A city garden need not be a dusty square of cracked concrete and a few scraggy bushes struggling against giant weeds. In the book to accompany a major new Channel 4 gardening series, Matt James - The City Gardener - leads a call to arms for urbanites everywhere: 'Green the city, hide the flat, featureless grey!'
With space ever more difficult and expensive to come by in our cities today, people are starting to realise how that plot out the back - or that balcony, or that rooftop - should be seen as an extra room in its own right. A space that with a little effort and the right know-how can be transformed into a lush, green oasis of calm: a space to relax away from hectic city life; a space to entertain friends; where kids can play safely; where you can explore your creative side, recover the link with nature and bring the pace of life in the country to the town.
Matt knows the difficulties of an urban garden - limited space, limited time, limited cash - and the book is crammed full with creative design and planting ideas developed from his professional experience working in London. An extensive directory recommends plants that thrive in urban conditions and identifies those it is best not to waste your money on. There are chapters on maximising space through the use of different levels, heights and 'rooms'; combating noise, pollution and eyesores; using trees for instant architecture and privacy; and achieving the 'gardenless' garden with window boxes, pots and trellises. The book will also show you that it's not just the farmers who can go organic, with tips throughout on chemical-free gardening and a section on growing a 'kitchen' garden which brings the allotment to the back door.
The City Gardener takes a refreshing attitude towards gardening that will be sure to energise a new generation of green-fingered city dwellers: chuck out the rule book, don't worry about monster earthworks and building expensive 'features' - just get to know and love the things that really matter in a garden: the plants!