Book Review: The Edible Front Yard

EdFrontYThis is a book my mother sent me for Christmas this year, and I’m OBSESSED with it. It’s really made me look at garden design in a new way – not just what I can grow to eat, but what I can grow to look good at the same time. So first, the stats:

The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-less, Grow-more Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden
by Ivette Soler
Published 2011
213 pages

I would definitely give this book the full five stars. It’s filled with gorgeous, full-color, glossy photographs that really show off the concepts illustrated in the book. Soler describes both some common vegetables (corn and beans, for example) as well as some things I didn’t even know were edible, like daylilies and nasturtiums! She includes a lot of unusual edibles, like artichokes and bananas, the latter of which I can’t grow outside here in Maryland. She lives in LA, though, and I completely understand how it must be complicated to write a book applicable to the entire United States!

Her chapters range from “Curb Appeal” – WHY should we care what our yard looks like, and what actually looks good? – to “The New Front Yard Plant Palette” which is all about classic edibles that also look great. Another chapter is about helper plants – plants that aren’t necessarily edible (though some of them are), but that serve other purposes in the garden, such as pest repellant or predatory bug attractants. Both of these chapters list a TON of plants, with short descriptions about why they’re on the list, how to take care of them, and what to use them for. EXTREMELY useful.

Soler has her own blog – The Germinatrix – but unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s been updated since 2012. Her Twitter seems to have died about the same time, and her Facebook hasn’t seen a post since early 2013. I’m still hoping to find her presence online, as I love her writing style and would love to find more of her work.

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