How often have you paged through a beautiful, glossy-paged garden book and gone away frustrated with your own meager efforts? Spreading vistas and great banks of bedded-out tropicals may be glorious, but they're certainly not achievable in my garden. Or, most likely, in yours. Don't you wish that someone would balance those beautiful photographs with applications for home gardeners? This is exactly what the Prince of Wales and Stephanie Donaldson have done in The Elements of Organic Gardening. Although the royal gardens are of a startling scale and grandeur, with flocks of gardeners flitting to and fro, this book explains the earth-friendly approach used in managing them and gives ideas for achieving sustainability in smaller ones.

Prince Charles has been widely recognized for his deep concern for the natural world, and The Elements of Organic Gardening demonstrates how this concern manifests itself in the landscapes around his homes. Ornamentals mingle with edibles in joyous profusion, while troops of Indian Runner ducks parade through in a comic ballet. And the valuable text breaks down the principles behind these gardens' maintenance. Throughout, the book's pages are brightened with handsome photographs by renowned garden photographers Andrew Lawson and David Rowley.

Few home gardeners will be able to achieve the grand effects illustrated here, but The Elements of Organic Gardening offers practical advice on sustainability for even the smallest garden. Caleb Melchior gardens on a country estate in Perry County, Missouri.

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