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Edible Landscaping

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Since Rosalind Creasy popularized the concept of landscaping with edibles a quarter-century ago, interest in eating healthy, fresh, locally grown foods has swept across the nation. More and more Americans are looking to grow clean, delicious produce at home, saving money and natural resources at the same time. And food plants have been freed from the backyard, gracing the finest landscapes—even the White House grounds!

Creasy’s expertise on edibles and how to incorporate them in beautifully designed outdoor environments was first showcased in the original edition of Edible Landscaping (Sierra Club Books, 1982), hailed by gardeners everywhere as a groundbreaking classic. Now this highly anticipated new edition presents the latest design and how-to information in a glorious full-color format, featuring more than 300 inspiring photographs.

Drawing on the author’s decades of research and experience, the book presents everything you need to know to create an inviting home landscape that will yield mouthwatering vegetables, fruits, nuts, and berries. The comprehensive Encyclopedia of Edibles—a book in itself—provides horticultural information, culinary uses, sources, and recommended varieties; and appendices cover the basics of planting and maintenance, and of controlling pests and diseases using organic and environmentally friendly practices.

384 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2010

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About the author

Rosalind Creasy

41 books19 followers
Rosalind Creasy is a garden and food writer, photographer, landscape designer, lecturer and consultant. She is the author of several books, including The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping, Cooking From the Garden, Edible Gardening, The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping and Edible Landscaping. Her writing has also appeared in national publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Gardening How-To, where she writes regular columns, and Garden Design.

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5 stars
248 (43%)
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209 (36%)
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90 (15%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Veronica.
91 reviews19 followers
February 21, 2011
OK, I think I have read this book 20 times since it came out in November. This is a must have for anyone wanting to garden, thinking about gardening or you just want to slobber over Rosalind's beautiful edible yard and photos of vegetable gardens. More than that, she provides all of her years of experience in this book with great ideas, tips and how adding pots of herbs and veggies can get you started. This is an excellent book to add to your gardening trove and one you will be visiting often.
Profile Image for Amy.
3,501 reviews79 followers
June 20, 2011
Very interesting! I learned a lot about what's edible and what's not, what works well in small spaces (even containers) and what works best if you let it spread!

There are sections in the back that that talk about each plant detailing the effort it takes to grow, what zones the plant grows best in, a thumbnail description of the plant, how to use (in the kitchen, in the landscape), how to grow (climate, exposure & soil, fertilizing, watering, pruning, pests & diseases, and harvesting). There is also a heading for "How to Purchase" and information on pollinizers, other varieties and other species.

Towards the end there are encyclopedic reference charts that provide basic info. for the plants discussed in this book.
Profile Image for Kristal.
511 reviews10 followers
March 7, 2016
In an effort to grow our own food, I quickly became interested in the concept of edible landscaping. And after reading a few other books on the subject, this one seems to be the bible of the subject. Jammed packed with everything from how the concept was started, where to buy what you need to get started, mouth-watering photographs and so much useful information that you will need several readings to absorb it all. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn how to create a garden of Eden in their own backyard.
Profile Image for Nathan Albright.
4,422 reviews101 followers
July 6, 2019
When the author first wrote about edible gardening, it was apparently a rare idea for people who were interested in gardening to think about eating what one grew.  I must admit that while I am no master gardener myself, I grew up in a farming family and the thought of food was never far from our mind when it came to what we grew, even if we were feeding cows and other animals.  It seems a bit surprising to me that growing food in one's garden would be unusual, because my primary interest when it comes to growing plants is either to feed myself or something else, although preferably not nematodes or slugs or aphids or something of that nature.  While I found much in this book to enjoy, I did not think that this book was really as daring or unusual as the author seemed to think, although maybe my own focus on gardening as as adjunct of one's logistical planning is something that is unusual when compared to others.  I have no way of knowing how common it is for people to think about their food supply when it comes to their gardening, but I suspect it is not uncommon.

This particular book is about 400 pages long or so and contains plenty of pictures, but more text than one might expect for a book of this kind.  After acknowledgments and an introduction, the author discusses the change of landscaping over time (1) as well as how one lays the groundwork for a good garden (2).  then the author talks about how one creates a landscape plan (3) and deals with design basics (4).  There is also a discussion by the author of how to design  garden with herbs (5), vegetables (6), fruits, berries, and nuts (7), and how to design for small spaces (8).  The author then spends a great deal of time, more than 100 pages in fact, providing an encyclopedia of edibles from almond to wheat, including a wide variety of plants within that, herbs, fruits, as well as vegetables.  After that the author has four appendices that include a big list of edible plants (A), edible plants for the small garden (B), planting and maintenance (C), and pests and diseases (D).  This is followed by sources and resources for the reader as well as a bibliography, index, and some information about the author.

