The must-have book for the horticulturally curious, from the Unconventional Gardener Emma Cooper
Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs picks up where other gardening books stop. The benefits of growing your own food are well-known: you know what’s in your food (and what isn’t) and, if you do it properly, the environmental cost is much lower. You may be able to save money, and you’ll certainly eat the freshest food available, get some fresh air and exercise and re-acquaint yourself with natural cycles. All that and tasty veg are enough to persuade many people to pick up a spade.
But what on earth drives people to seek out unusual fruits and vegetables? Why do some gardeners push the boundaries of their plot to breaking point by trying to grow crops out of their natural habitat, or those that have resisted commercial cultivation?
In Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs you’ll meet some of the people who do just that, and as they share their passion with you you’ll see amazing plants through their eyes. And for those of you who catch the bug, Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs has profiles of some less common crops that you can try in your own garden – easy unusual edibles that will grow alongside your carrots and tomatoes.
Praise for Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs
@emmathegardener i stop and research/shop plants every few lines of this book! !! If I grow popcorn it’ll be your fault! 😉 so ace! 🙂
— alethea claire blant (@AletheaBlant) March 13, 2016
“Like any good gardening book should, Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs had me jotting down additions to the list of things I want to read (Stephen Barstow’s Around the World in 80 Plants springs to mind) and the list of plants I want to grow (mung beans and the Japanese wine berry) this year or next.”
Joan Lambert Bailey, at Japan Farmers Markets
“Gardening books tend to fall into two camps, large coffee table volumes of unattainable images or dry pithy tomes that the average person on the street would need degrees in both horticulture and science to even start to fathom out. For the purposes of this review we are going to have to reclassify Emma’s book because it fits neither genre and needs a class of its own.”
Fran Pimblett, at theroadtoserendipity
— Modern Veg Plot (@ModernVegPlot) November 25, 2015
“Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs provides a rich and appetizing seam of references to unusual edible plants alongside engaging stories of people who seek them out and grow them.”
Alison Tindale, from The Backyard Larder
“If you’ve read Mark Diacono’s A Taste of the Unexpected or James Wong’s Homegrown Revolution, Emma’s Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs makes a superb companion to these volumes. It also stands in its own right as she delves deeper into the history of unusual edibles, the plant hunters who moved them around the world, and today’s enthusiasts who are ensuring these crops aren’t forgotten.”
Michelle Chapman, of Veg Plotting
“If you’re having trouble deciding what to try or you just want to learn more about some interesting plants, check out Emma Cooper’s book.”
Daniel Murphy, of Awkward Botany
@emmathegardener I just bought a copy great book!
— IncredibleVegetables (@IncredibleVeg) December 20, 2015
Reviews, readings and interviews
All Things Bright & Beautiful
Japan Farmers Markets interview part 1
Japan Farmers Markets interview part 2
Japan Farmers Markets review
Oxfordshire Master Composters
The Alternative Kitchen Garden Show
The Backyard Larder
The Cats Tripe
The City Planter
The Garden Deli
The road to serendipity
Weeding the Web