Beyond Herbs: Edibles in your landscape design

Aronia Blossoms courtesy of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Ever since we shared the blogs with you regarding container gardening, I have been thinking about edibles for the garden.  Some of the questions that are running around my mind are:  Why should we plant edibles in our gardens?  How can I use edibles to make my garden beautiful and what types of edibles can I plant?

So after taping into the knowledge of the fabulously eco-minded landscape designers at St. Croix Valley Landscaping, I was able to find some pretty nifty answers to my questions.

  1. Why should we plant edibles in our gardens? Beyond the simple answer of, so we can eat them, comes the idea that we are stewards of our land.  Meaning, there are many animals, birds and insects that benefit from having edibles in our landscapes. From berries and herbs to edible flowers, planting with the enjoyment of all the creatures we share this earth with, will bring beauty and function to our personal landscapes. What’s more, planting your edible landscape will get you outdoors, interacting with nature and having loads of fun!
  2. How can I use edibles to make my garden beautiful? Ohio State’s Horticulturists recommend, “To start simply, consider a one-for-one substitution. Where you might have planted a shade tree, plant a fruit tree. Where you need a deciduous shrub, plant a currant or hazelnut. Where you have always had chrysanthemums, plant bachelor’s buttons—you can eat them. Edible plants come in nearly all shapes and sizes and can perform the same landscape functions as ornamental plants.”  One rule of green thumb to remember is, choose what you love, you’ll be more likely to care for it more carefully.  Don’t forget to consult a professional when you get stuck, he or she can help you design the edible garden of your dreams.
  3. What kind of edibles can I plant? Getting this answer was so much fun!  I never imagined that there were so many types of edibles that looked gorgeous as well.  Here’s a sample list of edible plants, trees, berries and even flowers that you can choose from.  This is by no means an exhaustive list and you can contact the experts and SCVL for more information, but this will at least give you a start.


  • Try Blueberry, Raspberries and Elderberry bushes for pops of color and sweet treats to boot.


  • Crab Apple and Chokecherry Trees are gorgeous and can offer shade and pie fixings when ripe.


  • Did you ever think of eating your day lilies or calendula flowers?  They can pretty up your yard, draw in those hummingbirds and be a great addition to your next salad.


  • Plant colorful pepper varieties next to flowers and spice up those beds!

As you can see the possibilities are endless.  Imagine a yard full of beautiful plants that you can eat.  Imagine it, call in some help then make it a reality!


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One Response to Beyond Herbs: Edibles in your landscape design

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