This is our book review of Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis
Every garden–not just vegetable plots–can produce a bountiful harvest! This practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide will help make any garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using unexpected and often common garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your backyard.
Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit: turn tumeric root into a natural dye and calamintha into lip balm. Make anise hyssop into a refreshing iced tea and turn apricots into a facial mask. Crabapple branches can be used to create stunning floral arrangements, oregano flowers to infuse vinegar, and edible chrysanthemum to liven up a salad. With the remarkable, multi-purpose plants in Harvest, there is always something for gardeners to harvest from one growing season to the next.
“The garden is an extension of your living space,” say authors Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis. No truer words ever spoken, and this beautiful book takes you through the seasons of growing and harvesting plants most of us already know. But the bonus comes with details for innovative uses for these varieties.
Spectacular photography accompanies every entry, and the best part, at least for me, is that the book is printed on matte paper, so when browsing through it, there’s no glare off those images. The tone of the text is conversational, almost as though you’re sharing a cup of tea with the authors.
HARVEST is divided into three overlapping seasons: late winter/spring, summer/early fall, and late fall. The table of contents is listed by plant, rather than season, and a full index and resources round out the details of this 200-plus page book.
Over 40 plants are covered, and each plant has its own page, complete with description and history, detailed growing information, and everything you need to know about harvesting the fruits of your labor. Then, an unexpected project for using your bounty completes the entry.
For instance: Anise Hyssop Iced Tea! Does that sound delicious, or what?
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is a favorite in my own garden, and according to the authors, Native Americans believe the plant relieves a dispirited heart. Another good reason to have this beautiful, aromatic herb in your garden.
An interesting project for a familiar shrub in our gardens is Lilac Flower Cream–the essence of spring in a jar!
The book is a hardcover edition and, initially, I worried that it would not lie flat when following the project instructions. However, the spine is constructed in a way to allow the pages to open and stay there. With a book as beautiful as this, I’d be inclined to protect the page when using it in the kitchen!
My only true complaint is the typeface. Not only is it quite small, but the text is printed in grey – not a good combination for anyone with vision problems.
That aside, I really love this book and look forward to trying some of the garden varieties and projects this season. Especially looking forward to that Anise Hyssop Tea!
Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
This article and photographs were provided by Toni Leland, a Connecticut freelance writer and Master Gardener in southeastern Connecticut. She is available for assignment on a wide range of subjects: travel, history, nature, gardening, wildlife, cooking, writing, horses, and outdoor living to name a few.
Toni’s fiction has appeared in several anthologies, magazines, and various writing newsletters,and she keeps up with the writing community through her Facebook page, as well as membership in Sisters In Crime and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association.