Home owners are more aware of the beauty and ecological benefits of an edible garden, and some are hiring professionals solely for their help with adding a variety of edible trees, shrubs, and perennials to their landscape. Edible gardens can be used to perform many functions in the landscape while achieving design and practical goals. For example, to reduce erosion and out-compete weeds, creeping herbs can be used as ground covers.
Although many people are intersted in edible gardens, most are unaware of the ability these plants have as year round seasonal interest just like ornamental plants and gardens.
To create season long harvests and beauty, include variegated fruiting plants like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries as well as various fruit trees which can be placed in between evergreen boxwoods and yews. New dwarf tomato plants can be added to any landscape as a compact and colorful plant with red tomatoes all summer long.
Emily Tepe, author of "The Edible Landscape: Creating a Beautiful and Bountiful Garden with Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers", includes currants as easy-to-grow bushes which can be turned into a hedge by planting bushes about three feet apart in a row and pruning into shape in late winter. Tepe also says raspberries create a much rougher hedge but are also easy to grow and produce lots of fruit year after year. She says that herbs like parsley and cilantro are great for borders and the tall feathery dill is a great backdrop to a pretty display of flowers.
Arbors and trellises are great to use for climbing plants and winter interest. Varieties of beans
that have red flowers, purple or speckled pods are great for display on structures in the landscape. Plan to have a few plant varieties growing on the structures so when the leaves are gone in the winter, the structure becomes a garden element with the vines.
Make your landscape a little more productive by combining ornamentals and edibles into a truly personal landscape for your home. Having the landscape produce for you is not only beautiful and practical, but it's fun! Remember to always do a soil test before planting anything edible in your garden, or have the professional you hire complete it.