A variety of plants and shrubs can add a range of texture and color to an outdoor space. But more than providing something pretty to look at, many plants can also transform a yard into an edible landscape.
"Blackberries are probably the most commonly and easily grown berry in our area," said Jane Waldrop, the owner of The GreenSmith.
In fact, they're so prevalent that "most people don't even know they're growing them," she said.
The berries, which grow on a vine, are ideal to grow on a trellis.
If you opt to plant the vines, don't expect an immediate crop of berries.
"It's a two-year cycle to actually get berries," Waldrop explained. "After the first year, the cane develops fruit."
There are a variety of shrubs that will offer only leaves, but some, such as the blueberry, will give you fruit and flowers to boot.
"Blueberry shrubs give pretty flowers in the spring and pretty, red leaves in the fall," Waldrop said.
There are a number of low-growing, spreading plants that will create an excellent ground cover, junipers and ivies being two of them, but don't forget that strawberries also serve as an excellent ground cover, aside from the fruit that they bear.
"Put them out in February, and then begin to harvest them in May," Waldrop said.
Like all plants used in the landscape, edible plants grow best in certain conditions. Many, but not all, do best when they receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. Most also like well-drained soil. Parts of your yard that satisfy these conditions are good places to start an edible landscape.
Most edible plants will require a certain amount of attention. They might need a little extra watering, pruning, fertilizing or pest management.
There are other things growing in your yard that you might find appealing to the eye and satisfying to your taste buds.
"Pansy flowers are edible, and so are the blossoms of day lilies," Waldrop said. "There's even a recipe for day lily soup, but I don't think I'm going to try it."
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