So far this Spring I've had a parade of new perennial herbs, flowers & ground covers. I continue to plant more fruiting shrubs, vines & trees. Finally, my edible landscape is taking shape! When I first bought my home 3 years ago, I immediately began ripping out ornamental shrubs and trees to make room for edible ornamentals. A common approach in permaculture is to stack as many functions as possible from any given object.
Flowering herbs are sometimes edible (Oregano, Thyme, Chives & Rosemary), or consumed as teas (Echinacea & Chamomile). They may be medicinal (Comfrey). They benefit pollinators while providing habitat for beneficial insects. Their essential oils can help to deter pests (Lavender). The biomass from their clippings can be composted. All the while, they smell nice and are aesthetically pleasing.
Ground-covers offer a way to add a 2nd layer of plants to a spot that is already occupied by taller plants. They anchor the soil in place, preventing soil erosion caused by wind and water. They may be herbal in nature, like Roman Chamomile. They may serve as food, producing fruits (Nagoon Berry, Wintergreen, Kinnikinnick & Strawberries). They might serve as a grass substitute, reducing the need for mowing (Elfin Thyme). Certainly, maintenance is reduced as ground covers choke out any competing weed plants. Once a landscape bed is covered by a perennial ground cover, there is no longer any need to apply mulch in that location.
Vining perennials can enhance privacy by creating a living visual barrier of green (Maypop Passiflora). Their vertical nature means a small foot print (Chinese Yam), which is great for an urban setting. The ability to shade a sunny wall (Hard Kiwi) can reduce structural solar gain during hot Summer months. And of course, the ability to generate food is a vital function.
In a society that is concerned with malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies, how could we neglect the health benefits of fruiting shrubs? On my lot, I'm trying to amass a variety of berry crops. Beyond the basic blueberries and strawberries, I'm branching out. I've begun to plant Salal (an evergreen), Gooseberry and Currants in the shade. I'm using Goumis, which are nitrogen fixers and produce a lycopene rich berry. I'm trying out Lingonberries. I've also planted an Aronia (Chokeberry) which is rich in anti-oxidants. These plants create a pleasing landscape when in bloom. Pollinators are happy. Not much space? Sometimes these can be tucked in the understory of a larger fruiting tree as part of a fruit tree guild.
For fruit trees, I have 2 peaches, 1 apricot, 1 jujube, 1 persimmon, 3-in-1 Asian pear espalier, 2 types of columnar apples and a 4-in-1 peach / plum / apricot / nectarine. All of this with space to walk around. I hope this walk-through gives you a few ideas that might help you to expand your horizons! :D
#RaisedBedGardening #GardenDesign #PerennialPlant #LandscapeDesign #GrowYourOwn
Support AlboPepper.com and get some cool garden shirts that I designed myself: