Edible landscaping seems to be a hot topic these days. The idea of eating something grown in your back yard (or front yard, or deck, or wherever) is somehow very satisfying. You feel like you’re doing something good for yourself, and for the environment, all while laughing at the $5 pint of berries at Whole Foods.
One of the challenges of an edible garden is to make it look beautiful, throughout the year. One of the masters of this craft, and a real pioneer in the field of edible landscaping, is Rosalind Creasy. I had the pleasure of meeting Rosalind and touring her home garden in California this past September. During this visit, she shared with our group some advice on designing beautiful, edible gardens.
|Brick pathways and geometric raised beds provide form throughout the year|
Structure is key. In most climates, your garden will go dormant, so creating structure that is present year round is important. You can do that through hardscape, raised beds, architectural elements such as pergolas, trellises or fences, or by using objects of art in the garden.
|A low boxwood hedge provides a strong sense of structure, and can contain otherwise messy plants|
|A brick patio, amongst edibles and ornamentals, offers a great place to rest|
|A quiet sitting area amongst ornamental plants|
Combine edible plants with ornamental ones for the most interest. As long as the ornamental plants aren’t poisonous, they make great companions for many fruits and vegetables.
|The deep values of purple, pink, and green make a beautiful color palette|
Use the same design principals in an edible garden as you would in any garden. Consider color theory, textural interest, repetition and form.
|Bright red edible peppers are combined with bright red zinnias|
|A bucket of round apples juxtaposed with sword like foliage creates a fun vignette|
|Vegetables all harvested from Rosalind’s front yard|
|Rosalind explaining the elements of successful edible garden design
And, if the sunniest place in your yard happens to be your front yard, or side yard, go ahead and plant fruits and vegetables there! There’s no reason edible gardens have to be relegated to the back yard. With beautiful leaves, fruits and flowers, edibles can be used to create stunning gardens, wherever that works best on your property.
For inspiration on edible landscapes, Rosalind’s books and website are great resources for both the novice and professional gardener. http://www.rosalindcreasy.com