Edible Landscaping: Beautiful and Practical

Edible Landscaping: Beautiful and Practical
by Sarah Duke

Lots of people are making the move to more natural landscapes. This includes gardens which showcase plants that are practical or which produce food. Quite a few vegetable plants are very striking, and many edible plants have decorative varieties. And with the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables increasing at a shocking pace, it might not be such a bad idea to produce your own.

Edible landscapes are usually made with perennial vegetables, which come back yearly without the need for replanting. Once planted, they provide you with food and good looks for as long as you take care of them.

Most of them just need regular water and feeding, and occasionally weeding and pruning, as well as insect control. If you plant the right vegetables, they can keep you supplied with delicious food for many years to come. Usually they will die in winter but revive in spring, experiencing a new growth cycle.

You might not want the responsibility of caring for a traditional garden. Normal gardens are a lot of hard work. A traditional garden will require constant activity – weeding, raking, hoeing, watering, fertilizing, and spraying. However, edible landscapes require scarcely more work than traditional ones.

This is all easier than you may think. You can simply replace some elements used in traditional landscaping with edible plants. For example, plant fruit trees rather than non-fruit bearing varieties. Wouldn’t you rather have say, plums than acorns? Many vegetables work well as ornamentals and can be planted in place of flowers and other landscape accents.

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Try combining edible plants with ordinary flowers and ornamental plants for an attractive arrangement. Many edible plants, particularly herbs, are good complements to a flower garden. You can blend many varieties of plants together to create a distinctive and appealing landscape.

The use of curly parsley enhances a variety of plants. It looks beautiful when planted in combination with other edibles, like strawberries, or flowers such as pansies and lobelia. Low shrubbery, such as sage and oregano, will add a practical beauty to your landscaping. They compliment your landscape greatly when used as edging in front of larger bushes.

Why not plant some leaf lettuce in beds as accents? Leaf lettuce comes in different colors and shapes – combine them for a stunning look, edged with a border of grass.

Plants with edible flowers come in many varieties. A lot of these plants may have more than one edible part. They can be very attractive pieces of a garden while in bloom. Sugar snap peas produce white, pink and purple flowers, plus they make really good peas.

Chives are a joy to behold with their purple flowers (edible and great in salads as well). The red and white flowers of fava beans add interest to any garden. Dill’s yellow, pleasant smelling blossoms are an attractive and fragrant addition. Salvia and sage boast blue and purple flowers which are a welcome sight and nasturtium (did you know the flowers are edible?) flowers are colorful.

Perennial vegetables and herbs are perfect for ornamental, edible landscapes, because they involve so little care and tending. Look for perennial broccoli, dandelions, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, sorrel, artichokes and Jerusalem artichokes, chives, fennel, garlic chives, ginger, and asparagus.

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