Rosalind Creasy’s new ‘Edible Landscaping’


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After Rosalind Creasy tore out her front lawn and planted a vegetable garden, real estate agents stopped by to offer their services. With such great curb appeal, they said, the home would be an easy sell.

That was in 1984, two years after the publication of Creasy’s groundbreaking book, ‘Edible Landscaping.’ Since then, designer Creasy has established herself as one of the pioneer foodie-gardeners, and Sierra Club Books has just released the much-anticipated second edition of ‘Edible Landscaping’ ($39.95). (That’s the author’s Black Satin blackberry vines, above, fruiting among the blooms of her climbing rose bush. In the new edition, Creasy reports that one year the plant yielded nearly 30 pints of berries.)


The book recounts how for decades Creasy accompanied her husband on business trips to places such as Cairo, Hong Kong and Venice (the Italian one). While he attended meetings, she hit street markets, nurseries and gardens in search of local foods, including the traditional fruits, vegetables and herbs used in regional cuisine.

Creasy noticed that home gardeners in these far-flung locales made no distinction between edible and ornamental. Plants that made food and plants that didn’t were grown together, naturally and beautifully.

In Israel, she learned how vegetable waste could be composted and added to soils to support food crops. Such lessons inspired her first frontyard landscape and every landscape she has designed since. Keep reading for more, including more photos from the new book ...

The original ‘Edible Landscaping’ was largely a how-to-grow book, and the new edition does include a how-to-grow ‘Encyclopedia of Edibles.’ But Creasy also offers a fascinating history of garden design and extensive directions on how to design an edible landscape, from site evaluation to implementing a plan. Fabulous photos show clever edible landscapes across the U.S. Ideas for small-space gardening are included too. (The photo above shows bok choi, kale, lettuce and chard growing in Creasy’s 100-square-foot garden in Northern California; that’s the author, at right.)

The first ‘Edible Landscaping’ was a treasured classic. This new edition offers even more, not just for experienced gardeners but for newly minted ones as well.

-- Nan Sterman

Creasy is the keynote speaker for the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens’ Growing Home Agriculture in the City conference Saturday in San Marino.