So if the first book was a beginner's guide, the next book, "Gaia's Garden - a guide to home-scale permaculture", by Toby Hemenway, is more of an advanced gardening manual. I bought this book as part of a kind of an internet book club permaculture discussion, which I really enjoyed, although not many of the group stayed to the end of the book. This book focuses on edible gardens, with chapters on soil, water and design. I got really excited when I got to the chapters on plant combinations. In permaculture, these are known as guilds. I've never quite understood guilds until I read this book. It has three chapters on guilds, and that was enough for me to finally figure out what they are and how I might use them in our food forest. If you're interested in permaculture for a garden or small property, this book is a good start and written in accessible language to make quite complex permaculture concepts easy to understand. If you're curious about guilds now, this is also a good reference.
The third book is The Wilderness Garden, by Australian author Jackie French. The guilds described in Gaia's Garden were all north American and I wasn't exactly sure how to apply the concept in Australian conditions, so I thought that this book might give me an Australian perspective Jackie French never mentions permaculture, but I think her gardening (and chicken) philosophy is very close to permaculture, even if she doesn't call it that. She begins the book with the words "This is a book about ideas - about how to set up a garden that will look after itself", which is of course the aim of a permaculture design too. This book doesn't actually talk about guilds as such, but it has so many other good ideas for choosing plants, it didn't really matter. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on fire-resistant plants, given the amount of trees on our property, our house is rather vulnerable and Jackie gives plenty of ideas for fire-proofing the house yard. Towards the end of the book she also lists vegetables that she grows in her garden and includes some unusual ones that you might not see elsewhere.
What's your most useful garden book?