Ecological Gardening


197 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-394-22199-0
DDC 635'.0484'0971




Reviewed by Pleasance Crawford

Pleasance Crawford, a Canadian landscape and garden history researcher
and writer, is the editor of Landscape Architectural Review.


Ecological gardening involves more than gardening without poisons. For
Harris, the basics are nurturing healthy soil and choosing hardy,
disease-resistant plants. “The ecological garden,” she writes, “is
a metaphor for planet earth . . . where everything relates to everything

Harris prepares a weekly gardening column for The Globe and Mail. This
is her second gardening book. As in The Canadian Gardener, she uses an
easy, conversational style, with lots of short, punchy sentences. Being
a committed, observant, and well-informed organic gardener, she explains
the basics of ecological gardening and also provides hundreds of
specific suggestions, many based on first-hand experience.

She has organized the information here into chapters on soil, compost,
mulching and fertilizing, good and bad bugs, diseases and deficiencies,
weeds, companion plants, water, old wives’ lore, and gardening
styles—plus a “finale” about starting a grassroots network for
ecological living and gardening. (Her own neighborhood group provides an
inspiring example.)

Ecological Gardening is a book I can open to any page to find a pithy,
thought-provoking paragraph. Although it has few illustrations, only in
the chapter on bugs do I find myself wishing for more. On the other
hand, I definitely wish for a fuller index, to help locate and
cross-check the wealth of material the book contains.


Harris, Marjorie., “Ecological Gardening,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,