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The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping: Home Landscaping with Food-Bearing Plants and Resource-Saving Techniques Paperback – June 12, 1982

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Knowledge, appealing text... [and] glowing illustrations should make readers confirmed believers in the benefits of homegrown foods... This is an unusually rewarding how-to, full of practical advice for beginning and experienced gardeners."
----- Publishers Weekly -- Review

From the Inside Flap

This hefty, feature-packed book shows how you can create beauty around your home, grow delicious healthful produce, and save money and natural resources all at the same time -- by landscaping with edible plants.  Includes a 160-page Encyclopedia of Edibles with horticultural information, landscaping and culinary uses, sources and recipes.

This timely new concept in home landscaping incorporates energy, water and soil-saving techniques with specific designs for all geographic/climatic regions of the country.

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Product Details

  • Series: Sierra Club Books Publication
  • Paperback: 394 pages
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (June 12, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871562782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871562784
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rosalind Creasy is an award-winning garden and food writer, photographer, and landscape designer with a passion for beautiful vegetables and fruits combined with the strong conviction that gardening should be an ecologically positive endeavor. Her first book, the bestselling "The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping," written in 1982, stood as the seminal book on the subject for more than 25 years. It was one of the first American landscaping books to advocate organic methods, encourage recycling, and provide alternatives to resource-wasting gardening techniques. It served to move edibles out of their former sheltered backyard existence into the prominence of the front yard. Since the book's publication, the term "edible landscaping" has become part of horticultural, architectural, and common jargon.

An accomplished photographer, Ros was among the first to photograph the then-unknown heirloom tomatoes and melons, blue potatoes and corn, mesclun salad greens, and edible flowers. She popularized these and other outstanding, but little-known vegetables, in her 1988 book "Cooking From the Garden." Once again her writing broke new ground, introducing the American public to a vast new palette (and palate) of vegetables like candy cane striped 'Chioggia' beets; purple, red, white, and yellow carrots; 'Rosa Bianca' eggplants, baby bok choi, 'Rainbow' chard, chipotle peppers, purple artichokes, and other culinary delights that started out in high-end restaurants and now are seen in farmers markets and home gardens across the country.

Frustrated by America's penchant for lawns, for the last twenty-five years Ros has used her front garden to showcase an ever-changing display of edible ornamentals from A to Z, including 'Pink Pearl' apples, thornless blackberries, purple cauliflower, Kaffir lime, variegated peppermint, and golden zucchini and in themes as diverse as a Magic Circle Herb Garden to The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and a vegetable maze. Her engaging gardens welcome friends and neighbors; children regularly stop by to feed the chickens.

Rosalind is a much sought-after speaker and lecturer, addressing groups as diverse as Master Gardeners, Idaho Landscape Designers, horticultural societies from coast to coast, the Garden Writers Association, college landscaping programs, Celebrity Cruises, Seed Savers Exchange Annual Convention, Monticello, and Colonial Williamsburg. Her magnificent photography--not only of her own unique and enviable gardens, edible harvests, and cuisine, but also of gardens and gardeners she has visited--enriches her talks, enticing and inspiring audiences across the country.

Since 1982, Rosalind has written 18 books on gardening and cooking, including "Cooking from the Garden" and "Rosalind Creasy's Recipes From the Garden," and the children's book"Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes, How to Grow a Rainbow Garden." Her works have garnered some prestigious awards: Edible Landscaping won the Garden Writers Association (GWA) Quill & Trowel Award, as did Earthly Delights. Cooking from the Garden won the GWA Award of Excellence, In 1999 Ros was made a "Fellow" in the Garden Writers Association, an honor bestowed on only 64 people in the organization's 60 years, and in 2009 was inducted into the Garden Writers prestigious Hall of Fame.

Her varied and unique skills are in high demand. For more than a decade, she has been the exclusive photographer for a number of calendars, including the best-selling Seed Savers Calendar. In the past few years, Ros' photography and writing have been featured numerous magazines including Mother Earth News, Gardening How-To, Country Decorating, Sunset magazine, The LA Times, and Southwest Airline's Spirit Magazine. She has been a guest on NPR's "Science Friday with Ira Flatow" and APM's "The Splendid Table" with Lynn Rosetto Casper.

