Abundant and Beautiful
review by Cheryl Angelina Koehler
The Beautiful Edible Garden
By Stefani Bittner and Leslie Bennett
Ten Speed Press, February 2013
You took the “eat local” idea completely to heart, starting a food production garden in your own yard. But it didn’t quite work out as you envisioned. Instead of a lush bed of perky salad greens and grapes tumbling from a trellis, you’re now looking out on leggy, withering tomato plants, kale wearing a sickly grey cloak of aphids, and peppermint growing literally everywhere. And really, what is a person to do with that much zucchini?
“Folks will spend $400 at a nursery on annual vegetables, plant them all at once, have food for 100 for a few good weeks and then nothing,” says Lafayette resident Stefani Bittner, who with Leslie Bennett of Oakland runs Star Apple Edible & Fine Gardening. Their East Bay–based landscaping company has a great reputation for turning ho-hum yards into beautiful year-round tapestries of edibles and ornamentals.
Now, the best advice from this design duo has been folded into a book that provides a good primer for making your vegetable garden as beautiful as it is productive. The Beautiful Edible Garden focuses on how to implement simple principles of basic garden design for success at both growing the food you want for your table and enjoying the aesthetic pleasures of bringing it there.
With illustrations from local gardens shot by Oakland-based photographer David Fenton, the book is truly a visual treat.
Inspiring sidebars by the floral-design pros at Studio Choo in San Francisco describe how to make your edible garden part of your indoor aesthetic.
Photo and book cover courtesy of Ten Speed Press