Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: The Edible Front Yard

SUMMARY: The Edible Front Yard helps you combine the loveliest and tastiest edibles and ornamentals in a garden that is a year-round feast for the eyes. Ivette Soler teaches all the tricks, from laying out the design and choosing the best front yard plants, to clear instruction for a bounty of exciting projects like a fragrant carpet of herbs, a trellis privacy screen using runner beans, and an eye-catching raised bed that turns the hellstrip into a little patch of paradise. From the curb right up to your front door, the information in these pages includes everything you need to have a beautiful front yard and eat it too!
THE FARMER'S REVIEW: This is a gorgeous book! Ivette Soler has created a beautifully photographed, designed and written book about gardening that is suited to planning a home garden using any space around your home. We’ve always assumed that a garden of edibles belongs in the back yard only. After all, the tomatoes get leggy, the melons decide to move three states away on their stringy vines, and vegetable plants aren’t as decorative as flowers and shrubs. Or are they?
Ms. Soler not only suggests what plants are so beautiful you won’t want to plant them where the neighbors can’t see them but she suggests how to plant them, what kind of hardscape will best contain them, and then she offers instructions for how to build the retaining walls, walkways, trellises and other landscaping features.
If you are the handy sort, this book is the only instruction manual you need to create the most beautiful and functional front yard in your subdivision, neighborhood or area. If you would rather hire help to lay the pavers, build the structures and create your new curb appeal, this is the book to go over with your contractor so there is no misunderstanding about exactly the result you want to achieve.
I became interested in growing edible plants in the front yard the year I planted artichokes. My eyes popped as these vegetable plants grew into the most amazing foliage, flowers and ultimately delicious buds ever seen. I had the same experience with the asparagus beds: soft, fern-like growth that is a lovely background for other, smaller plantings. So, I planted some in the front beds, but just in clumps here and there.
Then I found Ms. Soler’s amazing book and realized that with a strategy, design and deliberate organization I could have a mind-blowing garden that would not only be seen as beautiful but upon closer inspection, provide food for me, my family and friends. It will take some initial work as well as a maintenance plan. The hardscape will not be cheap, but with a written scheme I can do what I can afford this year and add a little more as time and money allow. I am so excited!
Whether you are planning a garden for the front yard, a small plot in a corner of your backyard, or even on the balcony of your apartment, The Edible Front Yard is the reference book for you. Wait. It is not only an encyclopedia of landscape design, it is a book that is so pretty you will want to keep it out on your coffee table as I do. And if all you grow is grass, trees and a few shrubs, please, please get this book and get out of your rut! You won’t be able to resist planting just one pineapple guava shrub and when you see how pretty and useful that is, another fantastic fruit or vegetable plant that will be a treat for the eyes and your table.
The Suburban Farmer awards The Edible Front Yard 5 broccoli stalks and a MUST BUY!

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