Posts Tagged ‘Edible Ornamentals’

Edible Landscaping Secrets

I get so many questions from people about permaculture, edible landscaping, Robinhood roses, and “permaculture in pots” that I thought I’d list some of the top things I’ve discovered here. This is by no means a comprehensive post — just sharing some of the beauty and a handful of general tips. (If you would like personal assistance with your own situation, this month’s Property Reading Special can include that.)

Combine Flowers with Veggies:

One of the easiest ways to sneak edibles into a “regular” landscape is to intermingle them with flowers. Passersby will notice the blooms but not the edible. This purple iris and columbine camouflage purple and green radicchio. The taller, vibrant plants distract critters from the radicchio, while the lower radicchio covers the soil and keeps it from drying out so fast. The radicchio is so well hidden that I forgot it was even there, until I found it un-nibbled and happy in the slight shade provided by the purple maple and taller flowers:

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Even trickier, you can plant edible flowers like nasturtiums, violets, hibiscus, borage, and roses. Many herbs like sage and lavender flower as part of their life cycle, and squash blossoms are not only beautiful but delicious!

Consider Color:

Many vegetables come in unusual colors beyond what you find in the grocery store. Sources like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds specialize in rare and colorful varieties of garden classics. Even standards like red chard can play nicely with coordinated snapdragons and pansies like we have approaching our front door:

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Garden Firsts: Columbine, Iris, Sea Kale, Rhododendron, Roses, and the Portable 2017 Garden

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Stunning columbines this year! It is crazy windy today, so some of these photos aren’t as clear as I’d like. Too pretty to keep to myself, though. 🙂

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Flowering sea kale, is an edible perennial that looks good all season. Even better, you can eat every single part from roots to shoots to leaves to buds to flowers:

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The first of many varieties 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:

Seen Today in the Garden

The fairy tale pumpkins are just starting to grow, so imagine my surprise when my eyes fell upon this huge green striped cushaw squash!

green striped cushaw

I thought I’d show some different perspectives today, since I usually shoot from the front of the yard, facing back. Here’s the view through the back gate, in an archway of poke:

through the back gate

The back alley is also starting to fill in, although next year, the forsythias will be more than little twigs. Wildflowers, day lilies, and Maximiliam sunflowers bring welcome touches of color to an otherwise weedy spot. I’ve got cold hardy gladiolus and hollyhocks on the perpendicular side of the garage, facing the apartment’s parking lot.

back alley

I almost never take photos of the ugly view across the street, but these sunflowers have so kindly faced their most beautiful blooms at the best angle to distract from the ugliest view, while I await the growth of my serviceberry and rose hedges up front to shield this yuck. Vertical gardening projects abound in this yard, buffering views on three of four sides, but the front has resulted in a riot of color. The yarden has grown so lush that it actually feels like a complete non-sequitur to look from one side of the street to the other:

sunnies

Along with sunnies, we have plenty of bunnies, pictured here with black raspberries, patty pan squash, tomatoes, calendula and borage:

bunnies

The area behind our garage (the back garage by the alley actually belongs to our landlord) has turned into quite the companion planting party, with even an animal transplanted watermelon groundcover twining around a currant bush:

backyard

The backyard beds still look lush from behind. Sometime, we’ll have a gazillion parsnips since I let this one go to seed. I can’t bring myself to cut it down, since it looks like a tree and has cucumbers and pumpkin twined all around it.

back beds

The cardoon looks just as impressive as my friend Patricia promised me it would — very popular with the bees, too!

cardoon

These beds have overflowed, and you can’t even see the sweet potato vines starting to climb the trellis behind the deadheaded elecampane:

side backyard

Our Guarden Bed’s cold frame support needs repair before the other two hinge points break. I’ve got the parts, just haven’t had the time yet with David to implement the switch. Meanwhile, garlic chives have flowered, and a slow start “zinnia” turned into a sunflower, joining masses of cucumbers and fairy tale pumpkins.

Guarden bed and garlic chives

That’s all the photos for now. I was outside observing the yard next door while Gardener’s Supply has their Summer Clearance sale happening, just in case I need, you know, more garden stuff. 😉 Yesterday, I picked up an inspiring copy of “Foodscaping,” by Charlie Nardozzi, and I can’t wait to get that yard going!

