More and more people are moving away from the idea of simple lawns and towards making their outdoor space into more natural landscapes including useful, even edible plants! A lot of edible plants happen to be quite aesthetically pleasing; some vegetables and herbs also have ornamental varieties. It’s great to have your own vegetables – fuel costs are driving up the price of all food products, and produce is no exception.
If you’re interested in creating edible landscapes yourself, you’ll likely want to opt for perennials, since they will return year after year, saving you a lot of work each spring. After planting them once, these plants will give you food and something pleasing to look at for years to come.
These plants require little in the way of care; just watering, feeding, a bit of weeding, pruning and keeping any insect pests under control will be sufficient. There are plenty of perennial vegetable plants which are great choices. Remember, perennials do die back in the winter, so don’t be alarmed when your plants appear to go away in the fall – they’ll come back in the spring!
Perhaps you are a little leery of this idea – after all, doesn’t a vegetable garden require a lot of care? This is certainly the case for traditional vegetable gardens; however, edible landscapes require only a little bit more work than other landscape plants!
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.
Edible plants can also be mixed in with others to create your own outdoor look. Herbs in particular look wonderful planted among other, non-edible flowering plants. You can create any look for your garden or yard that you like this way.
Sage and oregano work very well as small shrubs, especially as edging for larger shrubs. Try planting curly parsley among flowers such as lobelia, dianthus and pansies. Strawberries also work well in flower gardens.
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.
Edible flowers are also a wonderful idea. There are plants which give in more ways than one. Snap peas, for instance. Besides producing peas, they also give you the gift of beautiful pink, white and purple flowers on attractive vines.
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.
Requiring little maintenance (and delicious), perennial herbs and vegetables are a fantastic idea in any landscaping. Dandelions, chives, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, ginger, asparagus, sorrel and more are all wonderful to look at and to eat as well.