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Edible Landscaping Plants

Front-yard veggie gardens are gaining steam in some circles, but most people who grow edible landscaping plants in the front yard stick to herbs, bushes and trees that "go both ways." I.e., plants that furnish landscape color plus something to eat. E.g., not only can you harvest the berries off of blueberry bushes, but they afford excellent fall color, as well. There are edible weeds, too, but always check with experts before eating strange things.

Apple Trees: Pruning and Selection
Apple trees make good edible landscaping plants for the same reason blueberry bushes do: not only can you harvest the fruit in fall, but you get to enjoy an aesthetic feature of the plant during a different season. In the case of apple trees, that aesthetic feature is the springtime blossoms. This piece offers advice on selecting apple trees, plus a few tips on care, such as pruning information.

Weeds You Can Eat
In the case of some weeds, the most efficient and effective control measure may be simply to eat them! You might conclude that, in the long run, adjusting your attitude toward them and taking satisfaction from harvesting their edible parts makes more sense than spending time and money fighting them. Learn here about some of the weeds that qualify.

Dandelion Greens
Love 'em or hate 'em, this article about dandelions is for you. The first page is dedicated to those who have pledged an eternal war on dandelions. If you're not one of those folks, just click on to Page 2, where I discuss the dandelion's role as an edible landscaping plant. That's right: You can make use of all parts of the dandelion.

Hickory Trees
Have you ever tried extracting the meat from a hickory nut? Chances are, it was hard work for you. I have a tip in this article for harvesting that may help you in your future attempts at impersonating Euell Gibbons! But in addition to being edible landscaping plants, shagbark hickories boast two qualities that make them aesthetically pleasing.

Tricolor Sage
This edible landscaping plant reminds me of Thanksgiving. My favorite part of my mom's Thanksgiving meals has always been her stuffing, suffused heavily with the herb, sage. Tricolor sage adds ornamental value into the mix (the name provides a good hint as to its aesthetic features), but you can still use it in the kitchen.

Purslane: Wonder Weed
Purslane is another common lawn and garden "weed." Here again, instead of trying to beat it, you might want to try eating it! High in Omega-3s, purslane is not only succulent but good for you. Fancy-schmancy restaurants peddle it as a gourmet food.

Prickly Pear Cactus
You can, indeed, eat the eponymous "pear" of prickly pear cactus, as long as you prepare it properly. But edible landscaping plant or not, most people treat Opuntia humifusa as an ornamental. In that role, it allows folks in cold climates to inject a taste of the American Southwest into their yards.

Companion Planting: The Practical Side of Edible Landscaping Plants
I spoke earlier of the use of vegetables in the landscape. If that caught your attention, you might want to have a look at this story. It's about how and why the Iroquois practiced companion planting with beans, corn and squash. If you wish to juice up this trio in terms of aesthetics, there are many possibilities, such as using purple beans.

Flowers You Can Eat
Marie Iannotti, About's Gardening Guide, tells us that, in addition to admiring their good looks, you can eat pansies and many other flowers. Read Marie's article to learn what flowers you should be growing, you connoisseurs.

Timetable for Harvesting Fruits From Fruit Trees
You have to love edible landscaping plants that do not let you down in the looks department, either. Fruit trees and bushes that bear fruit are two of the best examples. But how do you know when to harvest their fruits? Consult this piece from Vanessa Richins.

Our Vintage Garden
Our Vintage Garden offers an impressive harvest of information about edible landscaping plants. For example, they have a whole section devoted to heirloom vegetables. The head gardener for the site is Scott Harris, a man who shares my own passion for plants. Scotty's "Musings of a Gardener" will both inform and entertain you.

Blueberries: Champion Edible Landscaping Plants
This Iowa State University Extension article offers information on drainage, sun and pH requirements for blueberries, including information on the best timing for planting, plus mulching, spacing and pruning considerations. I know from personal experience that it's easier to get fruit out of these babies than apple trees, which can be rather fussy.

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