Expanses of ornamentals planted chiefly for aesthetics in days past were available exclusively from the gardens of the strangest land baron or royal. There was little worth for the average citizen in spending time and resources cultivating plants which didn’t create something useful. The lawn was a scheme for raising plants used for food, medicine, seasoning, scents and more.
We no longer rely on the lawn solely because of its manufacturing value, nor will be a backyard composed entirely of ornamentals beyond the range of the average Joe or Jane. But doesn’t a garden composed of plants equally beautiful and productive make sense? Say hello to the blended garden — or what I affectionately refer to a cottage-potage backyard — in which fruits, vegetables, veggies and herbs mix freely with decorative species.
No have to bulge the veggie garden in with all the laundry line, trash cans, compost bins and other drab service areas. Sure, a veggie garden can look just a little punk from the off-season, but with just a little creativity, it doesn’t have to.
Beauty and Bounty
It is time to quit banishing the edibles to the rear 40 and deliver them front and center. Feature them. Flaunt them. Celebrate them. Mix edibles into your boundaries; plant vegetables and herbs in beautiful containers scattered throughout your outdoor spaces, add fruit trees along the curb strip. Want a shade tree? Pick one which provides fruit as well. Need to screen something from your own view? Try out a fast-growing evergreen fruiting vine.
By integrating edibles and ornamentals we receive attractiveness and Profession — while squeezing the maximum from the time and resources we invest in our modern day yard. You are just a couple of strawberry plants, a few lettuce seeds and perhaps a fruit tree or two away from your own beautiful and extremely productive cottage-potage backyard.
The cottage-potage backyard. I envision the historical predecessor of what I predict the cottage-potage garden could have appeared somewhat similar to this backyard, with edibles like kale (in the foreground), herbs and squash (adjoining to the house) implanted here and there along with scented flowers and ornamentals.
Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates
My own blended backyard. My garden has witnessed a lot of change over the 20-plus years I have been tending it. I started raising create in large, colorful containers set among flowering perennials from the curb strip and along the drive about eight decades back. The large pots provide lots of no-bend, clean-shoe gardening (my favorite kind). The pots are placed where there is good sun exposure and air circulation, providing construction, interest and color to the garden. They look good at the height of the growing season and at the off-season as well.
I come home at the end of the day and spend about five minutes between the curb and my front entrance. By the time I cross the threshold with a couple of new fare, I have figured out what’s for supper and decompressed from the pressures of the day.
Tip: To hold down prices, I selected baskets from the greatly discounted “moments, chips and dings” section at large pottery supply shops.
A space-saving, high-density producer. Watermelon is tucked below the towering hollyhocks to squeeze the maximum from this space within this free-spirited backyard.
Small distance? Espalier and graft. Apple, pearshaped, fig and other fruit trees are easily espaliered (trained to grow flat against a wall, a trellis or a arrangement of stakes). This espalier provides screening and fresh fruit.
Tip: Desire more types of fruit than you’ve got space for trees? Select “fruit salad” trees with multiple varieties grafted onto one espaliered plant.
Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates
Ditch that the orchard. Newly planted espaliered apple trees are at home in this perennial border, providing bushels of apples to go with an abundance of fresh blossoms. These trees have been trained as cordons,the familiar form of grape vines. Growth is restricted to a few main horizontal branches within easy access.
The cordoned apples provide needed screening for this front-yard backyard, and the nearby flowers attract pollinators, which improve fruit production.
Tip: Annual dormant-season pruning increases the number and density of fruit buds, so reducing the total footprint of this tree while keeping high yields.
This garden is located on a quarter-acre four-unit multifamily residential site in downtown Santa Barbara, California. Vegetables, herbs, ornamentals and over 30 fruit trees joyfully, beautifully and fruitfully coexist, thriving on saltwater. Discuss getting the most from your own resources!
AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc..
The contemporary edible. The blended garden easily adjusts to any garden design. Fruit trees are seamlessly incorporated into this contemporary outdoor living area, bettering the distance from just beautiful to bountiful as well.
Diane Licht Landscape Architect
Double-duty layout. A vine-laden arbor provides colour for an outdoor dining area and heaps of fresh table grapes. These vigorous vines aren’t too fussy about soil, can withstand periods of drought once established and, other than yearly pruning and a bit tying up, require minimal maintenance. Look at planting several varieties of grape on a large arbor for a cornucopia of fresh fruit.
Vines are not the only fruit which can be trained to increase overhead. Although slower than blossoms, lemon, lime, fig, apple and pear — to name just a few — are great options to cover an arbor or a pergola.
Tip: Utilize a deciduous vine like grape or kiwifruit in which you would like to have colour in the summer and sunshine in winter.
Mark English Architects, AIA
Variety is the spice of life. Look for interesting color and form from the wide variety of veggies, fruits and herbs out there. A wealth of exquisite forms and colours exist to add attention to perennial beds and containers.
Or try a twist on the veggie garden that you’ll be thrilled to feature front and center. In this picture, colorful row plants are put out on a jaunty angle, including movement and play to the article.
Glenna Partridge Garden Design
Harness the decorative qualities of food-bearing plants. Artichokes, for example, are stunningly beautiful integrated into a planting scheme. They provide color, texture and structural interest — and a delicious feast. Eat them when they are young and tasty for the freshest ‘choke you’ve ever needed, and leave a few to grow into huge, dramatic purple-blue blooms to cut and bring indoors.
Still favor a traditional veggie patch? No difficulty — maintain the vegetables together but give some thought to the layout and construction of beds. Break from the standard 4 feet by 8 feet raised wood beds lined up along the rear property line.
Give your beds design and an attractive layout that looks great year-round. Include a place for lounging, entertaining or dining. Low stone walls add enclosure, visual interest and extra seating within this united veggie garden and dining patio.
Huettl Landscape Architecture
Veggies plus play with. Raised Cor-Ten beds are superstylish and perform well with the steel-edged boccie court. Start looking for opportunities to integrate your veggie patch along with other outdoor spaces to find the maximum use, value and joy out of your backyard.
Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates
Powerful structure for powerful interest. This parterre-inspired veggie garden, with its strong architectural lines, is appealing year-round. Insert the playful sprinkler — which looks to be an armillary sphere if not in performance — and you have a vegetable garden that’s fetching sufficient for center stage.
Make raised beds a focal point. Rather than hide the veg patch out of view, these homeowners chose to cultivate their produce exquisite raised stone beds, which also serve as a focal point at the end of their own backyard. The stone walls provide extra seating for large gatherings and attract crops within easy access without the need for bending or stooping.
Experiments Aplenty Fill Vancouver Edible Garden