An acclaimed landscape designer, her gardens range beyond California, with design installations at The New York Botanical Garden and Powell Gardens in Kansas City.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I love this book. I'm not a professional gardener, just a homeowner with a passion for gardening, and an interest in more sustainable and environmentally inclined gardening ideas and techniques. I believe this book has information that would be of benefit to almost any level of gardener. The author covers every aspect of gardening and landscape design in a very in thorough manner that is as informative as it is easy to read. For those who want to delve into related subjects she makes suggestions for additional reading that I found very helpful. Her encyclopedia of plants is extensive. The astounding list of plant and seed suppliers she has compiled is a great benefit. If there be any fault in the book, it is that it is somewhat dated with the most recent edition being 1982. Her coverage of drip irrigation reflects this. Otherwise it is superb book!
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I have a couple of minor criticisms about this book, so let me begin with those. Firstly, it is showing its age. It makes frequent reference in the early chapters to the water shortages and environmental disasters that were widely expected to occur by the end of the century. As you know by now, those never really materialised. There is still plenty of reason to be concerned about the way American society (mis)uses resources, but the threat is neither as immediate or as dire as the author makes out.
Secondly, in the suggestions on building planters, and retaining walls, the author fails to note the potential dangers of CCA treated lumber (now being phased out) and railroad ties treated with creosote.
Lastly, more color illustrations would have been nice. Those that are there are very good. The b&w drawings are nice, but not as good as photos.
Those criticisms out of the way, the book is excellent. The first few chapters provide the rationale for edible landscaping, then introduces the principles of landscaping, giving numerous examples of applying different themes to different climates. The chapters on techniques, especially in relation to trees (the basics of pruning, and plenty of advice on espaliering) are particularly good. An entire chapter is devoted to identifying insects and dealing with the undesirables.
The second half of the book is a plant encylopedia. Handy to have in one volume, but if you already have a good plant encyclopedia, it is probably redundant.
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By A Customer on August 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I grew up in a garden designed using this book, and now I am working on designing my own. It is a teriffic book with a lot of information about different edible plants and how to design an edible landscape. The only drawbacks are (1) it's a bit dated (new smaller rootstalks let you have smaller trees than you could in '82) and (2) it's a little bit california-centric.
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Format: Paperback
Being in a rural area and living on a small family farm, we aren't overly concerned with decorative landscaping. We try to make every inch of our property productive and useful. Apart from the fields and pastures in use for livestock, we have allotted a small area for produce on our property.

Within the 1.5 acres surrounding our farmhouse, we have made allowance of space for a vegetable garden (based upon the concepts of Edward C. Smith in his book titled "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible" and an orchard that adheres to the philosophy found in Patrick Whitefield's book titled "How to Make a Forest Garden".

With the ideas found in this book, "The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping", we are now planning to landscape with a conscience and purpose aside from simple aesthetics. We are delighted with the information provided to serve as a foundation for our planning.

We have given the 4 star review based upon the fact that this book hasn't been revised for nearly 25 years and could certainly benefit from more current data. And, we would always like to see more color photographs and illustrations to complement the text.
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I just wanted to add my voice, if the authors are listening, that this book is a great resource and a new edition would be so welcome. Some of the info doesn't go out of date, of course, but there are so many new cultivars and plants that are more easily obtained than they were 20 years ago that would fit well into the home landscape and the permaculture view of gardening. I got this book at the library and i may buy a used copy, but I would jump at the chance of an updated edition!
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I was a little skeptical of purchasing this book based on a few reviews here - suffice to say the book exceeded my expectations. True, it is an older book but the information is still good. The thumbnail info on size of plants, what they can be used for, how to grow them, certain things they need and so forth enables planning for even plants not previously grown. The photographs as well as artists sketchings gives a visual idea of what combining fruit/nut trees, flowers and vegetables looks like in various ways. The use of containers both large and small, raised beds and other methods of planting gives a variety of looks and possibility. Love the idea of a floating deck around trees! The warnings of some plants, such as bamboo, spreading as well as suggestions on using the plants grown are a starting point, but a good one. Possible miss on some things, such as the availability of bush cherries for those not wanting cherry trees; but those are few. There's enough information to adequately plan, to fit plants into the budget and allow for adding more later and to plant and make use of "wasted space" for the average person capable of reading, comprehending and following suggestions. A bit dated it's true but still a lot of great information and well worth the money. If you're buying one book on the subject this would be a good one, with a great deal of information, to start with!
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