There’s a growing subculture of gardeners who are breaking from the traditional vegetable garden and bravely going where few gardeners have gone before. The days where vegetables are strictly relegated to wooden boxes or a small patch of land tucked away in the back corner of the yard are coming to an end as the trend towards sustainable, functional, and edible landscapes takes hold.
What exactly is an edible landscape you may be thinking?
To keep it simple, an edible landscape is the integration of food-providing plants into traditional ornamental or decorative landscapes. The purpose of this combination of garden style is to create multi-functional and decorative spaces that allow gardeners to get more use out of their land.
For example, rather than using a traditional ivy or vine plant on a wall or patio area, you can grow grape vines for a European style landscape. Or instead of buying popular ground covering plants such as lambs ear, grasses, or bishops weed, you could introduce more functional ground covering herbs such as Mint, Creeping Thyme, or Creeping Rosemary. The “Creeping” varieties are just the same as the culinary favorites but are easy to maintain and are beautiful ground covering plants.
Edible landscapes are an exercise in creativity and critical and “outside the box” thinking. Designing and these landscapes successfully must be done with proper care and consideration for the plants involved.
Regardless of how much you may want your tomato plants in the shade next to the Hydrangeas, it’s not practical because tomatoes need lots of sunlight. A better alternative depending on the amount of shade may be a blueberry bush. When laying out your edible landscape, make sure that it’s both practical and functional.
This integration of edible and decorative landscapes is not a difficult one, the toughest part is embracing the idea that they can work together to create amazing and functional spaces. As the world trends towards more sustainable living, the popularity of edible landscapes is projected to grow rapidly.
In addition, as private and community gardening spaces in major metropolitan areas and suburbs becomes increasingly more difficult to access, the more you should consider blending the decorative with the edible to create beautiful spaces that can also aid your culinary exploits.
Even if space isn’t at a premium for you, edible landscapes are a great way to show off your gardening expertise and creativity while also providing some entertaining dinner conversation with friends and family.
With peak gardening season just around the corner, take your leap into edible gardening with herbs and vegetables and watch your culinary expenses drop while culinary exploits flourish. You can start by integrating herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, and oregano into your landscapes along with you flowering perennials and annuals.
Preparing your garden for the upcoming growing season? Check out these 5 Early Spring Gardening Tasks.