Tag Archive | "edible landscapes"

Great Plants for Edible Landscapes

There are hundreds of edible plants that would look perfectly lovely in a landscape, but some of them work better than others. Many plants won’t look very good later in the season, for example.

Some of them quickly turn dark and lose their leaves. You want plants that taste great, but keep their appearance long enough to be a practical part of your landscape. It’s no good to build plants that lose their looks in late summer into your landscape design!

Here’s a look at some of the best choices for edible plants for landscape design. We’ll mostly be including plants that require minimal care and look attractive, while providing something very edible:

‘Golden Streaks’ is a variety of mustard that has heavily serrated leaves in a beautiful golden citron color. It has a very mild taste, slightly sweet. This is a striking plant that has a wonderful flavor.

‘Hansel Hybrid’ eggplant is a stunning plant. It has a two-foot-tall plant that produces huge clusters of fingerling eggplants in a delightful deep purple hue.

‘Pesto Perpetuo’ basil is a one to two foot basil plant with absolutely gorgeous variegated leaves. The leaves are a rich green with a fringe of white. It tastes like Greek basil, but the appearance is wonderful in a landscape!

‘Purple Peacock’ broccoli is a hybrid cross between broccoli and two different types of kale. It has a purple stem and loose, purple head.

‘Violetta Hybrid’ pak choi is an amazing variety of this Chinese green. It has lovely purple leaves that are packed with more nutrients than many other types of greens!

‘Red Popper’ is a type of miniature bell pepper. The fruits are only about one to two inches in diameter and are very sweet and delicious. You’ll love the way these bright red peppers look against the rich, green foliage!

‘Sweet Lace’ grapes are a small, patio-sized variety of grape. They have very pretty leaves and produce pretty white grapes in September. These can be grown in containers, and they can also be trellised easily. They make a beautiful accent to a fence or wall.

‘Red Veined’ sorrel is a variety of this classic wild green. It has light green leaves with a truly spectacular series of red veins all throughout. The taste is very sharp, so it’s best in salads with mild greens. This one is particularly striking in appearance.

‘Purple Mizuna’ is a fabulous type of greens. They have a very tangy flavor, and grow very quickly. Mizuna greens are already quite attractive, but this purple variety is particularly nice.

‘Mittistone’ is a summer-crisp lettuce of the loose-leaf variety. The leaves are green with red speckles. It is a sweet, crisp lettuce variety that tastes as amazing as it looks. It matures quickly, and looks just as beautiful in your yard as it does in a salad bowl.

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Edible Flowers in Edible Landscapes

Most people grow flowers strictly for their aesthetic value. Not many people realize that there are a lot of flower varieties that can be eaten. Flowers can bring amazing flavor and color to salads, and make stunning decorations for cakes and other dishes.

Flowers can also be used to make teas, and their flavor extracts can be used in cakes, frostings, candies, and other foods. Many flowers are also very good for you. Roses are very high in vitamin C, especially rose hips.

Nasturtiums and marigolds also have a decent amount of vitamin C, and dandelion flowers contain both vitamin C and vitamin A. If a flower isn’t poisonous, it’s considered technically edible, but not all edible flowers are tasty.

Just keep in mind that you should be absolutely certain what you’re eating, because some flowers have poisonous look-alikes! You should never eat flowers if you have hay fever, asthma, or other allergies.

Never eat flowers that have been sprayed with any type of pesticide. And be sure to choose only blossoms that haven’t wilted. Remember, even edible flowers should be eaten in moderate amounts.

Some people may still have minor reactions to large amounts of edible flowers. Some common flowering plants should NEVER be eaten. Lily-of-the-valley is highly toxic, for example. Other flowers that shouldn’t be eaten include hydrangeas, azaleas, daffodils, wisteria, lupines, hyacinths, castor beans, rhododendrons, sweet peas, clematis, bleeding hearts, oleander, and calla lilies.

This is just a partial list! Always carefully research any flower before eating it, and even check varieties of the same type of flower. For landscaping purposes, you should probably concentrate on perennials.

Now let’s look at some of the very best blooming plants and flowers for landscaping. Remember, these are all perennials, since our purpose is creating landscaping:

* Dianthus comes in shades of red, white, and pink. It tastes similar to cloves.
* Daylilies come in many colors and taste a bit like squash or asparagus.
* Red clover has pink or red flowers that taste delicate and sweet.
* Tulips are mild and sweet and come in many different colors.
* Violets are slightly sweet, slightly sour. They come in pink, white, purple, and blue.
* Chives have beautiful pink globes of blossoms that taste very much like onions.
* Bee balm has pink, red, white, and lavender flowers that taste a bit like tea.
* Hollyhocks are slightly bitter and come in many colors.
* Borage tastes a lot like cucumbers, and comes in blue, purple, and lavender.

Perennials will continue to come back year after year, without the need for replanting each year. This is a very important part of landscaping, since landscaping should require only minimal maintenance.

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