Edible Landscaping’s hidden inspiration

Ken's 4 Winds Visit Pics 2012 024_2We’ve been talking about Edible Landscaping and Ornamental Edibles (OE) for at least a decade now, and many nurseries have hopped on the bandwagon to grow and sell them to searching customers who want in-ground plantings or miniature potted forests they can cart to the next rental home.

OE owes a debt to the Queen of Edible Landscaping, Rosalind Creasy.  Her website provides great recommendations for nice looking selections that work in the Pacific Northwest.  Many online nurseries, including the one I work for, offer a variety of deciduous and evergreen OE, including pomegranate, olive, fig, persimmon, blueberries, citrus and more.

Thanks to the rise of edible landscaping philosophy, people are expanding their thinking about best use of available sunny yard space.  Espaliered fruit trees are the new norm in an era of yard space maximization and attention to quality.

A recent L.A. Times story points out that the proliferation of gardeners committed to eating from their own backyards has rekindled an interest in growing ‘clean crops’ that are as pesticide-free as possible.  Why not be inspired to grow produce with the best flavor possible? My own taste tests comparing Organic Meyer lemon fruits (which I grow myself) with those collected from conventionally grown trees leave me with no doubt: Organically grown Meyer lemons taste much better; flesh is sweeter, rinds are milder.  Try it for yourself and see.

One need only look at this alarming image of a citrus tree suffering from RoundUp (Glyphosate) poisoning, to realize that even the world’s most popular herbicide poses risks. Especially when used incorrectly, pesticides pose real threats to the garden and gardener alike.

The trend for growing your own doesn’t stop with edibles.  Were it not for legal ramifications and perhaps some (arguable) aesthetic ones one can imagine productive fiber gardens of mulberry, hemp, flax, milkweed, nettles and sunflower.  As aesthetic tastes broaden and homeowners associations develop more expansive policies for allowable plantings, I hope we can continue to look forward to ever greater productivity from average yardscapes.


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