Kitchen Garden Revival (a Book Review)


Kitchen Garden Revival is a brand new book from Nicole Johnsey Burke, a garden coach and designer.

First, it’s a beautiful book: hard cover, lovely photographs by Eric Kelley, clearly written, and both practical and inspirational subject matter. The subtitle says it all: A Modern Guide to Creating a Stylish Small-Scale, Low-Maintenance Edible Garden.

What’s it about?

Burke’s book has a fairly narrow focus: how to create your own stylish, beautiful kitchen garden. According to Burke, a kitchen garden is an artistic and productive space that elevates your home’s landscaping while providing fresh produce for your kitchen. Her kitchen gardens are less productive and harvest-focused than a traditional vegetable patch but much prettier to look at.

Who is it for?

This one is perfect for beginners as Burke gives detailed instructions on everything from building raised beds to sowing seeds, but even experienced gardeners will find inspiration in the photographs, at least. I recently created my own small kitchen garden with four square raised beds near my kitchen door, and I studied these photographs carefully for ideas on how to keep the mix of plants in my beds pleasing to look at it.

Borrow or buy?

Anyone who loves beautiful garden books will appreciate this one, but if you’re on the fence about making a purchase, keep in mind that those new to growing their own produce will probably get the most out of this book, while those who really want to build a kitchen garden–either on their own or with the help of a landscaper–will receive the most.

Final Thoughts:

Burke’s kitchen garden designs are not, perhaps, for the most frugal gardeners. But for those willing to spend money on their home’s landscaping, her designs prove that spaces for growing more of our own food–even just a few herbs–can and should be integrated into even the most elegant settings. While some rule-driven Home Owner’s Associations might baulk at someone turning their front yard into something resembling a farmer’s field, it’s hard to imagine anyone objecting to these gorgeous kitchen gardens.

Explore all our Black Barn Garden Library posts here.


Posted on

May 18, 2020

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