Edible Perennial Gardening by Anni Kelsey

Subtitle: Growing Successful Polycultures in Small Spaces

Published: 2014

Genre: nonfiction gardening

Length: 146 pages of text (although even that is 1/3 photos), 164 pages with appendices

Setting: Great Britain

Interest: It’s spring, so I’m thinking about my garden. I like the idea of polyculture and using more perennials, so I’m always on the lookout for more information to incorporate those principles into my gardens. When I saw this book in the new book section at my library, I thought it might be interesting to check out.

Summary: The author describes her experiences in creating a perennial vegetable garden. She starts with her reasons behind the project (mostly because it’s less work) and goes into the ideas behind permaculture and polyculture. From there, she discusses specific vegetables that worked for her garden. There’s even a few recipes, since one of the difficulties of planting perennial vegetables is figuring out how to use them. Finally, she talks a bit about putting the garden together and what kind of mistakes she made in the hope that the reader might be able to avoid some of them.

Sweet cicely

Sweet cicely



Final thoughts: I found the book interesting and useful in the general themes, but what works in the author’s Great Britain garden as a perennial plant won’t necessarily be perennial in my Northeast U.S. garden. So, I ended up skipping the sections on the specific vegetables Kelsey found useful in her gardens. Even so, I found a few plants to add to various parts of my yard – sweet cicely and fennel. Both are herbs that could be used in the kitchen, but are especially useful to attract pollinators to the gardens. As an added bonus, sweet cicely likes shady spots, so it might work well in my lilac hedge that I’d like to make a bit more useful than just the pretty it is now.

I liked the fact the author specifically talked about her mistakes in the garden. She discussed what plants work for her and why, and why others didn’t work. She encourages the gardener to experiment, and warns you about problems to watch out for. I did find it a useful book, if for nothing else than it makes you think about gardening in a different way. This is not the book for people who like their plants in neat rows widely separated by mulch. Instead, you’re encouraged to try something a little closer to nature. The author even lets volunteers (what many of us would call weeds) stay in her garden, if they’re well-behaved.

Title comes from: A description of what the book is about.

Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this was more of a skimmer than a reader

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or subtitle to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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