Cover image for The new city gardener : natural techniques and necessary skills for a successful urban garden
The new city gardener : natural techniques and necessary skills for a successful urban garden
Adam, Judith.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Willowdale, Ont. : Firefly Books, 1999.
Physical Description:
224 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.

"A Firefly book"--T.p. verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB453 .A33 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Successful gardeners are made, not born. For a beginning gardener with a small city space or an experienced gardener with a large suburban lot, The New City Gardener provides all the practical skills and information necessary to create a beautiful garden in an urban environment. Your climate and soil conditions will determine what plants can adapt to your site, but The New City Gardener shows you how to dig in to improve your soil and create a garden that will not only survive, but thrive without extensive cultivation.

As a horticulturist and landscape designer who has lived and gardened in New York, Rome and Toronto, Judith Adam's experience helps you:

design the garden's structure plan for spring-to-autumn bloom keep a lawn thick and vigorous, naturally prune for natural growth know when and how much to fertilize.

The New City Gardener is packed with solutions to urban growing problems such as:

how to use the narrow strip between your house and your neighbor's how to integrate the front yard with the backyard how to make and use hedges and berms.

Author Notes

Judith Adam 's gardens have included a fire-escape vinery, hi-rise terrace, inner city patch, municipal allotment plot, suburban lot and many containers on a sunny deck. She lives in Toronto teaching horticulture to city growers and designing city landscapes.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Adam's refreshingly approachable handbook is aimed at assisting city gardeners in planning and planting urban spaces. Her book bursting with ideas and practical advice, Adam covers a good deal of ground as she recommends options for transforming small yards into welcoming gardens where pathways and patio areas coexist with appealing plants. Attempting to lessen anxieties that beset new gardeners, Adam offers kind words of encouragement, along with repeated reminders to clarify the parameters of the project. No point in getting bogged down in an unworkable scheme, when a more practical approach might dictate starting out on a smaller scale. Sensible advice and plenty of inspiring color photographs promise stimulating design concepts and a useful resource. (Reviewed March 15, 1999)1552093131Alice Joyce

Publisher's Weekly Review

Adam goes far beyond container gardening on apartment building fire escapes in this fine primer, successfully addressing a wide range of specific concerns for the urban gardener. Leaving no stone unturned, she assesses everything from overcoming the limitations of a city site to improving and amending neglected soil and selecting appropriately sized perennials, shrubs and trees; she also suggests using vines to camouflage ugly fences, walls and vistas. Her practical, straightforward style is enlivened by a keen wit and such horticultural bon mots as "concealment is sometimes the better part of gardening valor" and "like the course of true love, a good path seldom runs straight." In addition to thoroughly covering the basics of planning, planting and maintenance, Adam shares creative tips on making the most of awkward sites and expanding gardening opportunities by reclaiming and redesigning unused space, from side alleys and parking strips to land covered by unused garages or sheds. Strategies for renters are suggested as well (for instance, planting trees in large pots that can be moved when the lease is up), and numerous sidebars include plant lists and a practical "getting the job done" feature that spotlights specific garden chores such as planting trees and patching a damaged lawn. If there's a quibble, it's that the photos, lovely as they are, stretch the definition of truly "urban" spacesÄbut this only serves to make the material of use to the suburban gardener as well. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Sidebar excerpted from Chapter Three: Perennials, beds and borders Making old beds new again Renovating an older bed is not much different from making a new one. First decide what plants are in good condition and worth keeping. Remove plants that have not grown well or are troubled by disease or insect problems. Healthy plants no longer of interest can be given to friends and neighbors who might enjoy them. The plants you keep may require dividing, and that will make more plants to be set into new locations or given away. Large shrubs in the bed can't be easily moved and will probably have to remain where they are, but perennials can be lifted and set in new locations that may better suit their light requirements. Dig out any weeds with a hand trowel, making sure to get their roots. Improve the soil with compost, manure and sand, then reshape the bed if you choose and give it a sharp edge all around. Finally, consider whether woody structural plants are needed at each end, or low flowering shrubs for the middle section. All that's left is the big question: what would you like to plant? Sidebar excerpted from Chapter Three: Perennials, beds and borders Getting the job done: Renovating an old garden bed Small garden beds can be renovated all at one time. Larger beds can be divided into sections and the renovation accomplished in stages over a longer time. Determine what plants are to be eliminated from the bed. Remove plants that do not grow well inthe available light and moisture conditions, as well as any plants subject to insect and disease problems. Plants that are to be retained should be carefully lifted using asmall spade or garden fork and set into a container or plastic bag, A kiddy pool or baby bath will hold many plants in a healthy state for a short time. Divide any plants with old or crowded crowns. Cover plant roots to prevent drying out. Edge the bed and renew its shape, making changes to enlarge or modify the area. Remove all weeds, dead roots, sticks and debris. Improve the soil with organic amendments such as compost, aged manure, shredded leaves, peat moss and sand. Reset the plants into the renovated bed, working from the back toward the front, or if the bed is an island, from the middle out to the edges. Water each plant into its new position. Use transplant fertilizer solution or bone meal in the holes of plants that have been divided. Mulch the bed with 2 inches (5 cm) of shredded leaves or bark. Excerpted from The New City Gardener: Natural Techniques and Necessary Skills for a Successful City Garden by Judith Adam All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.