Do you like the idea of growing a few edibles in your yard but the idea of a dedicated vegetable garden doesn't quite fit in with your landscaping plans? If this is the case, consider incorporating some undercover edibles into your existing beds and borders. The following are a just a few ideas that are just as beautiful as they are food-producing, so they work well in ornamental gardens.
Idea #1: Plant berry hedges
Not all berries grow on thorny brambles, although blackberries and raspberries can be a welcome addition to a hedge. If you want low bushes that are attractive with or without berries, consider planting blueberries instead of a purely ornamental shrub. Another option is to go with serviceberries. These small, shrubby trees can be planted as a hedge, where they produce beautiful plumes of white flowers in spring followed by sweet berries in mid to late summer.
Idea #2: Fill out with foliage
Foliage plants are a staple in flower beds, since they can provide an attractive backdrop to blooms and help fill the space when flowers are between blossom periods. Instead of planting hostas and ferns – garden staples that you can't eat – take a look at the variety of cabbages, chards, and lettuce types available. Ornamental cabbages and kale,for example, come with lovely large leaves that feature a variety of textures, from smooth to rippled, and they also boast a rainbow of colors on their leaves. No one will even realize these are edibles tucked into the cutting garden.
Idea #3: Swap flowers for herbs
Many herb plants, both perennial and annual, double for garden flowers. The gray-green leaves of sage pack a lot of flavor in the kitchen, while the pretty purple flower spikes provide color each summer. Chamomile, famous for its use in tea, is also a pretty daisy-like flower for the garden. Is yellow a favorite color? Then consider tucking a few dill or mustard plants between the summer annual flowers in your beds.
Idea #4: Keep ground cover edible
Even your ground cover plants can be swapped for edible varieties. Thyme may be the most popular because many of the creeping varieties produce small, pretty flowers and a lovely herb scent – and the leaves are edible. You aren't simply limited to herbs, either. Lingonberries produce creeping foliage plants that are covered in bright red berries that you can eat. Even the foliage turns a lovely crimson in the fall.
Contact a landscaper, such as Greatland Tree Service, for more ideas and inspiration.