"The Edible Garden. How to have your garden and eat it, too", by Alys Fowler. This book from Viva Publications was recently published here in The U.S. after it's initial debut in The U.K. I can’t remember when I had first heard about Alys Fowler, but I am sure it was while surfing the web following a link. I don’ typically buy books concerning gardening, as there are so few that I really enjoy. It seems I do things a bit differently than most in that I find myself fascinated with the people and their ideas first, then find out about their works. Having been involved in the garden trades for over 30 years, I have become a bit jaded with the gardening publications offered these days. If someone interests me I will check out their blog to see what’s going on today. Alys blog is interesting. Check out her latest post, “One Bee and Me”.
Her book “The Edible Garden” is divided into three parts, Things to Know, Things to Grow, and Reaping Your Harvest.
“Things to Know” sets the stage with discussions on soil types, mixing edibles with ornamental plants, foraging outside of one’s garden, composting, green manures, and some other basics, and not so basics. I am not sure when I have read a book that promotes foraging as a supplement to ones garden. She cautions, “Don’t forage in Scientific, Interest and National Nature Reserves without the express permission of Natural England”.
“Things to Grow” discusses designing the garden using plants we are familiar with, as well as some which are more exotic, at least to me. Oraches, tree spinach, Oriental greens, salsola, landcress, and what she describes as “other curiosities”. Tomatoes and other more well know vegetables are mentioned, too. It’s not so much a list of varieties as an inspiration to try growing something different than the "same old same old". Fruit trees and berries are also discussed, as well as an entire section on flowers, some edible, and some for show. There is also a short section devoted to flower bouquets. Let’s hope this catches on as the growing of, and giving of flower bouquets is a dying practice.
“Reaping Your Harvest” is concerned with how to prepare and enjoy what we have grown. Jams and jellies, pickles, and chutney, as well as how to preserve, or cook with your harvest. Included is some of her favorite recipes for lavender biscuits, raspberry jam ice-cream, and courgette cake. To round out the book the third section is devoted to homemade fruit liqueurs, and cocktails.
This is not a coffee table book thanks goodness, but it is filled with great photography and drawings of both Alys, her garden, and creations. With a slightly urban focus it would make a great gift for up and coming gardeners. Even somewhat jaded gardeners like me will get to view the garden, and gardening as Alys sees it. It is a welcome change, and has inspired me to try a few of her ideas and recipes.
I received a copy of The Edible Garden Book for review purpose. This in no way affected my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.