Friday, March 3, 2017


Title:  Harvest:  Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants
Author:  Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis
Publication Information:  Ten Speed Press. 2017. 224 pages.
ISBN:  0399578331 / 978-0399578335

Book Source:  I received this book through the Blogging for Books program free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Harvest is a practical  inspirational, and seasonal guide to living with an edible landscape.

Favorite Quote:  "A garden is an extension of your living space. It should reflect your style and be a place where you want to spend time. A garden can benefit and enrich your life in so many ways."

This book makes me want to run out to my garden and start planting. No matter that some of the plants in this book may not thrive in my area. No matter that it's twenty-five degrees outside, and we have snow in the forecast for tonight. This book appeals to the gardener, crafter, and cook in me. It is about dreams of warmer days and calm afternoons enjoying the bounty of our harvest.

Both the content and the structure of the book bring forth that dream. The subtitle of the book tells you the content. This is a book about forty-seven garden plants. The plants are organized by three "gardening seasons" - early, mid, and late. Depending on your geographic location, of course, the exact timing of early, mid, and late will differ. The book contains a reference for the US hardiness zone map; you have to know or look up the zone you are in to determine what timing and what plant may work in your garden.

The book offers twelve plants for the early season, nineteen for the mid season, and sixteen for the late season. Within a particular season, the plants do not appear organized in any fashion, but it is a short list so it doesn't really matter. The entire table of contents is on one page so any plant in the book can be easily found.

The section on each plant is about four pages long. The text introduction to the plant includes two parts. In the Garden address the zone in which the plant can be grown, plant size, and some planting and care instructions. Harvest, as you might think, suggests how to harvest, store, and use the plant. For each plant, a "project" or use is then given. Some are recipes such as pickled rhubarb or lavender and mint tea. Some are medicinal or cosmetic such as gardener's salve or rosewater facial toner. Some are craft-oriented such as blueberry dye or flowering basil arrangements. None of the "projects" are complex. The appeal is more in the ideas and the teaching of the concept of using your garden for these purposes.

What really makes this book though is the photography. The simple yet vibrant cover of the book is my main reason for picking up this book. It is inviting in its simplicity, and the vibrant colors on the neutral background grab your attention. The visual appeal of the book continues throughout. The pages alternate between text and full-page, full-color photographs. Yes, indeed; half the book is pictures that make me want to run to the garden center and start planting.

The foreword of the book references the Slow Food and corresponding Slow Flowers movement. The book manages to convey that thought completely. The book invites you to slow down and to take the time to, well, smell the roses. That is, after you plant them and nurture them until they blossom. While I wait for my garden season, I have this book to make me feel as if I am there already.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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