A cover for Mike Lascelle’s new book on edible ornamentals.

A cover for Mike Lascelle’s new book on edible ornamentals.

Gardening: Help build a better gardening book

I am really excited about this next project, which will be an in-depth look at edible ornamental plants.

Well, I’ve got some good news – I finally landed another garden book deal. I am really excited about this next project, which will be an in-depth look at edible ornamental plants, to be published by Douglas and McIntyre in the spring of 2018.

I know that seems like a long way off, but a comprehensive A-Z guide requires a lot of research and photography, particularly if you hope to produce ‘the’ ultimate reference on edible landscaping.

But before I get ahead of myself, I’ve got a few people to thank.

The one thing that really impressed the editorial board and the publisher was the diversity of edible ornamentals being produced here in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

Many of these nurseries have put up with my odd requests to photograph these plants and it was those images of ‘persimmons and mulberries’ (Erica Enterprises Ltd.), ‘Eddie’s winter wonder’ olive and ‘hardy orange’ (Specimen Trees Ltd.), ‘tea camellia’ and ‘Japanese pepper tree’ (Piroche Plants Inc.), ‘hardy ginger’ and ‘wasabi’ (Red Barn Plants) and ‘curry leaf ‘(Heimat Farms) that really helped close the deal.

I also would like to thank Ray Mattei of Tropic to Tropic Plants in Delta for putting me in touch with all the foodies out there growing the lunatic fringe of edible plants. He opened a door of new culinary possibilities with ‘Michigan mangoes’ or ‘PawPaws’ (Asimina triloba), black jalapeno peppers and the rare hardy lemon tree (Yuzu junos).

Then there were all my friends (Wolfgang, Rose, John, Jack and Astrid, Betty and Klaus, among many others), who introduced me to unusual edibles and let me photograph them in their respective gardens.

Last but not least are the customers at Amsterdam Garden Centre, who are always bringing me some new herb or fruit to sample, including the gentleman who recently brought me a bouquet of elderberry flowers (Sambucus nigra) from his garden so I could brew some delicious cordial, which tastes just like spring in a glass.

So here comes the part where I need some help. Although I think I have a comprehensive listing of edible ornamentals, time has taught me that there is always something new out there to discover. So if you believe that you have an unusual edible plant growing in your yard, I would like to hear about.

Also, I am looking to photograph some existing edible gardens, so if you have or know of an established landscape that combines both edible and ornamental plants in a pleasing aesthetic manner, then I would love to visit it and take some shots for the book.

You can contact me by email or by visiting me at the nursery.

The inspiration for this project actually came from millennials or the next generation of gardeners who, despite a lack of growing space, manage to cultivate an amazing array of edibles and are always on the look-out for something new.

I think this trend explains the sudden growth in community gardens (the Bonson Road garden in Pitt Meadows is doubling in size) and the influx of dwarf fruit trees and edibles of any kind at most garden centres.

People just want to grow their own food and their reasons vary. Some just enjoy the pleasure derived from the gardening process, others want pesticide or GMO-free produce, and many have realized that growing your own food (even in a limited fashion) makes good economic sense.

In any case, I promise that this book will inspire you and help you to create that edible Garden of Eden.


– Mike Lascelle is a local nursery manager and gardening author (hebe_acer@hotmail.com).