Ros, a friend and fellow member of the Garden Writers Association, coined the now-ubiquitous term “edible landscaping” in 1982 when she published her first book on the subject. Thirty years ago, putting swiss chard and tomatoes with the roses in a front yard was considered radical. Now even the White House is doing it.
Package her new book (currently $26.37 at Amazon) with a high-quality trowel or my favorite transplant shovel from Radius Tools ($29.99 at Amazon, and no, I don’t get anything for recommending these!) for a wonderful Christmas gift.
Many of us are adding edibles to our yards for the first time. Ros gives valuable information for experienced gardeners and for beginners. In the chapter devoted to “Designing with Vegetables” she recommends starting small with a 9-foot by 3-foot pine tomato box. A friend of hers in Pennsylvania grew three tomatoes (Ros says there’s room for 8 plants): a cherry, ‘Celebrity’ and ‘Early Girl’ that yielded 67.5 pounds in one season.
Luscious photographs show how veggies can be as gorgeous as flowers.You don’t need a lot of space; pages 172-173 show the design for Ros’ front-yard edible patio garden in California packed with sesame, edamame, basil, strawberries, peppers, and more. The patio holds nine permanent wine barrel containers and a few permanent beds with a blackberry vine, climbing rose, and annual vines and flowers. She changes the contents of other large decorative containers every year.
Common-sense design techniques pepper the book. For example, she mentions that so many large homes with large lawns have such tiny garden beds that are out of scale with their surroundings.
“When you create planting beds, whether they are edible or not, make them sizeable, and do it proudly and with the exuberance necessary to create a sense of place,” she writes.
Thanks, Ros, for yours.