Monday, May 2, 2016

Landscaping: The Edible Backyard

Take a step outside and focus your attention on your landscape. Really look at. What do you see? There are colors; many, many colors. There are also tons of textures and shapes dappled within the staggering rows of perennials and in the masses of lush shrubs. There is also wildlife. Lots of wildlife; birds, squirrels, rabbits and possibly deer.

Are you missing anything? Chances are you are missing perhaps the most underappreciated aspect of the modern day landscape. The edible backyard. There are so many trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals that are both quite tasty and beautiful additions to your landscape. “Double threat plants” as I call them, are quietly lurking in your everyday backyard, are just waiting to be utilized by you and your family. If you don’t possess any edible plants yet, there are many appealing plants you can incorporate into your landscape.

There are the obvious choices like fruit trees or grape vines. 

One to try is the Serviceberry. It puts on a beautiful show of white flowers, followed by some of the most delicious berries you will ever eat. You must be quick though as the birds will make short work of the tree as soon as the fruits are ripe.

The underutilized walnut and less common pecan tree are also great shade providers in addition to their nut providing benefits. The Paw-Paw tree produces the largest native fruit in North America. Find a good sheltered spot and this tree will not disappoint.

In the shrub department, the chokeberry (make sure you know when to pick and how to process) is both beautiful and useful when it produces its tight clusters of dark purple berries throughout the summer. Again, you will have to fight the birds for your share in to harvest, but it will be well worth it.  The stunning serviceberry I referred to above also has a shrub like variety for those of you with space constrictions. Last but not least is the fragrant rosemary shrub. Its strong woody stature and thin leaves make this culinary herb a no brainer.

There are tons of fun perennials and annuals you can incorporate into your beds. From the colorful foliage of rhubarb and swiss-chard, to an intriguing head of kale, many garden herbs and vegetables will make a strong, beautiful stance in any landscape. A couple of my personal favorites are common kitchen herbs; chives and dill. Both of these perennial herbs create beautiful displays of delicate flowers among-st the swanky edible foliage.

Another planting option that is always fun is a "tea steeping" garden. Plant anything that can be made into tea. Borage, camomile, mint (spreads like a weed!), lavendar, and the list goes on.

There are two things that are certain when keeping a landscape: first, the landscape will require time and effort to maintain, and second, the landscape will bring happiness and ease to anyone around it. What better way to maintain and enjoy your landscape than to utilize it as your personal, health garden.

Give your seeds a jumpstart with our Dr Willard Water Plant Catalyst!