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The Beautiful Edible Garden


Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs

By Leslie Bennett, Stefani Bittner
Ten Speed Press
Feb, 2013

Leslie Bennett And Stefani Bittner are co-founders of Star Apple Edible + Fine Gardening, a San Francisco Bay Area landscape design firm focusing on aesthetic edible gardening. At Star Apple, they bring together ecologically sound landscape design principles and small-scale urban agriculture, working with both ornamental and edible plants to create integrated landscapes.

From the Introduction:

This is a book about edible garden design. It is also a heartfelt invitation to join us in the practice of gardening. For us, gardening is a way to connect with the land, our community, and, perhaps most importantly, ourselves. It is also an opportunity to create and to be inspired. When you pursue food production and beauty together, you form meaningful spaces that have the power to both ground and uplift.

This book features ideas and projects that we have developed as Star Apple Edible + Fine Gardening, our San Francisco Bay Area–based edible landscape design service. Our approach is to redefine the plant palette to utilize edible and ornamental plants throughout your garden in a way that is both beautiful and productive. You can put this information to use in creating a space that includes vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and other ornamental plants. We outline how to start, providing design principles and step-by-step guidance for a range of spaces, from front yards and backyards to smaller areas like decks, porches, and side yards, and even container gardens and window boxes.

We recommend that you read the first two chapters thoroughly and then refer back to them as needed as you work through your garden design. If you want to start with designing a garden for the backyard or a narrow side yard instead of the front yard, it’s fine to jump between chapters three, four, and five according to your needs. Use chapter six as a reference in planting and maintaining your edible garden throughout the year.

For further inspiration, we’ve included photographs and sidebars throughout the book from our book partners, Jill Rizzo, Alethea Harampolis, and David Fenton. Photographers David and Jill capture the simple, intangible beauty of the garden and its harvests. At their floral design business, Studio Choo, Jill and Alethea highlight the beauty of the natural world in unexpected floral designs. Their sidebars include instructions for simple ways to utilize edible and ornamental plants from your garden as creative arrangements in your home.

This book is meant to provide general concepts for designing a garden that incorporates edible plants, so we do not include sowing times or specific vegetable- or fruit-planting guidelines because these differ depending upon the climate zone you live in. Instead, we encourage you to use this book along with a vegetable- and fruit-growing guide that covers those specifics. Where we can, we offer multiple plant choices to fit most climate conditions and garden styles so that you can select plants from our suggestions as well as search for other plants on your own.

Once your eyes are open to this new way of thinking about edible plants, you’ll start to see the potential for beauty and food production everywhere you look. Most important, have fun and enjoy the transformation that is about to take place in your garden.

See the book here.

Visit Star Apple here.