If you’re an active participant in the world of landscape design or gardening, you no doubt include the word sustainability somewhere on your business card, blog or website. The lectures I attend (and give) as well as many of the books and articles I read do a wonderful job of explaining the havoc careless gardeners can wreck on the environment, when water is treated like an infinite commodity and chemicals are casually applied.
Of course, like most people, I don’t like to be lectured at.
That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed Tomorrow's Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening by Stephen Orr. Instead of opening with a doom and gloom lecture on the perils uninformed gardeners pose to the planet, he begins with the story of his own evolution as a gardener, starting with his ignorant acceptance of the “coddling, fertilizer and fungicides” required to maintain the beloved tea roses and hydrangeas of his Texas youth to his gradual discomfort with the high-maintenance, under-utilized gardens he toured and photographed all over the world as garden editor for House and Garden, Domino and currently Martha Stewart Living. Culminating in the lessons learned most recently as an upstate New York gardener battling deer, difficult soil and harsh winters, Stephen has written a book that is not a lecture on sustainability, but rather a celebration of gardens that connect with nature in both small and large ways.