Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design a Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs

The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and HerbsThe Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs by Leslie Bennett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As an edible gardening enthusiast I was delighted by the inspiration and beautiful photography featured in The Beautiful Edible Garden, but, as a gardener who likes to have all her reference material at hand, I was also somewhat disappointed. Other for books I have read in the genre had prepared me to feel moved and delighted,and to look out at my yard with a brand new set of visions for planting things I possibly hadn't considered edible before. This is not that book.
The Beautiful Edible Garden is more a garden design book in the tabletop book sense that it provides neither layout advise nor plant lists, but does give tried and true design advice adapted for edible plants rather than those that are simply ornamental.
This is not a book aimed at beginners, and perhaps that is where it diverged from what I was hoping for.
The wreath projects are lovely, though it seems that in the case of the berry and quince wreath that it would be particularly short lived, unless I missed something in the instructions. I did feel, throughout the book that the instructions could have been more clear.
I do feel that there is a lot to take away from this book, but it wasn't the book I was looking for this week.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Easy Fruit Garden

The Easy Fruit Garden: A No-Nonsense Guide to Growing the Fruit You LoveThe Easy Fruit Garden: A No-Nonsense Guide to Growing the Fruit You Love by
Clare Matthews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Clare Matthews' guide to growing fruit holds true to the title. She cuts through the nonsense and aims her colorful and informative book at people who want to grow food but don't have time to wade through the history of horticulture and just need a simple breakdown of the basics and for someone to steer them in the right direction. Complete with succulent pictures, wonderfully simple how-to guides, and easy to follow instructions, as well as fabulous write ups on the fruits one may want to grow, this is a wonderful resource for a gardener who wants to branch out into growing more than their peas and carrots, roses and daisies.

I really like this book for it's ease of reference and high eye candy value. Matthews' focus on growing fruit with as little time commitment as possible appeals to me, a lot. It's not so much that I'm busy. I mean, I am, who isn't, but moreover, I like efficiency.

While I checked it out from the library, I'm adding it to the short list of books I'd like to add to my personal library.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Diary of a Lost Girl

Diary of a Lost Girl: The Autobiography of Kola BoofDiary of a Lost Girl: The Autobiography of Kola Boof by Kola Boof

I don't know how to begin to respond to the Autobiography of Kola Boof. It is a book I have had to set down and walk away from, and return to many times. Hers is a life, story, a tale, (are these the right words?)that leaves one speechless and horrified, and yet on some level inspired. There is some controversy surrounding what may or may not be factual, of course. Isn't there always when it is one's own story, and a story outside the realm of anyone else's daily experience, spanning multiple continents and involving the notorious.

I feel ill equipped to rate it, to recommend reading or avoiding it, but feel simultaneously compelled to say something. If you read this, the way you view sex and gender issues, the way you view ethnic and racial issues, religious issues, and concepts like social justice will likely change. The author may make you angry at times. Angry at her, at the people in her life, at the people in your life, possibly yourself. It is an uncomfortable book. I chose to read it because I knew it would be an uncomfortable book. If you enjoy the disquieting, or need your foundations unsettled, then perhaps it is a good choice for you.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden

In Groundbreaking Food Gardens: 73 Plans That Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden, a diverse group of expert gardeners and an author with a sense of humor- come on, groundbreaking gardens, that's at least a little groan-worthy - come together to compile a variety of garden plans designed to meet different needs in different ways, but with one ultimate goal: grow food.

"But I have no space!" you say while gnashing your teeth and throwing a dis-empowered hand to the sky- they have a plan for you or adaptable for you. That's why Groundbreaking Food Gardens brought together so many perspectives, to offer solutions and ideas for a wide variety of spaces and special concerns. Some people have large open land, some people have a lot of shade, some people ha
ve a small terrace and a few containers, but everyone needs to eat. Yes, even you.

If Niki Jabbour is guilty of anything, it's of giving me a lot to think about in pulling together my (always last minute) garden plan this spring.  With detailed plant lists, guides regarding plant spacing and habits, and diagrams, this is a fabulous book for planning a garden, and takes the mystery out of providing your own salad greens or culinary herbs. That's right, culinary herbs. Don't even try to pretend that fresh herbs aren't worlds more delicious because they are. I am going to grow them. again, with a little more planning this year.

I like that Jabbour doesn't assume that the reader's only interest is in the standard tomatoes and squash garden I grew up with. She includes garden plans for those more interested in exotic peppers and garden plans for people more interested in wildlife. This is very much a book with something for everyone.

It's a good informative read, though more plan-heavy and less eye-candy than a lot of other garden planning books on the market. Ultimately though, when you're planning a garden for food, the point is the produce more than the breathtaking landscape, and careful, yet adaptable, planning is what Groundbreaking Food Gardens is all about.

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*I recieved an advance reader copy, only, in exchange for an honest review.