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Edible Landscaping – Fruits and Veggies as Ornamentals

Edible Oasis in the Ornamental Landscape

Have you ever looked at your lush, ornamental garden and thought, “There’s got to be more I can do with this space”? Well, my friend, the answer may lie in your own backyard – or front yard, for that matter. It’s time to think beyond the traditional flower beds and hedges, and embrace the delicious world of edible landscaping.

I’ll never forget the day I stumbled upon Brie Arthur’s podcast episode on “Foodscaping” – it was a total game-changer for me. Brie, a self-proclaimed “garden evangelist,” shared her story of how she transformed her HOA-restricted front yard into a veritable edible oasis, all while maintaining an incredibly beautiful and cohesive landscape design.

Brie’s journey began when she realized she could save money on groceries by growing her own produce, but her homeowner’s association prohibited her from installing a traditional vegetable garden. Never one to be deterred, Brie decided to get creative and start “foodscaping” – incorporating edible plants right into her ornamental landscape.

A Delicious Transformation

Brie’s strategy was simple, yet ingenious. She started by sprinkling vegetable seeds among the existing ornamental plants in her landscape beds. Within six months, she was harvesting enough produce to feed her family and four of her neighbors! And get this – her HOA was so impressed by the stunning results that they awarded her the coveted “Yard of the Year” title. Talk about a win-win!

As Brie continued to experiment with her foodscape, she discovered even more ways to blend the practical and the beautiful. One particular area of her landscape, a large 850-square-foot bed separating her home from the street, had traditionally been planted with the usual suspects – boxwood, potentilla, hydrangea, and the like. But Brie had a better idea.

Instead, she filled this space with grains – yes, grains! – as well as a few flowering shade trees. The result was a stunning, show-stopping display that not only fed her family, but also became a popular backdrop for family photos and school picture sessions. And when it came time to refresh the bed, Brie simply mowed down the grain stalks, turning them into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Talk about a sustainable solution!

Rethinking the Ornamental Garden

Brie’s story got me thinking – how many of us have untapped opportunities right in our own landscapes to grow something delicious and nutritious, all while maintaining (or even enhancing) the beauty of our outdoor spaces? After all, the average American home includes about 1,250 square feet of landscaping – the equivalent of 48 average-sized raised beds. That’s a lot of potential for an edible oasis!

The key is to shift our mindset and start seeing our gardens as more than just a canvas for ornamental plants. By incorporating edible crops into the mix, we can create landscapes that not only delight the eye, but also nourish the body. And the best part? It’s easier than you might think.

Choosing the Right Edible Plants

When it comes to edible landscaping, the possibilities are endless. From leafy greens and vibrant veggies to juicy fruits and fragrant herbs, there’s an edible plant to fit just about any style or growing condition. The key is to choose varieties that not only taste great, but also enhance the overall aesthetic of your landscape.

For example, let’s talk about Swiss chard. This versatile leafy green not only packs a nutritional punch, but its vibrant colors and striking leaf shapes make it a beautiful addition to any ornamental bed. Or how about basil? With its compact growth habit and range of leaf sizes and colors, it’s the perfect edging plant for borders and pathways.

And let’s not forget about the showstoppers – eggplant and cardoon. These elegant, architectural plants bring a touch of drama to any landscape, all while offering up delectable edible rewards. In fact, I once stumbled upon a stunning front-yard edible landscape that featured eggplant as the star attraction. Talk about a conversation starter!

Overcoming Challenges

Of course, no gardening journey is without its challenges, and edible landscaping is no exception. One common concern that often comes up is dealing with pesky pests like deer, rabbits, and voles. But Brie has a few clever tricks up her sleeve.

For starters, she’s a big fan of planting crops that are naturally unappealing to these unwanted visitors, such as garlic, onions, and arugula. She also likes to line the edges of her beds with potato vines, whose foliage is actually poisonous to many mammals. And let’s not forget the power of diversification – by mixing edibles in with her ornamental plants, Brie creates a healthier, more biodiverse ecosystem that confuses and deters those hungry critters.

Another potential hurdle is dealing with restrictive HOA covenants, like the ones Brie faced when she first started her foodscaping journey. But her advice? Get creative and work with the landscaping you already have. There are so many beautiful edible plants – from Swiss chard and parsley to eggplant and cardoon – that can seamlessly blend into an ornamental setting. It’s all about shifting your perspective and seeing the potential in every inch of your landscape.

A Healthier, More Sustainable Future

As I’ve learned more about the world of edible landscaping, I’ve come to realize that it’s not just about growing a few tomatoes or herbs. It’s about rethinking the way we approach our outdoor spaces and taking a more holistic, sustainable approach to gardening.

By incorporating edible plants into our ornamental landscapes, we’re not only reducing our reliance on the industrial food system (with all its environmental and health implications), but we’re also creating healthier, more biodiverse ecosystems right in our own backyards. Think about it – when we grow our own produce, we develop a deeper appreciation for the effort and care that goes into bringing that food to our plates. And when we can harvest that produce just steps from our front door, it’s a game-changer.

Getting Started

If you’re feeling inspired to dive into the world of edible landscaping, the good news is that you can start small and work your way up. Brie’s advice is to begin by sprinkling a few vegetable seeds or transplants among your existing ornamental plants, and see what happens. Maybe tuck a few compact basil plants along the front of a border, or dot your landscape with vibrant Swiss chard.

And don’t be afraid to get creative with your choices. Explore the wide world of edible and medicinal plants that can thrive in your specific growing conditions, whether that’s under the canopy of a black walnut tree or in a sunny, open bed.

The key is to start small, have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, the true beauty of edible landscaping lies in the journey of discovery. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to turn your garden into a delicious oasis!

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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