By Brie Arthur, published by St. Lynn’s Press, 2017, 189 pages, $21.95
Book review by N. R. Mallery
’Tis the season for gardening. You may have noticed that some people have been growing a few veggies in with flowers in the past couple of years. Perhaps you have even started to do this yourself as have I. This is not just the newest gardening trend, but is practical and an easy way to save time in our busy lives – yet still be able to enjoy nutritious home-grown organic food for you and your family.
The author, Brie Arthur has taken landscaping to a new level of functionality – in a way that even condominium and apartment rental associations would approve of. Many of us love to have our hands in the dirt and many do not – perhaps just for lack of time, but who does not enjoy eating fresh-picked vegetables for a summer salad or peas, carrots, or broccoli to add to a stir-fry? The taste and nutritional value is priceless. And it doesn’t get any more local.
Brie Arthur has been called the #1 expert in North America on the newest gardening trend of growing ornamental and edible plants together. And in The Foodscape Revolution, she shares valuable tips and how-to’s, including designing, assessing and improving the current landscaping currently being used for non-edible plants, shrubs and trees.
Once the framework is thought out, she basically says to “just add edibles.” In chapter three, she calls it “getting to the good stuff: planting veggies, herbs, fruit, nuts and grains!” She claims that “almost every type of edible can find a home in the landscape somewhere.”
The expert information on knowing where to do this is clearly laid out, along with companion planting, what works best where and planting the right plant at the right time.
Photos show sweet corn adorning the edge of a lawn as an edible meadow during the summer with corn, sorghum, sunflowers and zinnias – all thriving at the edge of a lawn. Basil makes a great edible border. Hydrangeas provide a sturdy support for large tomato plants and peppers feel right at home in a mixed border of flowers, shrubs and vines. Other beds incorporate lettuces, tomato, eggplant, dill, kale, sunflowers and even ground cover from arugula or pumpkins.
Brie shares growing tips for nearly all veggies and herbs, as well as fruits, nuts and grains. From planting to care and harvest, she covers it all – even if you have no yard – and shows how this is not a problem. So the book really explains all you need to know to go from a yard full of food to table, freezer or cupboard shelf. This is a great book to help on our path towards sustainability – an easier way to grow your own food.
St. Lynn’s Press is a new discovery for me. A couple of books that I also have and recommend for the upcoming gardening season are: The Spirit of Stone by Jan Johnsen, with 101 practical and creative stone-scaping ideas for your garden; and The Right-Size Flower Garden by garden expert Kerry Ann Mendez – simplify your outdoor space with smart design solutions and plant choices – to save space, time and energy. This publisher also offers many, many books that will be invaluable as we face a changing world and a changing climate.