Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What I've Been Reading: "The Beautiful Edible Garden" by Bennett and Bittner

You may notice a theme in the books I’ve been reading lately: the new-to-me world of edible landscape design! I’m still planning to tear up some lawn and install some hardscaping this fall, so I’m trying to learn everything I can about design theory before I take a shovel to the turf. 

The Beautiful Edible Garden by Leslie Bennett and Stefani Bittner, which I finished today, has been a good resource in my learning journey. This book focused a lot on the theory of design: how to use balance, focal points, color/texture contrast, and unified style to create the most attractive arrangement of plants possible. There were different chapters for front yards, backyards, and side yards/patios, as well as general chapters about the practical care and maintenance of an edible-ornamental mix of plants. They also gave ample suggestions for plant groupings and arrangements, although these suggestions were often California-centric (I often found myself saying, “Yes I would love to grow a Meyer lemon tree and a rosemary hedge, but that’s just not happening in Zone 5!”). Overall, though, I feel like I learned a lot about the principals of landscape design. The writing is clear, engaging, and informative, and the photos showed lush examples of how a good design works out in practice. 

In short, if you’re looking to include more edible landscaping in your yard, whether front of back, definitely check out this book (as well as this one; the books complement each other). It’s helpful and fun to read, another stepping stone on the journey to an edible garden that will please both you and the neighbors.


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