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The City Gardener: Urban Oasis

The City Gardener: Urban Oasis
Matt James
Publication Date: 

cloth, 224 p., $29.95

This is a very practical and well–organized book. As the publisher states "Matt James is the new face of contemporary gardening in Britain and star of the hit Channel 4 series The City Gardener." The first chapters address very basic questions such as "functional necessities, desirable features, lifestyle, views, the hard bits, and existing plants." Under each of these categories, James lists pertinent questions or offers solutions to potential problems. He also gives advice on how to decide what garden design is best for you. Once this has been determined, he then walks you through the construction, step–by–step, whether you are planning to build a path, a patio, or make a lawn. There are sections on plant profiles, broken down by type of plant. Later in the book he guides you through the actual planting process.

Much as I admired the practical aspects of The City Gardener, I couldn’t help wondering why some of the pages were printed in strange colors such as the Introduction in a sort of peach background with red print and red horizontal lines. This strange look appears at random spots throughout the book in various colors, none as jarring as the Introduction. Other than this aesthetic sour note, I found this a very helpful book.

— Joan Richards, volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden