Posts Tagged ‘Edible Landscaping’

Garden Update ~ Tulips, Trillium, Trout Lilies, and Trees

More blooms from the ever evolving yard! Today’s flowers celebrate the letter “T,” and represent just a small smattering of bee and butterfly delight. Yes, some hungry pollinators have already found our yard. In addition to the wild trillium I saved from a destroyed woods a few years ago, we’ve also got trout lilies from the same woods, along with still massive amounts of dandelions, plantain and wild violet, courtesy of Nature herself. I thought I’d share some of today’s more stunning displays:

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Behind those peachy beauties, you can see the later blooming magenta yarrow, which has become its own tough competitor in the colorful riot to dominate this permaculture haven. Continue reading

Garden Update: Bursting Forth and Bittersweet

I’ve been so busy with sessions and house hunting, which makes this season’s Dance of Spring a little bittersweet. The literally thousands of bulbs I’ve planted as recently as last Autumn have begun their smiling jigs and Sufi swirls. I still contend that this circle of miniature daffodils I planted around our North Star Cherry tree, visible from the stairwell’s window, was one of the very best gifts I’ve ever given myself:

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You can also see the chives poking through as they prepare to bloom in the season of alliums, while the Elfin Thyme ground cover awaits warmer weather.

As David and I view property after property, Continue reading

Edible Flowers

I just got a newsletter update from the Phoenix-based Agriscaping with Justin Rohner. We have snow on the ground here in Indiana, and I know much of the East Coast is undergoing “Snowmageddon.” Who doesn’t like flowers, though? If you live in a warmer climate zone, you can grow these now. If you’re shivering inside, you can start planning for spring or just enjoy the virtual blooms:

Lilies, Glads, Sunflowers and the Backyard Forest Garden

Mid-July has brought an explosion of white and color in the backyard (and front yard) forest garden. People keep asking about these white lilies — some of them taller than David — so I thought I’d share some of the abundance and beauty:

A peek at the edible ornamental backyard forest garden with black lace elderberry to the left, various currants and jostaberries to the right of the path, plus a potted lemon tree, and off frame to the right, hazelnut, aronia berry and apples:

backyard forest garden

You can see more of the raised beds that allow abundant growth over a yard full of juglone containing black walnut stumps. The beds are so full that you can’t really see the three beds of triple-tiered produce behind these green zebra tomatoes, bush basil, shiso, egglant, asparagus, beans, chard, and marigolds, but they’re spilling over with a mystery melon, tomatoes, Thai basil, cabbage and more:

The front yard has gone full on sunflower, gladiolus and lilies, so large that you can barely see the cherry and pear trees, blueberry bushes, hazelnuts, kale and kalette behind them:

front yard sunflowers and lilies

The bees are very happy here, too, with skirret, chives, borage, calendula, black eyed Susan’s, zinnias and elecampane:

nectary

It’s difficult to believe or convey just how non-magical this yard originally felt and looked. Yes, it does take work to maintain, but I actually spend far, far less time in the yard than I did for the first two years of living here. This year, I have spent more time harvesting than anything else: black and red raspberries, blueberries, currants, aronia berries, strawberries, sea kale, lettuce, herbs, asparagus, peas, green beans, pears, sour cherries, tomatoes, basil, garlic, onions, cucumbers, parsnips, cabbage, eggplant, flowers for bouquets and loads and loads and loads of greens!

We eat well, and many of the trees and shrubs have only just begun to produce. We look forward to the extra thirteen asparagus plants I’ve added to the blue house yard, along with more fruit and nut trees and shrubs.

Anyone can add food to their landscape! You don’t need 1/3 of an acre like we have here (minus the houses and garages). Espaliered fruit trees take very little room along a fence. Fruit and nut shrubs and trees can take the place of more traditional ornamentals. Special colors of vegetable plants make them look unrecognizable as food plants, blending into more traditional flower beds. You can use raised beds, plant in the ground, a Garden Tower, “big bag beds,” or any and all combinations of these to fit your space, time and budget. Too much shade? Grow currants. They produce buckets full even in deep shade. No room? Experiment with vertical gardening through trellises, teepees and tiered raised beds.

