Article: Edible Landscaping: Yum, Let's Eat The Yard
Edible landscape design enables you to have your flowers – and eat them, too. Of course, fruits and vegetables are obvious choices for edible landscaping, but planting them strategically according to size, color and season can provide foliage and flowers that enhance your yard and create fantastic curb appeal.
Consider where you’d like to begin planting edibles in your yard. Perhaps a backyard bordered by a bed of herbs or fruiting shrubs is a great place to start experimenting with edible plants. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano are easy to integrate into and existing flower bed or border space – and can be planted next to flowering plants to provide texture and visual interest. Dill, basil, chives and fennel have delicate and beautiful buds of their own to liven the landscape.
White snap peas and ornamental kales are vegetable plants that add an exotic touch. But beware of rabbits! Veggies planted next to ornamental flowers can quickly turn your yard into Mr. McGregor’s garden! Consider short fencing for a veggie patch – it will allow you to enjoy the beauty without the worry of cuddly invaders chomping your harvest.
Many berries are seasonal but can be fragrant and attractive. Blueberries thrive in the fall in winter, while a strawberry patch makes a cute and clever groundcover for the summer months.
Edible flowers are used to decorate cakes and spruce up salads, but be careful to plant them separately from plants that are toxic to humans and animals to prevent cross-contamination. Also, it’s important to purchase organic varieties as well as organic topsoil to avoid chemical contaminants. And, of course, ALL pest control must be nature-made (i.e. lemon juice and vinegar spritzer). No one wants to eat a plant covered in harmful pesticides.
The mall petals of Nasturtium have a peppery flavor and beautiful garnet and golden hues. Violas make a rich addition to a bowl of salad greens. Blue borage is a garnish with a sweet flavor. Hibiscus and elderberry flowers are rich in vitamin C.
Make a list of the types of edible plants you’d like to include in your edible landscape, then arrange and plant them, keeping color, size, and seasonality in mind.
Remember to do your research on which edible plants thrive locally – and double check with your local garden center about the safest and easiest varieties to grow and consume.
A lakeside farm and garden set in a valley at Kukui’ula, a luxury residential community and private club in Kaua’i, Hawaii, which is known as the “Garden Island.” Photo courtesy of Kukui’ula.