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!

Early August in the Gardens

Some photos from today’s wandering in the yard. 🙂

Gourd

So far, I love everything about this Serpent Gourd plant! A single plant has covered my 4′ x 8′ trellis, and then some. The leaves are edible; the flowers are innocent and delightful; it’s completely resistant to normal curcubit diseases; and from what I hear, the young gourds are like a white version of zucchini. This will be fabulous, since we mainly use zucchini for making raw food “pasta” or dehydrated “French fries.” We won’t need to explain the green to any skeptical guests.

Pumpkin

The Fairy Tale Pumpkins have also begun to blossom, and they look so pretty in their polyculture with Scarlet Runner Beans, red geraniums, borage, sea kale, peppermint and calendula.

From the north

Even the view from the north side of the gardens looks lush. This peppermint has flowered, and continues to provide many, many iced teas for me, David’s sister and other guests. The zinnias seem to like it, and some beans have claimed the mint as a trellis! To the left, you can see a watermelon bed, more zinnias, borage, and to the upper left, my new periwinkle blue raised bed. I couldn’t resist! I have wanted one of these since I saw a similar wooden one years ago on the cover of Gaia’s Garden. When Gardener’s Supply put them on sale, I figured I can always use another raised bed. Plus, it will provide much needed color in the winter.

apple tree

In other exciting news, my 5-in-1 apple tree, which I planted bareroot a couple weeks ago, has new leaves! You can see it here with one of the strawberry plants that will eventually provide groundcover over the mulch.

Cottage garden and Mini Mt. Mulchmore

Speaking of mulch, here’s part of the front yard cottage garden, looking out toward the street. On the easement, you can see Mini Mt. Mulchmore, which will hopefully disappear today, only to be replaced by its larger cousin as I continue to mulch out pretty much the entire yard before replanting. That very front area with Mini Mt. Mulchmore will eventually become a dedicated hummingbird garden to appease the little guy who now calls our yard home.

butterfly garden

Our butterfly garden up front appears to be more popular with the bees than the butterflies.

Butterfly on Liatris

For some reason, the butterflies appear to prefer the same plants in other parts of the yard.

morning glory

No matter, though, our entire yard is a pollinator’s delight!

Bee and Butterfly garden

I am seriously considering a beehive next year, but I’d rather get on the list for the guy in South Bend who keeps wild bee populations all over Elkhart and St. Joseph’s Counties.

Cardoon!

Once this cardoon (a relative of the artichoke) blooms, we should be even more popular with the bees.

Guarden bed

In case it seems like mostly flowers growing, rest assured, we have a lot of food, as well. The “Guarden” Bed cold frame supports have become a summer cucumber trellis, with vinyl trellis wrapped around them and reinforced by bamboo poles. I still haven’t decided if I’m pleased or disappointed that my “Brussels sprouts” plants from Whole Foods turned out to be very large cabbages. I think I’m pleased, since David’s sister found two fermenting crocks for me. We will have some yummy sauerkraut, and unlike the Brussels sprouts, those cabbages can come out soon enough to plant fava beans for winter soil replenishing.

Also shown in the above photo: some prolific Red Russian kale, marigolds, geraniums, mint, cilantro, garlic chives, parsnips, carrots and lima beans, plus in the far background, sunflowers, cantaloupe, basil, mint, zinnias, calypso beans, grape vine, calendula, borage, watermelon and pumpkin. We will have loads and loads of cantaloupe and a respectable crop of watermelons, but they are not ripe yet. Alas, every day, I sniff the cantaloupe, but it’s not ready. As my friend Raven tells me, “Patience, grasshopper!”

Blessings and abundance to you!

Late Afternoon in the Garden

This is one of my favorite times of the day in the gardens — not due to the temperature, but due to the quality of light. I love how it seems to stream from heaven over all the flowers. Too pretty to keep to myself:

back gardens 7-13

back beds 7-13

bed bed 7-13

tomatoes, pumkins, gourds and melons

more maters 7-13

purple coneflower with lavender in back 7-13

white lilies

front herb bed 7-13

scarlet runners

sunnies

front flowers 7-13

looking over the back beds 7-13

Blessed Be!