For me it’s not just about the food. It’s about bringing beauty and nature to an otherwise industrial, impoverished and forlorn spot of earth. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and all manner of insects abound in our yards, delighting the eyes and senses … and most importantly, the heart and soul. In a world of chaos, gardens offer a chance to bring peace, abundance and delight, along with grounding and natural anti-depressants. As David likes to say, what’s not to love?

If you missed spring and summer produce, it’s not too late to plant for fall. Look into cool season crops like kale, brassicas, Lucullus chard, beets, carrots, daikon radishes, and even very short season warm weather veggies. Check your seed packs for days to harvest and subtract from your average first frost date to see if you can still get a harvest!

Wishing you and yours abundance and joy.

 

Garden Update: Signs of Summer

I haven’t posted garden photos in awhile, and people have asked for an update. Today marked the first sunflower of 2016:

First sunflower of 2016

I’ve taken other photos in the past few days to give a sense of life in that middle period when few things bloom. Thankfully, in our yard, we still have signs of growth and color:

roses

These roses are slightly past their prime, but will bloom all summer with almost no work at all. Called Robinhood Roses, these lovelies are salt tolerant, drought tolerant, and don’t even require deadheading. Quite the change from the original weedy patch in the front easement!

The Garden Tower 2 has really started to take off. We’ve already harvested some green beans and kale, and I’ve got lettuce started from seed to benefit from increased shade once the older plants grow in:

Garden Tower 2Bean tower

I haven’t had the best luck with pole beans or soy beans this year, mostly due to critters, but this bean tower has managed to beat the bunnies’ munchies, along with marigolds, nasturtium, chard, and kale.

All the three-tiered beds are planted with polycultures. In this one below, you can see Thai and purple basils, bok choy, a volunteer tomato, various peppers, calendula, chives, marigolds, beets, and a volunteer watermelon. In the background is a hearty rhubarb and vigorous grape vine. You can just see the rocks of the herb spiral behind the picnic table, centered in what will eventually become the asparagus circle:

Raised bed

In the blue house yard, just planted last fall and this year, you can see that the tree stump turned herb spiral has begun to fill in. Those herbs need lots of nitrogen rich compost since the tree continues to rob nitrogen from the soil, but eventually, it will function as a nice, rich hugelculture bed, not to mention eyesore turned focal point. Behind the herb spiral, you can see paw paw trees, asparagus, geraniums and hollyhocks. To the sides of the herb spiral, we have also have 10 asparagus beginning to grow in. (Actually, 9. The squirrels got one, which will need a replacement.)

By next year, faeries willing, we should have 16 asparagus plants getting ready to produce. I wasn’t sure about planting so much asparagus, but after our two older ones started producing this year, David and I went gaga for grilled asparagus! We also fell in love with a nettle, zucchini and asparagus “lasagna” topped with shredded raw goat cheese after baking. Oh, my goodness: gluten free heaven! So many things taste unbelievably different when you grow them yourself, and our friend Jon keeps us well supplied with nettles. Anyway, the herb spiral, one of the paw paws and friends:

herb spiral

We’ve had a sort of mini-drought this year, which has delayed growth until the more recent rains of the past few days. Thankfully, between soaker hoses, tree rings and hand watering, I’ve managed to keep most of the new perennials, fruit and nut trees in good shape, minus that one asparagus and some geraniums.

I created a new “community” on the front easement in between the two houses. This one features a dwarf Reliance peach tree, three Hansen cherry bushes, a red twig dogwood, ground juniper, foxglove, comfrey, campanula, petunias, and aster. The second most recent community — or guild, as the permaculture folks call it — sits outside the south window of my writing office near the north side of our garage and includes one of the nine hazel trees, surrounded by alpine strawberries, hostas, primrose, nasturtium, comfrey, a gooseberry bush, kale (far away from the tree roots), kalette (a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, courtesy of reader Karen),  calendula, and one of the three zepherine roses on these properties. Those new communities are so fledgling that photos don’t show much, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

One particular joy comes from the day lilies I planted last year (also courtesy of Karen — thank you!!) by our back door, where David can see his favorite orange blooms on the way in and out each day. Did you know that every single part of day lilies is edible? Quite the versatile plant! I’ve not actually tried any parts, but according to Backyard Foraging, day lilies are one of the top edible ornamentals. I’ll leave you with some rain barrel and day lily cheer, in company of our mulberry tree, various mints, lamb’s ears, black lace elderberry and a bee-friendly shade flower mix:

Day lilies

Happy Growing!

