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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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In the Land of Dreamy Dreams (12/16/2012)
By Vicki Englich
Thatís about as much drama as I really want right now. The snow is a blank canvas that invites dreams to which I surrender, gladly. I snuggle up in my favorite afghan and leaf through books that showcase garden design, vegetable varieties, herbs and perennials, companion plants, bird sanctuaries, fruit trees, potting sheds, chicken coups, garden artÖ.

My imagination stirs because I have a stash of, letís face it, garden porn. Voluptuous eggplants! Firm, plump tomatoes! Pungent peppers! Naked Lady lilies! Color photos are the most provocative, of course, and garden memoirs can be quite captivating, too. Not exactly 50 Shades of Gray, but, seriously, winter is a productive time to explore new ideas and to plot my spring adventures. My urban farm will continue to evolve thanks to these hours of fantasy and dreams. I make notes; I make lists; I make promises to myself that I plan to keep.

For anyone who shares my interest in edible landscaping and isnít sure how to begin, I recommend a wonderful book by Rosalind Creasy, conveniently named, Edible Landscaping. This is garden porn at its finest since Creasy shares color photos of her own gardenís evolution as well as a text that instructs and informs. Creasy gardens in northern California, so we canít grow everything she is able to grow (thatís the fantasy part), but her concepts are applicable here. Another great resource is The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch. She gardens in Maine, horticultural Zone 4, like Winona, and shares her experience with vegetable, fruit, and flower varieties and their care. It is from Damrosch that I learned how to stake my raspberry canes. She and her husband, Elliot Coleman, have also written, Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from your Garden All Year Long. Greenhouse, anyone? The Edible Front Yard, by Ivette Soler, is a relatively new addition to the eat-the-view genre and is also worth reading.

In addition, anything from Rodale Press is worth reading. Promoting organic agriculture for decades, Rodale Press offers books about composting and everything horticultural. Iíve subscribed to Rodaleís Organic Gardening Magazine for many years, and have benefited from their years of research. Another periodical to which I just began to subscribe is Urban Farm Magazine. I found the magazine at a newsstand about 2 years ago, and its focus on city food production, including chickens and other small livestock, is valuable for those of us who want the best of both town and country. The Heirloom Gardener is also very good. All of these books and magazines, by the way, make great gifts (and wholesome viewing) for gardeners.

So, from my cozy chair to yours, have a joyful holiday season and a bountiful New Year!



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