When you lack the room for a full size vegetable garden and you
think you can only have a few bedding plants and landscape shrubs alongside the
house....think again. Some of the most productive and attractive gardens are small
backyard combination gardens. Here are some idea's you can try:
Starting with ground covers, instead of moss or grass, use
everbearing strawberries. they are easy to grow and provide color and fruit all summer
long. For pathways there are several varieties of Thyme which are tasty, grow well and can
even be walked on. For colorful borders try planting different varieties of lettuce. They
come in a multitude of colors, shapes, and textures including rosettes and red mottled
leaves. Garlic and chives also make interesting borders and if let go to seed provide
interesting shapes. Instead of planting Alyssum, try Nasturtium. Nasturtium are coarse
textured, colorful, and both the leaves and flowers are excellent tasty additives to your
For middle of the bed bedding plants, try eggplant, peppers or any
of the Brocolli family including kale. They are medium height, have unique foliage and
edible fruits. The interesting fern like foliage of carrots planted around bedding plants
can add a soft (and tasty!) effect. Carrots also blend very well with Asters and Zinnias.
Even tomatoes make unique decorative landscape plants and cherry tomatoes are very
productive not to mention delicious!
For climbing plants, instead of roses, ivy, or morning glory, put
kiwi or grapes in their place. Beans and peas are also good climbers and provide plenty of
colorful blossoms and a tasty harvest.
For hedges, try raspberries. The everbearing varieties provide a
bountiful supply of delicious fruit well into fall. (Neighbors will want to help maintain
this hedge!) Gooseberries also make a good thorny as well as productive hedge. If you are
looking for shrubs, try blueberries..... they provide much color all season from pink
flowers in the spring to little green berries which turn burgundy then bluish over the
summer. Fall brings brilliant red/orange leaves and later the stems take on a bright red
color adding cheer to the winter landscape.
Of course, if you have the room, a few fruit trees like plum or
dwarf apple will provide a bountiful crop in just a few years. Also dwarf peach trees are
available and will grow very well if trained right against the south facing wall of your
house, and they too are delicious!
So there you have it...edible landscaping! It allows you to create
a beautiful, yet delicious setting by simply choosing plants which are attractive, and
edible. Have fun, use your imagination, and don't worry if your landscaping isn't just
like "the Jones's"!