Monday, May 16, 2011

Giveaway - Edible Front Yard



Ivette Soler's new book The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-less, Grow-more Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden is lush with pictures and full of design advice, color combinations, attractive edibles, and hardscaping ideas. Ivette (a.k.a. The Germinatrix), a garden designer and writer, insists on beauty and style in her front-yard edible landscapes and gardens. She advises "Beauty matters...your front yard is a greeting to the world."




Ivette advises us that "Growing food in your front yard is a courageous expression: you are telling people that you care about what your family eats," then continues with ways to draw inspiration from your home's style, regionally-adapted favorites, and edible choices that deliver multiple benefits - visual, herbal, edible, and structural.



Ivette shares her list of "Supermodels" - plants she has selected as the most attractive for the full growing season, as well as "Helper" plants - attractive, evergreen or structural ornamentals that are also medicinal herbs or useful in some way (for example, aloe, yarrow, agave, and daylilies). These helpers create a backbone for your garden to look good year-round, instead of merely during the planting season.




Ivette's eco-friendly vibe is strongest when recommending environmental choices such as urbanite and other easy-on-the-budget hardscaping choices, or when recommending ways to organically maintaining your front yard without the use of Round-up or pesticides. However, you won't find much information on attracting beneficial insects or wildlife, or techniques like swales, ollas or rainwater barrels. Instead, Ivette strongly recommends installing a permanent watering / irrigation system.




Her garden designs, and her plant lists, rely mainly plants that do well in her climate (Southern California), which is dry and hot - similar to ours here in Oklahoma, but with a bit less frost. Gardeners in cold, wet, short-season climates may not find the book as useful as those in hotter climates.



The Edible Front Yard, as well as Rosalind Creasy's classic text Edible Landscaping have wonderful pictures, great lists of attractive edibles, and useful design advice. If you are designing your own front yard garden, combine these books with a permaculture manual like Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment stating which the book you would like - Rosalind Creasy's book or Ivette Soler's The Edible Front Yard. I will pick the winner via random drawing on Wednesday the 18th.

Happy front yard gardening!

Note: This is an unsolicited review; I have not been compensated in any way.

22 comments:

SharleneT said...

I so agree. Most of my front yard edibles are perennial herbs and cabbages. But, remember, I have a great big garden in the back, along with a mini-orchard. (Yay! Peaches, this year!). Boy, if you tried this with a tough Homeowner's Assoc, they'd give birth to a set of dishes!

♥ Pacy said...

I would love to win Ivette Soler's The Edible Front Yard. This is just how I want to get my front yard to be.

Marichiweu said...

Hey, count me in -- I haven't read the Creasy book yet either, so I'd love to win a copy. Thanks!

Kate said...

I'll take a pass on a chance at the book, since it doesn't sound applicable to my area. But thanks for the review. I hope it will find a home with someone to whom it will be useful

Anonymous said...

I have both Soler's and Creasy's books and love them. I live in Wisconsin, so many of the recommendations do not apply (by the way, writers, where are the edible gardening books for northern climates?!? I have $ to spend), but the pictures alone make the books worth it. What I need when working on my edible front yard are ideas and inspiration and both are full of them. Bonus: Soler's descriptions of plants are knock-your-pants-off charming.

urbanlivingokc said...

Christine, since my front yard is basically dead grass anyways, b/c I refuse to pump thousands of gallons of water to feed bermuda grass, I would love to replace it with some things of the edible variety.

notherethenwhere said...

This is such a great idea - I really love the idea of taking what is usually unused space and making it a lot more useful and productive. I'm working on convincing my landlords to let me do this, and trying to assure them that it will certainly look better than the dead, dry grass and weeds that are currently there.

Michelle said...

I would love to win the edible front yard book. I am in the process of tearing it up as I type :)

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

I forgot to mention, the drawing is for US residents only (because of shipping costs). Thanks!

Lake said...

I mulched out my front lawn 5 years ago, and have added dwarf fruit trees, climbers (hardy kiwi), and a mix of edible perennials, flowers and herbs. I don't have the space for large items like cabbages (reserved for the back yard). My planting space is roughly 15' x 25', including walkways, but I'm always looking for creative ideas for better "curb appeal". This year, I was overrun with dandelions until the perennials started coming up. Neighbors do notice that. In order to encourage more people to do this, I feel the garden has to be both functional and visually appealing. I'd love the Soler book (more pictures). I am in zone 6.

Jayne Anne said...

Yay, thanks for the review. I would love to win a copy of Ivette Soler's Edible Front Yard, if chosen. This is exactly what I want to do with the yard in the house we are just about to move into.

Derryl Cocks said...

Hello. I'd like to win Ivette Soler's The Edible Front Yard. We have a front yard garden and would like to pretty it up.

Rich said...

Wow! Great idea. I would love to get Rosalind's book to help me complete my edible landscape in the front yard. A few years ago I planted 6 blueberry bushes in a row in front of the garage. The front of the house and garage face south. I found out that blueberry bushes do not like full sun. The next year I moved them to the back of the house where it is partially shaded and they love it there. Now I need to find out what type of bushy fruit bearing plants like the full sun. Edible Landscaping would be a great addition to my library.

Chase Saunders said...

Entering for Edible Front Yard.

Patrick said...

Hi Christine,

We have a new front yard that could use a dose of Ivette Soler's Edible Front Yard. I hope it's our lucky day!

Patrick

Christine Robins said...

Entering for Edible Front Yard.

Jenni said...

Great reviews...I found your blog by googling the Edible front Yard book. Thanks for mentioning Creasy's book...seems like a good fit for me, since I have already turned my front grass patch into veggie garden. Now I need suggestions for enhancing its looks.

Anonymous said...

These books look like good resources for those of us trying to create a new mind set in our communities, particularly the ones who make the rules related to eye appeal. Maybe the beautification squad would consider fruit and nut trees for their plantings along the downtown areas subject to their consideration. Certainly worth a try.

B Wagstaff said...

I would like to have "The Edible Front Yard," one way or another :) Thanks for some great reads. A homeschooling mom friend of mine referred me to your post entitled "The Myth of Efficiency" from a couple of years ago. Loved it!

Mitty said...

I would love The Edible Front Yard. I'm going to try pole beans in the front yard this year.

Melonie k. said...

What a helpful review! Both of these are on my wishlist so honestly I'd be grateful to win either. We live in military housing so I can't do permanent things but I have plans to expand our container garden from the backyard to the front - great sun out there, but I definitely have to make sure things "blend" and are visually acceptable.

Patricia said...

I used Rosalind Creasy's book back in 1983 when I had my first house. Still consulting it on occasion. Even though the "Edible Front Yard" is geared to a different climate area, the design principles hold and it'd be fun to win a copy. But I'll tell an "edible front yard" story.

I had a low border fence, 18 inches high, along my front walk, and I planted my winter squash where it could climb on the fence and be supported. All summer, people kept coming into the yard to "find out what those lovely yellow flowers were". I was the talk of the neighborhood when they found the butternuts hanging there with the leaves and the flowers!