Posts Tagged ‘Just Tassie Books’

Beyond Organics is all about gardens and ecology – why we need to bring nature conservation into our gardening and how to do that. I wrote it because I felt that organic gardening needed to develop a more deeply ecological set of values which recognises that gardens are part of their local ecosystem and should be managed with that in mind. I realised that some organic gardening techniques can be environmentally damaging – for example, the run off from excessive use of organic fertilisers next to waterways or natural bush can encourage weed infestations. Inappropriate planting choices require high inputs of nutrient and water and may give little back to the environment – such as growing hybrid roses in a humid climate with poor soils.

The idea behind Beyond Organics is to minimise the inputs to a garden and maximise the positive contribution it makes to the environment – this might be about local biodiversity, planting for birds and insects, avoiding plants that have been harvested from the natural environment and growing your own food to reduce food miles.

There is a short history of gardening through the ages and in different cultures, bringing us to the question of what is appropriate gardening in these times of ecological crisis? Historical horticultural sins are exposed – the mass clearing of orchid populations in South America during the Victorian orchid craze and more recently, the decimation of Turkish hillsides by the harvesting of bulbs such as cyclamen for the European bulb markets and the taking of mature cacti and succulents from delicate desert ecosystems in North America for ‘instant’ gardens.

My highly respected friend and accomplice, Peter Cundall, wrote the foreword and did me the honour of launching the book at Fullers Bookshop, Hobart in 2005.

My beautiful book, Beyond Organic

Here’s what he thought of Beyond Organics

Extracted from foreword…

Beyond Organics is the book that had to be written and Helen Cushing has done a brilliant job. She goes outside the garden, yet still links our gardening activities with the natural environment. Every organic garden, although healthy, different and seemingly quite separate, is still a vital part of a world environment which is clearly deteriorating rapidly. In short, we can’t have one without the other and there is no such thing as a garden in isolation…

‘Beyond Organics’ is a powerful call to action. The message of this book is quite clear. We can no longer ignore the fact that our gardens are part of a natural world. The spread of organic growing methods has been inspiring. Now let’s take the next vital step and start gardening ecologically too.”

Beyond Organics launch. See anyone you know?

Here are some good bits from reviews:

From: The Weekend Australian 2/7/05 Review by Christopher  Bantick

“Those looking for a book that extols the virtues of gardening organically will find something here that goes much further: it is not so much about how to garden as one that asks why many people garden with environmentally compromising habits. She offers a philosophy of the primacy of working with the environment rather than gardening for fashionable effect by taking “caring gardeners beyond organics and into a deeper ecology of gardening.” Integral to this is the awareness that the kind of gardening we may do could be unhelpful for the wellbeing of the planet.”

From: Good Reading Magazine (print and online)


The Good Reading Magazine gave Beyond Organics a five star (outstanding) rating in its June 2005 issue.

In the reviewers words, “This is a very generous book, infused with warmth and sense of purpose – it deserves a place on every bookshelf in the country.”

From: http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/ ecological-gardening.html

‘When we begin to think of the combined size of gardens, rather than individual size, new possibilities begin to emerge in terms of their ecological role.’

This is a quote from my new favourite book “Beyond Organics: Gardening for the Future” by Helen Cushing.

Cushing goes on to describe ways to do this by creating natural habitat for the birds, insects and small animals that are native to your area. Building up the soil to create a vibrant ecosystem that will naturally thrive and survive while natural habitats are being wiped out… the concepts really smacked me between the eyes. It’s worth considering gardening ecologically. (end extract)

in action giving a talk about choosing flowers that support biodiversity

So, if you want to read the whole thing, let me know! It costs AUD$25 from me ($29.95 RRP). Postage in Australia is another $5. Elsewhere it’s more. You can pay into my Helen Cushing Paypal account or ask for my banking info to pay that way. I’ll go away now and figure out how to put a paypal button on the blog…

Have tried and so far failed to put PayPal button into blog. Some technical hitch… So in the meantime, write to me if you want to buy the book and we’ll make a plan.


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Well I’m back from my Garden Writer’s Tour of Northern Tasmania with stories to tell! But more recently I’m just in from my own garden with dirt under the fingernails and a belly full of berries. All that driving and visiting left me soil and weed deprived, but now I am content. You see,  I reclaimed a path which got lost while I was in India (see blog 1 Paths are for People…). The path, which runs between two veggie beds, had been left in the care of one teenager and one ex-teenager.  I refer you to blog 2 (concerning the resemblence between teens and nasturtiums). I scraped away weeds, I discovered hidden gifts, spread satisfyingly old compost, and planted bright new broccolini seedlings, which sit there now, full of hope and wonder at the feel of the endless earth beneath their tiny roots.

The gifts were a sweet surprise. Last winter a kind friend gave me some Lloyd George raspberry canes. I had just been reading up on varieties and had LG marked out as an old fashioned one to look out for, then having been in my thoughts, they suddenly arrived in my life. I didn’t expect fruit this year but little bursts of flowers have been appearing and this is my second taste of raspberries that collapse like an offering of  pure flavour and softness in the mouth that is blessed with their arrival.  Then low and behold I lifted up my new gooseberry bush which had developed an unplanned lean and there hung a shiny round fruit! I had always thought they needed cooking with sugar and then chilling with custard to be edible but I sucked out the smooth innards of this one and it was very good! Maybe next year we’ll make gooseberry fool like my mum used to, when the bush is better grown and my picking bowl is filled.

I haven’t nearly finished all there is to tell but I must away to an opening. It’s of interest to you – a new book shop in Hobart – Just Tassie Books. All books are by Tasmanian authors. It’s an authors only event, so I got an invite and Bob Browne is doing the opening honours. Speaking of books, if anyone wants to buy Beyond Organics, I have quite a few box fulls and am a lousy distributor but good at filling orders when they do come in. I sell them cheaper than the shops… let me know if you need any… it’s still a good book.

A bientot, will be back tomorrow with photos and travel tales.

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