Book Review: A Knead To Read

Sit down with a book when it's too hot to cook

A Knead To Read

Edible Landscaping

by Rosalind Creasy
Sierra Club/Counterpoint, 384 pp., $39.95

Rosalind Creasy is not a newbie writer jumping on the edible gardening bandwagon: The original edition of her Edible Landscaping was published in 1982 and is considered a groundbreaking classic by gardening experts. Published in 2010, the new edition is improved and updated to include modern design and how-to information, and it's an excellent resource for those of us who want to include more edibles in our landscapes. I have gardened for many years but have always been very traditional in my approach: the herb bed here, the veggies here, ornamental flowers and shrubs here, trees there. After reading through Creasy's pages and looking at the hundreds of color photographs, I am chock-full of new ideas for my garden.

Creasy starts by laying the groundwork with a history lesson on landscaping. Later, she explains in detail how to build the soil, save energy, conserve water, use recycled products, keep the garden properly (and organically) fed and disease-free, and how to use the climate to your advantage. Although she gardens in Northern California, where the climate and species of plants that grow well are different from ours, we don't have to use her exact formula to the letter. I may not be able to grow those gorgeous, hardy kiwi vines on an arbor here, but a thornless variety of blackberry or Blanc du Bois grape will work just fine. The chapters on designing with herbs, vegetables, and fruits offer practical ideas for tucking edibles into the landscape, no matter how big or small the space. The chapter titled "Encyclopedia of Edibles" gives horticultural information, suggested uses, and recommended varieties for dozens of plants. I've started to follow her advice: In keeping with the color theme of my perennial native bed, I added gray-leaved artichokes, which will produce showy, bright-blue flowers if the artichokes are left unpicked, and I'm also using an old steel structure to grow scarlet runner beans. This super useful and beautiful book has inspired me to look at my garden spaces as more flexible canvases, ones that can successfully be filled with a variety of plants for a variety of purposes.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
I Am a Filipino and This Is How We Cook
I Am a Filipino and This Is How We Cook

Kahron Spearman, Oct. 26, 2018

Buttermilk Graffiti
Buttermilk Graffiti

Jessi Devenyns, Oct. 26, 2018

More by Claudia Alarcón
Savory Characters
Savory Characters
Cooking up the next generation of cocktails

Feb. 6, 2015

Calling the Shots
Calling the Shots
The women defining Austin's cocktail culture

Jan. 23, 2015

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Edible Landscaping, Rosalind Creasy, gardening, Encyclopedia of Edibles

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle