Last month I received a copy of Emily Tepe’s new book, The Edible Landscape, and since I don’t write reviews without reading the thing cover to cover (and I’m a slow reader), I’m just getting around to it now.
The promise of the book, from the cover and my expectations at least, is an instructional guide to creating an edible landscape with fruits, vegetables and flowers. As I read through it, I realized there is very little in the way of instruction. I also realized that isn’t necessarily bad.
Tepe’s approach, rather, is to give you a visually stimulating meandering walk through a garden. She poetically proposes ideas that stir the imagination. Not concrete details, but concepts to explore. Every page has at least one picture to inspire. Granted, most of the photos are labeled as stock photography, but they still deliver the message.
Having written a book of my own, it can understand how challenging it is to provide specific details about growing edibles for a wide swath of climates, hardiness zones and conditions. Publishers often demand that authors produce vague information to cover all regions, and the result in the end isn’t very helpful to any one climate.
Tepe counters this in the final pages of the book with concrete growing advice and plant recommendations for visually interesting partnerships for an edible landscape. She also includes a chart of plants most suitable for growing in northern gardens. While this doesn’t help this So Cal gardener, I appreciated the specificity.
I usually subscribe to the notion that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t write a book review (especially when my own book hits the shelves in a couple months), but with Tepe’s book, it’s all about expectation. Don’t read this book expecting step by step instructions on how to create your edible landscape. Use it instead as an image folder of beautiful ideas to inspire and you will enjoy it.
If you would like to win a copy of this book, post a comment below with your favorite edible landscaping combination. One winner will be chosen on Wednesday, February 20th.