Eat your landscape: Incorporate edibles into your ornamental landscape

May 7, 2010

By Christina Salwitz

Walking along the garden path can be a tasty experience if you add “ornamedibles” into your landscape. No longer is there a need for a segregated part of your property labeled “the garden.” You can add productive, as well as beautiful plants to every part of your yard.

By choosing to design a border with edible plants as well as ornamental plants, you extend the “roi” or return on investment for your property, too. Today’s smaller lots need to work overtime for every inch of value. Vegetables, fruits and herbs all deserve a space where they can grow and be prolific, and sometimes that means the front yard.

Sage or salvia officianalis offers a multitude of foliage colors to choose for your style of garden. Here is a photo of how the “tri-color” sage was used for a showy and “water-wise” border to a hot sidewalk. On the upper left is purple corn.

Blueberry shrubs

Artichokes are an elegant way to add drama to your landscape. The graceful, silver foliage will be a 4-foot-tall plant in a short time. And if you choose not to harvest the yummy blooms when they are young for eating, the flowers will add a drought-tolerant bit of excitement to your border.

There are a number of elegant, as well as delicious varieties of basil to use in the garden, either in containers or as mass bedding plants. Try “African blue,” a smoky purple-and-green foliage is accompanied by an abundance of purple blooms well in to the fall. Or try “purple ruffles” basil with its deep, eggplant-colored foliage that grows to two feet tall.

Blueberry shrubs make a handsome plant in landscape, especially when they are showing the sweet, white flowers in spring, the berries in summer and the fall foliage color. To maximize your space for delicious plants, underplant your blueberry shrub with strawberries. Just make sure you leave a stepping-stone or paver, so you can have a place to plant your feet while harvesting your bounty.

Christina Salwitz is a horticulturist/designer at Newcastle Fruit and Produce Garden.

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