17(ish) tips for Edible Activists

This list comes from the good folks at the Incredible Edible City of Todmorden in England. I think they’re great tips, but please ignore the “Magic is not possible” statement, as that’s already been proven false.

😉

What?! You haven’t heard of Todmorden? Watch and be inspired by something “anybody can do, anywhere.”

Like what you see? This list helps you replicate it in your locale.

Garden Update ~ Sunflowers, Sun Oven Brownies, and Sunny, Oh, My!

OK, let’s get this out of the way first: despite all the lovely photos I’m about to share, the coolest thing to come out of the yard this past week was … Sun Oven brownies! Gluten-free vegan, moist, filled with chia and black bean goodness, melt in your mouth delicious Sun Oven brownies, to be more specific.

sun oven brownies

Even better? I made them for our friend Sunny’s (of Sunny’s Korean Restaurant in Mishawaka) Fourth of July potluck, which was an amazing mix of people Sunny has met over the years, mostly through her restaurant. We love her, and apparently, a ton of other people feel exactly the same way. She has possibly moved more concrete and rocks by herself than I have in order to create a backyard garden sanctuary, but she’s got chickens, so she wins the prize. Or at least some eggs. 🙂 Anyway, we had a great time, and the brownies were a hit. They tasted way better than when I baked them indoors for the Faery Workshop. Note to self: the Sun Oven makes everything better!

Speaking of sun, today, our first sunflower of the year opened:

It's a little guy, only 2.5 feet tall right now.

It’s a little guy, only 2.5 feet tall right now.

Things are blooming like crazy:

coneflowers, liatris, cardoon, and yarrow

coneflowers, liatris, cardoon, and yarrow

Carrots gone wild. The level of “good bug” activity in this bed alone is off the charts. It’s like mini-Manhattan for umbrel lovers.

borage and black eyed Susans next to the elecampane I needed to tie to a trellis because it kept flopping its six foot tall self over the Susan's

borage and black eyed Susans next to the elecampane I needed to tie to a trellis because it kept flopping its six foot tall self over the Susan’s

hollyhocks and lilies still going strong

hollyhocks and lilies still going strong

zinnias started flowering last week, but the red ones just came out -- shown here rhubarb, parsley, tomato, collards and calendula

zinnias started flowering last week, but the red ones just came out — shown here rhubarb, parsley, tomato, collards and calendula

another zinnia getting cozy with kale, nastrutiums, borage, bell peppers, beets and basil

another zinnia getting cozy with kale, nastrutiums, borage, bell peppers, beets and basil

brassicas loving the bed now almost cleared of the earlier pea and fava bean cover crop

brassicas loving the bed now almost cleared of the earlier pea and fava bean cover crop

cukes going up AND down the trellis

cukes going up AND down the trellis

our first cucumber from a few days ago, pictured with lacinato kale, cilantro and peas. peas, peas, peas ... tasty, but tedious!

our first cucumber from a few days ago, pictured with lacinato kale, cilantro and peas. peas, peas, peas … tasty, but tedious!

potatoes still looking good in their bags -- one of this year's experiments

potatoes still looking good in their bags — one of this year’s experiments

south side of that same trellis

south side of that same trellis

basil, peppermint, and soaker hoses, because it finally stopped raining long enough to need to install such things

basil, peppermint, and soaker hoses, because it finally stopped raining long enough to need to install such things

fairy tale pumpkin going gangbusters

fairy tale pumpkin going gangbusters

Nasturtiums, malabar spinach and cushaw squash race to the trellis. Who will win?! Looks like the cushaw's bowing over and out (of the bed)

Nasturtiums, malabar spinach and cushaw squash race to the trellis. Who will win?! Looks like the cushaw’s bowing over and out (of the bed)

The front yard's so lush now. This view's from the driveway.

The front yard’s so lush now. This view’s from the driveway.

Stay tuned for a very exciting announcement regarding the blue house. More to come after my PA trip.

Cheers and happy harvesting!