This is a very good book, and certainly a very informative one.  The author even spends some time talking about ornamental plants that are not themselves edible, although most of the book is focused on plants that can be used in one's kitchen.  I must admit that I would not think of wheat as an obvious garden plant, but making one's own bread from one's own wheat sounds like a winning plan.  In general, this book offers  great deal of insight into the sort of plants that can be considered edible and how they can be grown depending on one's garden and its size.  And although not all of these foods are ones I would care to eat myself, this book did inspire at least some ideas as to the sorts of foods I would like to grow someday in a garden so that I could maximize my own eating from the garden.  To be sure, I am not unfamiliar with edible gardens, as I once worked quite a few hours on some edible gardens that included rice and vegetables in Thailand.  Obviously, though, my own would be a bit more modest than that, and hopefully it would do a better job at providing a consistent amount of food.
Profile Image for Carolyn Page.
1,432 reviews29 followers
January 26, 2019
One of the reasons I liked this book so much is because of its very concept. Edible gardens are usually arranged in strictly regimented rows, or if they're herbs, perhaps a formal four-square with an ornamental something in the middle. This book covers the history of gardens briefly, and presents itself as a re-joining of the practical and the ornamental.

Also, I liked how comprehensive this book is. Besides the many photographs and profiles of various edible landscapes, the practicalities are considered and addressed. The latter part of the book is entirely devoted to an encyclopedia of edible plants and several appendices. I'll be sure to look back at this when I plan a garden!
Profile Image for Mardel Fehrenbach.
331 reviews7 followers
August 20, 2019
I've owned this book a long time and although I had long had a vegetable garden, at the time I bought the book and first read it I was entering a fallow period. At that time my reading was more about imaginary garden. It was a joy to rediscover this book as I unpacked my gardening books following a move because it is filled with information and inspiration for my new garden. It was pretty easy, design wise, to have a separate fenced vegetable garden, apart from the rest of my yard but that is not a possibility now in this new home. The book has really helped me refine my ideas, and it is full of useful bits that will help as my garden evolves.
April 7, 2020
I loved the original edition and kept it out far too long from our local library until my dearest gifted me the new edition, and I’ve since continued to devour it repeatedly. Such a beautiful, well organized, practical resource for gardening enthusiasts. I practically fall asleep with this tucked under my pillow!
9 reviews
March 11, 2019
Excellent guide. The detailed index of plants is especially helpful.
Profile Image for Rachel.
405 reviews62 followers
June 2, 2019
I'm on a gardening book kick, and this is the best so far. So thorough and handy, with great photos and everything you actually want to know about all the plants, and more. Inspiring!
Profile Image for Debbie.
803 reviews
November 20, 2020
Lots of great and practical ideas for growing plants. Diagrams, lists, photos. Very complete info.
Profile Image for Jacquie.
63 reviews
March 9, 2021
An amazing book. Very thorough with lots of great pictures for inspiration. A great reference book that I’ll surely be buying soon!
231 reviews
July 15, 2021
I liked that she was from a cooler climate. More helpful advice for someone in zone 6.
Profile Image for Laura Weldon.
Author 10 books27 followers
May 30, 2019
Adore this book and consider it a classic. However I am troubled that the author repeatedly recommends non-native and invasive species without even a passing mention of the problems caused by planting them.
Profile Image for Susan Tweit.
43 reviews14 followers
December 13, 2015
I think I wore out the 1982 edition of Rosalind Creasy's Edible Landscaping, which revolutionized my thinking about garden design: Rhubarb as an accent in perennial beds? Tulips poking up through lettuce? Strawberries edging front walks? Why not? No reason, really, except that I had grown up, as most gardeners do, segregating food plants in the working garden and never imagining they had a place in the decorative garden, much less that the decorative garden could be edible.

While the original Edible Landscaping was inspiring; the new version goes all out. It's a gorgeous volume packed with lush photos that'll have your mouth watering and your fingers itching to re-design your entire garden. Whether you have space for a just few pots of edibles or you can rip out your lawn and plant an entire yard full of delicious and beautiful vegetables, fruits and herbs, Creasy's book shows the way.

After telling the story of how she ripped out her sterile front lawn and replaced it with a glorious and ever-changing landscape of edibles, Creasy guides readers through a short course in landscaping, followed by a complete encyclopedia of edible plants, from almonds to yams. Separate chapters detail how to design with herbs, vegetables, and fruits, berries, and nuts.

