Viewing & Eating the Landscape


by Sharon Coral

Landscaping is all about beauty; the rose bushes of every color; the ornamental grasses that can make the outside of your home look like anything from a cabin by the sea to a New England colonial with an emerald green swath outside. But landscaping doesn’t just have to be about beautifying your property. By planting the right ornamentals, you can also feed you and your family with foods that are green and healthy!


edible-flowersHaving a garden is one thing; many people across the globe love getting out there with Mother Nature and growing the perfect tomato or best tasting corn they could possibly grow. However, there is more than just the ‘basics’ you can grow, and some of the most amazing foods are categorized under edible ornamentals.


The idea of edible landscaping really became huge back in the 1970s, but it has sprung up again in 2013. Having these tasty ornamental plants that make your property look better is a hobby that’s growing day by day. In other words, if you want that perfect hedge row around your property, you can plant hedges that actually produce edible nuts, fruits, or the perfect ingredient for green cooking.


To give a better idea of the edible ornamentals out there; serviceberries happen to be the most popular. Whether it be in tree or shrub form – depending on what you want decorating your property – this ripe fruit can be eaten off the vine, so to speak, and can also be made into jelly. See that? Not only do you have a great tasting addition to your family meals, but those shrubs will be the perfect privacy screen that also produce beautiful fall foliage.


Grapes are another very popular choice. But it’s not only the Concord grape that reigns supreme. Everything from Bluebell to Valiant grapes can be used. And there are also seedless grapes that stand up to the cold weather. Many landscapers and homeowners want that California valley winery look, so planting these vines along fences is a great trick.


Not a fruit fan? There are also a variety of walnut edible ornamentals that can be used as shade trees. One variety, called the Japanese heart nut, is used in smaller yards; whereas walnuts are used for larger projects because they need more maintenance.


Most hazelnut shrubs will grow the exact same as a stunning lilac shrub, by the way, and provide even better value because of the edible concept.


And, no, fruits and berries aren’t all there is. When it comes to the veggie world, there are great ornamental plants and shrubs that enhance the landscape and make the dinner table look much more inviting. Oddly enough, they are also beautiful to the eye.


Red Russian Kale is a great food source, but the beauty of the plant outshines many found in your flower garden. Velvety, grayish-green leaves with dark purple stems, the Kale grows two-to-three feet tall. This gives the homeowner a stunning sight, as the huge leaves darken to purple and continue to thrive no matter what Old Man Winter does.


One of the best-named edible ornamentals is the Cherokee Chocolate Tomato. Just as the name states, these are red-and-brown and produce a juicy side dish for any meal.


Yellow is a very cheery color for your landscape, and Papaya Pear Squash is just the thing to bring that yellow sunshine into the picture every day. These  light bulb-shaped squash grow on semi-bushy plants throughout the growing season, and squash is still a huge favorite when it comes to having the right veggie on the table.


The ornamental strawberry is also stunning. Offering an expansive ground cover, bright-pink flowers arrive along with an occasional imagescrop of edible berries. With a little imagination, these plants can beautify a home in many ways, such as being planted so they can trail from window boxes and add color to the home on even the grayest of days.


And there are so many more. So when you look around that slightly boring or dark property and want a new planting idea to bring it back to life, start planting the edible ornamentals. A stunning home on the outside and a very happy, well-fed family on the inside is what you’ll receive.


Source: BeFirst Media Group / Baret News Wire