FOOD GARDENS. Perhaps of all the arts, gardening is the only one that smiles on imitation, and lends itself to the recreation of whatever the gardener might adopt from other gardeners. How else can we all start with the same three ingredients: seeds, plants and soil, yet the results are always different? Our gardens are often a reflection of ourselves, artful or practical and what we choose to grow and how we design the garden is largely based on personal taste, the natural landscape and one’s gardening experience.
Last winter I read Niki Jabbour’s new book, Ground Breaking Food Gardens, featuring 73 theme gardens to draw inspiration for a wide range of different edible gardens. Jabbour is the author of award winning The Year Round Vegetable Gardener, and lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia and like many gardeners, she was hooked at an early age, working beside her mother in the garden she was enchanted by the simple act of planting a seed. “Because edible gardening is such a large part of my life, I am always looking for new techniques, designs and ideas to grow more food.” She writes
Gardeners can always learn from other gardeners, and I’ll admit that I get some of my best ideas from visiting other gardens. In Jabbour’s book, she sought 72 expert gardeners (including myself) to contribute their most creative garden ideas that reflect their passion and experience, and the result is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the art of growing food. In her introduction, Jabbour writes, “ if you get no more out of this book than the message that food can be grown anywhere, then I will feel that I’ve done my job.”
This book, reinforces the idea that growing and designing a food garden with an eye for beauty, might just be the wave of the future. As we start to plan our food gardens, let us celebrate how far most of have come from the long straight rows of a traditional “Victory Garden” in favor of creating gardens that are artful, practical and just plain satisfying.
To learn more about how to design a garden with an eye towards aesthetics and style, click here for Ellen Ogden Kitchen Garden Design plan.