There's even a chapter on designing for small spaces, as well as appendices covering container gardens, planting and maintenance, and strategies for dealing with pests and diseases. The book is chock-full of examples of edible landscapes on both coasts and in the Midwest, plus an abundance of color photos, providing a feast of visual information as well.

My one disappointment: Creasy gardens in coastal California, where pretty much every plant grows exuberantly (hence the state's terrible problem with introduced invasive plants, but that's another story). For those of us who garden in unfriendly climates, whether the summer heat of Texas, the serious extended droughts of the desert Southwest, or the severe cold of northern climates, the book may seem a mite optimistic.

Still, Creasy's writing and passion for landscaping that feeds heart, soul, and belly won't fail to inspire, and inspiration goes a long way to overcome difficult gardening conditions.

This (relatively) new edition of Edible Landscaping is a must-read, a delicious call to re-envision our outdoor domestic spaces as both beautiful and bountiful.

The full review is online here: http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org...
247 reviews3 followers
August 3, 2016
This is a solid book. I've read a number of other edible landscaping books now, and most of them have been severely disappointing -- a few pretty pictures and little substance. Here, finally, at last, I had a useful tome.

The pictures here are lovely, of course, but the best thing about this book is after reading Creasy's accompanying text, I feel like I understand how these gardens were put together, and how to apply those principles to my yard. The book does lean toward formal landscaping (as opposed to naturalistic). After two hundred pages of history, soil considerations, and design thoughts, there's a massive encyclopedia of edible plants, with information on how to eat it, how to use it in the landscape, how to grow it, and places to purchase.

She follows this up with "The Big List of Edible Plants", which is not as detailed as the Encyclopedia, but has an enormous number of edible plants laid out neatly in charts. Creasy says, "For years I searched for a list that would systematically cover just about all the edible plants I could possibly put in a landscape. Since I never found one, I compiled this information for my own use. The following chart is the distillation of nearly three decades of my experience working with these plants, seeing them in landscapes and trial gardens throughout my travels, and doing extensive research on them."

Rosalind Creasy knows her stuff, loves gardening, and can communicate all that in clear and effective ways. This is a gardening book worth pouring over.
Profile Image for Stacy.
460 reviews25 followers
July 27, 2011
The must-have reference book for those interested in edible landscaping. Creasy begins by sharing her story of having too shady a backyard to grow a vegetable or herb garden, so she decided to demolish her front lawn and come up with a landscape using plants that are both edible and attractive.

Her career as a landscaper took off from there and she has now designed edible landscapes all over the US. She points out the irony of useless lawns, and the habit of many homeowners throwing away leaves and clippings instead of letting them enrich the soil. (No wonder our lawns must be pumped full of fertilizers to stay healthy.)

The book has an encyclopedia of edibles, each given a ranking as to difficulty to grow. There are many that never would have crossed my mind to try to cultivate (water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and many of the lesser known shrubs come to mind). Also helpful is the gallery of finished landscapes that the author has completed, including examples from a variety of different climates. She shares a ton of useful garden information for beginners, like how to make your own compost.

No matter where you live, this book will help you start developing a more healthy ecosystem in your yard.
Profile Image for Audrey.
193 reviews
November 8, 2016
This book focuses on keeping an edible landscape aesthetically appealing more than maximizing food production. I have read a few other books on the subject and this was by far the most thorough. It isn't a beginning gardening book, but if you know your way around a hoe you should be good.

Pros: An in-depth look at edible gardening. An Appendix with plant RATINGS on how easy they are to grow based on the amount of maintenance they need, and such. Information about some unusual fruit and vegetable varieties for the garden. Generally good landscaping tips and ideas. Lots and lots of color pictures. Many references to other resources and books for ideas.

Cons: Written from a California climate perspective. (Got enthusiastic about a couple plants only to find they won't grow in my zone.) A full-time gardening endeavor if you expect aesthetics to be important. Nothing much about harvesting or using what you grow, food value or flavor. Might be good if there was a flavor comparison for some of the more ornamental varieties that are suggested compared to the less ornamental ones that are typical.
Profile Image for Cristina.
88 reviews4 followers
April 9, 2012
Having checked the original version of this book (written 30 years ago) from the library multiple times, I was excited to hear that an updated version was being published. Roz Creasy knows her stuff. Unlike some veggie gardening books, she makes a point of discussing design. She has nice photos of other edible landscapes for inspiration and includes plan views of several gardens to give you a feel of how things are laid out.

I love that for each plant she includes sections on how to use it in the kitchen and the landscape. She also lists cultivars to try. I also love the effort scale for each plant. Plants may be low-maintenance but they're not *no-maintenance*. The big plant chart in the back is nice for getting quick info without flipping through the whole book.

If you haven't read her other books, they are worthwhile. I thought the info in her book about growing/cooking with peppers was particularly interesting but may be out of print.
Profile Image for Kristina Seleshanko.
Author 21 books16 followers
June 19, 2014
Once you understand the concept of edible landscaping - simply planting edibles in among ornamentals in your landscape - you might think a whole book about the topic is really a waste of paper. But Creasy proves that idea false in this classic gardening book. Not only does the book contain a large section devoted to plants suitable for suburban and urban edible landscaping - including many varieties you might not have heard of, but which are smaller and well adapted to edible landscaping - but it also contains all kinds of good gardening information, including: landscaping advice (with a special emphasis on making edibles look well in the garden), ideas on how to prepare soil (by the double digging method), and ideas on how to combat pests and diseases organically. Well worth the read.
50 reviews
May 12, 2016
Pioneer of edible landscaping, Rosalind has a ton of good ideas and great pictures to help you plan your own landscape. We are destroying our earth, and need to start taking it back. Farmland wastes top soil, water, and costs too much in terms of subsidies, chemical application, oil-based fertilizers, etc. There are more small residential lots than farm acres. We can curb our destructive habits as humans by producing more food by our homes. This would take less chemicals, less gas for transportation, better-tasting food, and better nutrients in our food. Plus, it doesn't have to look awful--Rosalind will show you how.
94 reviews
October 19, 2016
There is a lot of information found in this book. The author discusses how to prep the soil, how to make a plan and design your yard and then she goes into detail on how to grow different types of plants. She also goes into detail so that you can be successful with your yard. For example, she informs you on pests and diseases to be aware of, what zones the plants grow in, how to use them, how to grow them, how to harvest, and where to buy them. I'm impressed with the amount of information she included for each plant variety. It is very helpful.
Profile Image for Janie.
542 reviews12 followers
April 21, 2014
I think my expectations might have been too elevated. I heard this is the one true book for anyone wanting to rely on any amount of land for any sort of food production.

The gardens are very pretty, and the appendices are somewhat useful.

I can't figure out who it's for. Maybe I don't know enough to make use of it; maybe I knew too much to find it enlightening. I wouldn't recommend it as a resource for harvest, zones, guilds or companion planting, perennials, annuals, or general design.
Profile Image for Holly.
337 reviews4 followers
January 19, 2015
This book was a little too thick for my liking. What I wanted was a photo of plot and then a breakdown of the zone where this arrangement would work, materials, cost, time to complete, and instructions. There were a few of these projects scattered throughout the book, but I wanted a book of projects. On the plus side, I'm feeling pretty motivated to start composting and if nothing else, I think the author would appreciate that she motivated me to do that.
Profile Image for Manintheboat.
453 reviews4 followers
December 31, 2011
Beautiful! So many garden books are remiss in covering multiple climates. She covers most of the US and provides helpful plans.
The list of suppliers in the back had some places I've never heard of. Covers basic plants and I learned about new plants.
A perfect gardening book. One of the best I've ever read.
Profile Image for Blakely.
207 reviews5 followers
June 24, 2011
This book is awesome! Anyone who would like to incorporate more fruits or vegetables into their yard, but do so in an attractive manner should read this. I originally got this book from the library but I like it so much I plan on purchasing it (and I very rarely buy books).
Profile Image for Catherine.
987 reviews17 followers
February 18, 2012
An unbelievable amount of useful information packed into one book. Covers all types of edibles, where to buy, how to plant, care for, and harvest them. Oh, and how to design your landscape so that everything works together and looks great. Is it spring yet?
Profile Image for Deodand.
1,218 reviews21 followers
February 16, 2014
Like other books if it's kind, this one suffers occasionally from too many aspirational photos of millionaires' yards. It also contains the most helpful advice on the subject of gardening for aesthetics and harvest. So, I liked it for its practical side.
Profile Image for Andrea.
450 reviews21 followers
March 5, 2016
While it's nice to see a book devoted to growing edibles in a pretty way, this book has almost nothing about how to achieve that goal. Only a couple of planting guide points and almost nothing about an integrated landscape.
Profile Image for Angela.
Author 1 book5 followers
August 25, 2014
So completely inspiring. My favorite gardening book ever. This is what I am trying to do with my yard. The plant encyclopedia is huge and varied, but I still recommend trying to find recommendations that are very specific and local for your region, especially for fruit trees.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews

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