Growing your own food has taken on a new dimension. Tomatoes, squash, and Swiss chard are all making their way into the landscape. Perhaps you don't have room or time for a full-out vegetable garden. Maybe you only want to grow one tomato plant and some kale, or the only sunny spot might be in the front yard. It's time to think outside the box, or in this case, outside the garden, and consider edible landscaping.
The foliage of many edible plants are very attractive and offer interesting texture and color when planted among perennials, trees, and shrubs. In the photo above, the broad colorful leaves of Swiss chard, Japanese mustard, and artichoke add interest when mixed with thyme and rock garden plants.
Above: A trio of edibles with chartreuse foliage make a lovely contrast with the burgundy leaves of Astilbe.
Above: Create a border of edible collard greens, Japanese mustard, onion, and broccoli. Add in flowers and pockets of salad greens. The fairy statue gives the bed an ornamental, whimsical touch.
Above: The blue-gray leaves of cabbage plants mingle nicely with daffodils, dusty miller, pansies, and lettuce.
Above: Think of ways to introduce edible plants into your existing landscapes: The lavender-colored Scabiosa could easily be replaced with chives; the dark leaf Coral bells could be substituted with ruby lettuce; plant garden sage instead of dusty miller, and lemon grass in place of ornamental grass.
Above right: The red stems of Swiss chard are striking with a red petunia in a container.
Above left: Plant an edible vine to scramble up an arbor. Scarlet runner bean is a great option and grows quickly.
Above: This vine is truly edible: it's Malabar spinach! The stems are a deep purple and thick leaves are tasty in a salad.
Above: A final source of inspiration is this quilt-like planting that includes cabbage, several kale, and Swiss chard along with marigolds, hostas and tropical plants.
It's a new growing season, and a new way of looking at the food you grow, so think outside the box - oops - garden. Plant the carrots next to the daisies, peas with the pansies, and tomatoes with the cosmos. They'll all be happier growing as companions in the garden, and they make an pretty, interesting landscape, too.
Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy.
She's the authority on the subject and we have her book here at BGC! It is so inspiring. Seriously. It'll make you rethink how you landscape and soon you'll be growing pole beans in place of clematis and tucking salad greens in with your perennials.
All photos are from rosalindcreasy.com or pinterest.com.