Touting multi-purpose, sometimes backyard crops, “Harvest” teaches readers how to produce year-round yields for pantry staples, floral arrangements, cocktails, beauty products and food dishes. From pulping turmeric root into a natural dye and melding Calamintha into lip balm, to transforming anise hyssop into a refreshing iced tea and pummeling apricots into a facial mask or infusing oregano flowers into vinegar while sprinkling edible chrysanthemums on salads, “Harvest” shares garden secrets.
Enjoy crabapple branches in floral arrangements and persimmon wreaths. Drink an Australian finger lime gin and tonic and scrub with lemongrass salt while “smudging” with rosemary – all made with ingredients from your own backyard!
“A garden is an extension of our living space,” quote the duo. “It should reflect your style and be a place where you want to spend time. We want to inspire you to grow harvestable plants that provide flowers, fruits, and herbs for use in the kitchen as well as throughout your home in beautiful arrangements. Just because a garden is beautiful doesn’t mean it can’t be useful.”
“Harvest” divides the plants and projects into three gardening seasons – early, mid and late. Seasonal designations match various climate so that gardeners can determine what plants will survive.
“We’ve included annual and perennial plants that grow in all zones,” they continue. “Some plants may be familiar, while others may surprise you. Many of the plants are so versatile, they can be used in multiple projects.”
Bittner and Harampolis encourage readers to use “Harvest” as a guide to select plants that offer year-round potential. Food Safety and the benefits of organic gardening and the importance of influential insects are also taught within its pages. “The ability to grow food throughout your landscape is one of the most exciting realizations a gardener can make,” they write. “And when you make this happen all kinds of other amazing things follow.”
Projects include a history of plant ingredients, recipes, instructions, tips and uses – common and surprising – juxtaposed to a photograph of the plant and completed product. “Harvest” also includes charts of project ingredient alternatives, references of terms and techniques for drying herbs, flowers, and citrus; dyeing; overwintering indoor plants, pruning fruit trees, succession planting, and winter chill hours. Resources for garden and product supplies are also listed.
“‘Harvest’ introduces the gardener’s version of that idea – call it a ‘fruit-to-root’ way of growing with an appreciation for all parts of the plant, from the first tender shoots in the spring to the pods and hips of late fall,” notes author Debra Prinzing, in the book’s forward. “I’ve learned so much from these two pioneers.”
“’Harvest’ is a practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide to living with an edible landscape,” conclude Bittner and Harampolis. “The plants in this book are not only remarkably useful, they make for stunning additions anywhere in your garden.”
Bittner is also the co-author of “The Beautiful Edible Garden” and Harampolis is also the co-author of the bestselling “The Flower Recipe Book” and “The Wreath Recipe Book,” and a co-founder/owner of the floral design company, Studio Choo.