's both diplomatic and truthful, having never read any other gardening books or blogs... we all need fans like you and my brother. I look forward to catching up in Hobart very soon.