Edible Landscaping with Rosalind Creasy bio picture
  • Rosalind Creasy – Edible Landscaping

    Gardening can be easy, healthy, inexpensive, and best of all, in can be done just about anywhere. As far back as 1970, Rosalind Creasy was a pioneer in the field of Edible Landscaping.Her work has since revolutionized the way that many of us think about gardening. Cooking from the garden, eating organic, and eating fresh are all possible and not as hard as you might think.

    In this website, you can see some of Rosalind's best tips on making the most of your home garden, along with various recipes and advice. 

    Rosalind's new book, Edible Landscaping, was published in November of 2010 and is now in its third printing.

Asian Coleslaw from Spring Greens

Spring is in full swing and my garden is producing lots of chard, spring onions, Portuguese and Savoy cabbages and cilantro. I’m going to make my favorite coleslaw, Asian style, using these great greens and herbs and take it to my daughter’s house for the whole family to enjoy. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it, too!

Asian Shredded Salad

This variation on coleslaw combines many of the flavors of Southeast Asia and makes a great pot luck dish. I make the salad a few hours before serving it so the flavors blend. (When I’m in a hurry, I use 1 3/4s of a cup of a commercial coleslaw dressing and add the called for grated ginger and hot sauce to it before pouring it over the greens. )

Dressing:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/3 teaspoon hot pepper sauce to taste

Mix the ingredients well in a small bowl and refrigerate them until they are needed.

Salad:

12 to 16 cups thinly sliced cabbage (1 large cabbage – 2 to 2 1/2 pounds)

5 to 6 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard

2 to 2 1/2 cups chopped cilantro (1 medium bunch)

2 cups chopped green onions or scallions including the green tops (1 small bunch)

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, minced

1 cup dry roasted peanuts or cashews

Wash the greens well, chop, and place them in a salad spinner to remove extra moisture. In a large salad bowl combine all the ingredients and add the crystallized ginger. Pour most of the dressing over the greens and toss. Add the rest of the dressing if needed.  Sprinkle the nuts over the salad.

Serves 6 to 8

 

Bob and Julie’s Garden 2012

My son and daughter-in-law, Bob and Julie Creasy, have a house in San Jose, California, about 20 minutes from me. They’re in Zone 9, in one of the country’s ideal growing climates, warm enough for tomatoes and peppers to get the 90-degree days they love without the humidity that can cause fungal problems. Their garden also contains great soil—deep loam, filled with worms. I’m jealous; my garden is noticeably cooler and began with heavy adobe clay. Over the years, Julie’s gotten the gardening bug BAD, and she’s one of the best natural gardeners I’ve ever known. My son Bob plays backup with the all-important irrigation installations, design input, and, bless his heart, weeding.

Before the Edible Design

Their backyard was nothing much to start with: a concrete patio and a lot of lawn, plus one large almond tree on the left side.

Today, a much larger paver patio anchors the space. The redwood arbor sits off the patio proper, providing plenty of shade during the late afternoon without dominating the space and providing for a wisteria or climbing roses over the top in the future. The remaining space is filled with plants, both in the ground and in a variety of containers. There are plenty of edibles scattered throughout, including ‘Enchantment’ and ‘Sungold’ tomatoes growing in barrels and over small arbors, peppers contained in colorful “tomato” cages, strawberries, and a broad range of culinary herbs. Ornamentals are equally well represented, with roses, ‘East Friesland’ salvia, zinnias, and million bells. A low boxwood hedge edges part of the patio and walkway, creating a boundary and providing visual interest in winter.

A mix of pots cascades down the steps from the house, filled with purple salvia and petunias, orange zinnias, yellow gaillardia, blue lobelia, and orange and purple million bells to tie them all together. The colors reflect those found in the garden itself, and the red and terra cotta hues of the pots mix together surprisingly well. A small statue of a black poodle, a lookalike for their own dog Portia, keeps guard over the entire space.

Bob and Julie wanted to give a contemporary feel to the garden and purchased three large horse troughs and placed them along the path and filled them with portulacas and cucumbers. A yellow heirloom tomato in a barrel balances them on the left. Just past them, you can see the reincarnation of my old Magic Circle garden, featured in my book Edible Landscaping. A mix of bright colors surrounds the green birdbath: yellow lantana, red petunias, pink penstemon, and purple salvia. ‘Elfin’ thyme fills in the spaces between the stepping-stones.

Edibles and ornamentals share this trough-turned-planter. In this case, the edible is the heirloom ‘True Lemon’ cucumber, available from Seed Savers Exchange. Growing the cucumbers in a tall planter is an easy way to keep them off the ground without having to stake them.