PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.
I ordered two books on designing with edible plants This one... and one called Eat Your Yard by Nan Chase. This one is far superior to the Chase book IMO. Ivette Soler has produced a comprehensive book addressing all aspects of designing an edible landscape. She discusses the decision to plant this way and how it might fit in to your neighbors' idea of "beauty" and the style of your house as well as your growing environment. She thoroughly discusses hundreds of plants and their growing requirements, appearance for a front yard and regional considerations.
She acknowledges that most edibles are annuals and most fruit trees are not evergreen and lists what she calls "helper" or companion plants to provide a structure for your landscape during the non-edibles season. The chapter on design principles discusses use of plant forms, design principles such as repetition, texture, color, rhythm, balance, symmetry...all with an eye to making growing edibles attractive. She introduces me to the idea that making it attractive can inspire more people to grow their own food, something I would like to see happen.
The design primer is followed by photos and drawings of various landscape plans that could be used to inform your own ideas for various spaces like side yards, front yards, etc. I did not find this very useful but others might.
What I did find interesting is how to do a thorough assessment of your yard before you begin... to determine what is possible and what is not. There are always existing structures, that may limit food production like too much shade, building codes, digging prohibitions, homeowners associations. A chapter on how to remove obstacles shows an easy way to remove sod, for example... all to do before you make a plant wish list. She reminds us to reuse all of what we already have that is possible and recycle what we cant use or donate it.
She finishes with a chapter on hardscapes like paths, wooden structures and irrigation solutions and a chapter on maintenance, harvest, preservation methods, clean up and cover crops.
This is a very thorough book on this subject and I will probably keep it handy for years as I continue to de lawn and grow a more useful and environmentally pleasing garden. Bought on Amazon.