As you know I often get asked to review items, sometimes gardening or chicken keeping equipment and sometimes books. Recently I was sent a press release for a new book by Phillipa Pearson, published by Dorling Kindersley called Small Space, Big Ideas.
The Saddlebag Balcony Planters (p 74) made from oilcloth and filled with plants to hang either side of a balcony are really great - I would be quite tempted to have some on my actual bicycle :)
The Portable Hanging Insect House (p 198) looks wonderful and would appeal to many a diy enthusiast as well as a gardener - and the finished product looks both effective and very stylish.
I really liked the Wildlife Hamper (p210)- insect attracting flowers growing in a basket - I think this could make a wonderful gift if the basket were given as a kit with the seed packets in it. I did a similar thing last year to grow Celery, and it is still going strong in the polytunnel so I know this technique does work.
In fact I liked the whole book, I really enjoyed looking through it; there are some good ideas which I want to try and as an inspiration and source of ideas this book is really brilliant.
Although not explicitly organic, I could see no use of chemicals (apart from paint and varnish) and lots of organic growing methods were mentioned, such as companion planting and attracting beneficial insects to the garden. Composting and maintaining a healthy ecological balance in the garden was also discussed and various methods outlined. The book has a useful section on how to grow and maintain plants, with general care and harvesting advice. It also has a very good contents list at the front and index at the back, along with a list of suppliers.
I do wonder if some of the containers could be obtained as easily as the book assumes (old zinc tubs are quite expensive and I don't often see them!) and I was a bit disappointed not to see more prominent mention of using peat free growing medium rather than just saying to buy multi purpose compost.
These are minor quibbles and this book would make an interesting and attractive addition to the bookshelves of a gardener and/or craft person or indeed to a beginner in either.