Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Charles's Organic Guidance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Charles's Organic Guidance

Article excerpt

Byline: By Susie White

The Prince of Wales has some practical advice when it comes to composting, pruning and watering. Susie White discovered some princely tips.

As an organic gardener of many years, I am always interested to learn how other people achieve the same aims, so I was delighted to see Prince Charles's new book, The Elements of Organic Gardening.

Written with Stephanie Donaldson, gardens editor for Country Living, it is a very practical as well as inspirational book about a subject close to his heart (and mine).

At my own Chesters Walled Garden there are naturalistic flower borders, mossy lawns dotted with daisies, vegetables and wildflowers, all grown without chemicals. As a result, there is an impressive sixty-seven species of birds, as well as frogs, toads and newts in the ponds and more elusive red squirrels. I suppose it is in my blood; I am proud that my grandfather was one of the founder members of the Soil Association, the leading environmental charity that promotes organic farming.

Opening this book, I was first struck by how beautiful it is, the photographs by Andrew Lawson creating a real sense of place. There is plenty to inspire from traditional vegetable growing, lovingly portrayed, to free-flowing cottage style borders and from walls cascading with honeysuckles to neatly clipped box hedges.

Three very different gardens are shown, each with varying soils, climates and problems; Highgrove on the limestone Cotswolds, Clarence House in central London and Birkhall in the colder Scottish Highlands. The latter has not been photographed before and you feel this is a very personal space, a place where the Duchess of Cornwall has put her own gardening ideas into practice.

The work of the gardeners is acknowledged throughout in photographs and quotations, and the methods used at the three houses gives plenty of ideas to try in our own gardens. …

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