It’s easy for American gardeners to feel intimidated by the Brits’ example. They have a land of ample rain and moderate temperatures, and passionately care about plants. We have weather extremes and “yards” instead of “gardens.”
But just before the Fourth of July – celebrating our nation’s independence from you-know-where – a colleague sent me a note: “I thought it was interesting that the land of gardening was following America’s lead,” she said.
The message was accompanied by an article from the Guardian: Seeds of change: cabbages and carrots could replace flowers in royal parks.
It notes that London’s royal parks may soon see some flower beds converted into vegetable plots to demonstrate to residents how they can grow fruits and vegetables even though they live in a big city and may not have any land of their own.
Earlier this year, city officials came to the US to see how it’s done here. They were impressed with a project in Chicago’s Grant Park that demonstrated the principles of edible landscaping – plantings of vegetables and fruits that are attractive, maybe even as good-looking as flowers.
All of this isn’t new, even if it’s taking on more urgency in the current economy. Rosalind Creasy, the guru of edible landscaping has been preaching -- and demonstrating the practicality of this -- since the early 1980s. She has a fabulous new cookbook, by the way: "Recipes From the Garden."
Its seems that everyone is finally jumping on the bandwagon to promote gardening that’s practical as well as attractive – and the US is leading the way. If we stick with it, it may mean culinary independence for many people on both sides of the Pond.