Upper South

November, 2010
Regional Report

Books

Edible Landscaping
Purists may say that an old-fashioned vegetable garden with neat, well-hoed rows has its own beauty, but the concept of actually landscaping with vegetables, herbs and fruits has a wide appeal as more and more people develop an interest in eating healthy, home-grown food. Why not have a widely accepted form of beauty as well as function combined? The original edition of Rosalind Creasy's book on edible landscaping in 1982 was hailed as a ground-breaking classic. The new edition, Edible Landscaping: Now You Can Have Your Gorgeous Garden and Eat It Too! (Sierra Club Books, 2010, $39.95), draws on the author's additional decades of research and experience. The more than 300 color photographs alone will inspire you with ideas of how to include edibles throughout your garden. Plus, there are suggestions of ways to create a landscape plan and design basics for large, small, and container gardens, actual garden plans, information on ways to improve the soil and add structural elements, plus planting and maintenance, pest control, and sources and resources. At the heart of the book is a comprehensive encyclopedia of edible plants that will be an ongoing reference. As you dream about and plan next year's garden, you won't find a better companion.

Favorite or New Plant

Weeping Alaska Cedar
As the garden changes from green and lush to brown and bare, we become acutely aware of how important evergreen trees and shrubs are to enjoying the garden year-round. There are hundreds of species and cultivars to which we might turn, but one of the most graceful to consider is the weeping Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'). While some weeping forms of evergreens, such as the weeping white pine, have oddly contorted main trunks, the weeping Alaska cedar maintains a relative strong central leader and pyramidal shape but has dramatically pendulous branches. Native from Alaska south to California, Alaska cedars may grow to 60 feet or taller, but in the garden, they usually reach a maximum height of around 35 feet, with a width of 20 feet. These trees do best with high humidity and rich, acid soil, but they adapt to less-than-ideal conditions, especially if the soil is kept moist but well-drained until they are established. Alaska cedar is hardy in zones 4 to 8, with full to partial sun.

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