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Plants For A Future:- The Book


"Ken Fern leads us through a garden of improbable delights - cold climate yams five feet long, edible fuschia fruits, trees laden with delicious berries all through the winter, leaves and flowers with the most subtle and astonishing flavours. It is hard to overestimate the importance and likely impact of this book. Plants For A Future hugely widens the range of edible species which we can, with confidence, grow in temperate climates. It shows us how to use land more efficiently and sustainably than ever before, and it brings to our sadly limited cuisine a vast new range of remarkable foods, all around the year. It is, in short, the first shot in an impending horticultural revolution. The result of an insatiable curiosity and years of painstaking research, this book is comparable in stature only to the works of Evelyn and Culpeper."

 - George Monbiot.









TITLE: Plants For A Future: Edible & Useful Plants For A Healthier World

AUTHOR: Ken Fern

FOREWORD: Joy Larkcom

The way we currently produce our food is damaging both to ourselves and our planet. There is therefore a need to create gardens, woodlands and farms which are in harmony with nature. Natural ecosystems are good models, but many of the plants they contain are not necessarily edible. What we need is to discover and grow a wide variety of easily grown perennial and self-seeding annuals which provide delicious and healthy food, or are useful in other ways.
Describing plants such as these, both native to Britain and Europe and from temperate areas around the world, this book includes those suitable for: the ornamental garden, the edible lawn, shade, ponds, walls, hedges, agroforestry and conservation.

In this thoroughly useful book, Ken Fern shares his experiments and successes in growing herbs, vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees. Packed with information, personal anecdote and detailed appendices and indexes, this pioneering book takes gardening, conservation and ecology into a new dimension.

Forward: by Joy Larkcom.
Introduction: a brief guide to the Plants For A Future concept.

  1. The Practice: Some of the basic ideas of ecological gardening.
  2. Trees and Shrubs: A wide range on common and more unusual trees and shrubs which form the basis of a woodland garden. Many of these have edible uses.
  3. Woodland Plants: Climbing plants, bulbs and herbaceous perennials to grow in a woodland or other shady situation.
  4. The Flower Garden: Ornamental herbaceous perennials and their uses.
  5. Perennial Vegetable and Herbs: Productive herbaceous perennials.
  6. The Pond and Bog Garden: The many useful plants that can be grown in a pond or bog garden.
  7. The Edible Lawn: How to grow a more colourful lawn whilst reducing your workload and getting some food.
  8. Walls and Fences: Plants that grow in them as well as against them.
  9. Hedges, Screens and Shelterbelts: Useful plants that can give privacy, and shelter from the wind.
  10. Ground Cover: How to reduce weeding in the garden and also get extra food.
  11. A Few Annuals and Biennials: The less well known annual vegetable.
  12. The Wild or Conservation Garden: How to provide habitats for our native flora and fauna, whilst still producing food for ourselves.
  13. Further Possibilities: A look at some plants which look exciting but of which we do not yet have experience.

Appendicies: Further reading; Useful Addresses (inc. plant and seed suppliers); Plants for Specific Habitats (plants for dry soil etc.); Plant Toxins; Native Plants included in the book; Plant Uses (list of plants according to their uses).

PAGES: 320 pages + 24 pages in colour

ILLUSTRATIONS: 47 colour & 14 black and white photographs. 2 line drawings

ISBN: 1 85623 011 2

SIZE: 234 x 165mm

BINDING: Paperback

Ken Fern has always been a plant enthusiast. Over the years he has experimented with and compiled information on a huge number of useful, unusual plants. With an increasing concern for the state of agriculture and the health of our planet, he decided to 'downshift' from his job as a bus driver for London Transport in the early 1990s and move to Cornwall to establish the pioneering charity, Plants For A Future. With the help of Ken's vast experience and encyclopaedic knowledge, Plants For A Future have now been trailing over 2,000 unusual species which are edible or have other uses, with a further 7,000 compiled on their database. This is exciting and pioneering work has important implications to the way in which we look at producing food, both in our gardens and agriculturally.
Ken Fern is and unusual, colourful and intelligent character. He is available for interview and the writing of articles.

Permanent Publications are a small, country based cottage industry dedicated to promoting practical ways in which we can all live more in harmony with our environment. They publish books about permaculture and also the quarterly 'Permaculture Magazine - Ecological Solutions For Everyday Living', a leading environmental publication which is rapidly gaining respect and readers in Britain and throughout the world. The also produce the 'Earth Repair Catalogue' containing over 250 books and videos on permaculture and other practical ecological subjects (now also available on the World Wide Web, see overleaf for address).
They believe that many of the solutions for our environmental problems already exist and their publishing efforts are simply to make this information generally available.

How To Get The Book

You can get the book direct from the publisher:

Permanent Publications,
Hyden House Ltd., Little Hyden Lane,
Clanfield, Hampshire PO8 0RU, England
Tel: 0845 458 4150 (local rate) / 01703 823 311
Email: [email protected]
WWW: www.permaculture.co.uk
Prices (inc. p&p) are: £19.00 UK, £21.85 Europe airmail, £21.85 Rest of World Surface, £25.65 Rest of World Airmail.
Payment by VISA/MASTERCARD credit card (please state name, address, card no and expiry date), an international money order drawn on a UK bank or transfer the sterling amount directly into Permanent Publications' bank.

Also available from:

Eco-Logic books. In the UK.
The US distributor of the Book is:

Rodale Institute BookStore
611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530
Tel: (800) 832 6285
Fax: (610) 683 8448
Web: http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/store/

In New Zealand you can get the book from Touchwood books

In germany its available from: Die Permakultur Akademie, Jascha Rohr (Dip.Perm.Des.), Birkenallee 35, 26197 Huntlosen. Tel: 04487/999690, [email protected] oder Fax: 03901-82942 www.permakultur-akademie.de.

You can also order this book online from The Internet Bookshop and all good bookstores.




Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More



© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.