aqh88
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Edible flowers and Perenials for a sunny location

On the west side of the house there is an area with no lawn growing that is about 2' wide by 5' long before you run into the air conditioning unit. Usually on the otherside of the a/c my mom plants her marigolds and cosmos but on the north end she told me I could do what I want. There are no trees around or anything to cast shade except the house and the area is pretty well contained by my stepdad's mowing and weed eater so even invasive plants aren't much of a problem. If nothing else they'll just escape into the hostas on the north side of the house and do no damage.

Last year I spread a whole bunch of wild flower seeds and had a little flower garden but not much of it seems to be coming up again. I'd like to add some colorful flowers and herbs, mostly perenials, and as much of it edible as possible. Mostly for my guinea pigs which we feed the equivalent of the BARF diet for dogs. They eat only hay and fresh greens we collect from the yard and garden everyday. Of all the commercial animal foods guinea pig and other small animal diets have the crappiest ingredients. I don't have much experience growing flowers aside from the marigolds and cosmos my mom grows every year so anyone have any suggestions? So far all I have are a couple spearmint plants started.

grandpasrose
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Hi agh88! Take a look at the topic below yours in this forum called "Edible Nature". It may be helpful. If you still need ideas, feel free to come back and ask for more - we'll be more than happy to help your little guinea pigs!! :wink:

Val
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aqh88
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I can find huge lists of edible plants but I have no idea what's perenial and what will grow in that spot. Google searching every single one would take me days. I was hoping to get at least 3 or 4 suggestions that will definitely be easy to grow there and then look into them more.

Currently I'm searching up wild violets since the guinea pigs decided they love them and one site said wild violets are full of vitamins. However wild violets seem just that, quite wild, and I know of lawns they've taken over despite mowing. Doesn't bother me but my perfectionist stepdad wants a perfect grass only lawn and he mows it as short as possible every week without fail. :roll: All the grass turns brown in the summer from his attention so I don't know if the violets would completely take over or not.

grandpasrose
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Alrighty then! First a tip. You might want to just give a bit of the violets to your guinea pigs. Although they are edible, they contain salicylate, which is commonly known as aspirin. In such a small animal, too much may thin their blood, or damage their organs somehow.

Perennial plants for sunny locations you can consider are:

- Pansies and violas
- Roses
- Daylilies
- Chrysanthemum (some are perennial)
- Bee Balm (Monarda)
- Carnations
- Astilbe
- Hen and Chicks
- Phlox
Hope those help a bit. Take care of those little guys!! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

aqh88
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Flowers don't make up alot of their diet but it's important for adding variety and some vitamins and minerals they don't get in hay and grass. Along with unlimited hay they eat about 1pound of grass and 1/2pound of various other greens every day. Right now most of those greens are things like dandelions from my aunt's lawn but the first lettuce in the garden should be ready next month. Then I'd also like to add 1-2 handfuls of flowers a day to their diet. For being little 2pound critters they can eat alot.

A shortened list is definitely helpful. I spent 2hours yesterday and only decided on carnations and nasturtium. I know nasturtiums aren't perenial but they seemed fairly easy to grow and the guinea pigs liked the nasturtiums in this edible flower mix I bought at the store once. I was also thinking of trying the bee balm if I can find it anywhere. I've never seen it so I'll probably have to order it online. Is any daylilly variety (Hemerocallis?) just as edible ? I saw a mixed bulb pack and was thinking of trying it. My mom would also probably be interested in a perenial crysanthemum that survives winters here. She has nowhere to grow them in the house and the ones she planted last year didn't come back this year. If I could find her some that would grow here being edible would just be an extra bonus.

grandpasrose
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I'm glad you're finding something that meets what you want.
Bee Balm is usually purchased as a plant at a nursery or garden centre. It is also called Monarda.
Yes, any daylily is just as edible.
Not knowing exactly where you are from, I can't tell what plant hardiness zone you are in to help find a chrysanthemum for you. If you let me know, then I can give you some suggestions.
Looks like you have a fulltime job keeping these little guys fed!! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

aqh88
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I'm in zone 5. It turns out my aunt has some daylilies that have propagated to the point she's out of sunny locations for them. She's going to give me the ones that aren't happy growing in the shade.

grandpasrose
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Excellent! One thing about perennials, you can usually find someone who is dividing theirs up and will give you a piece!
For chrysanthemums, I can give you this information, and they are all hardy in your zone. They are:
-"Chrysanthemum coccineum" (painted daisy) - several colors, 12-24"tall
-"Chrysanthemum superbum" (shasta daisy) - white, 12-36" tall
-"Chrysantemum Morifolium" (garden mum) - There are many different
cultivars of this one, they come in all different colors, sizes and shapes.

Hope this gives you somewhere to start. Have fun! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

aqh88
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I'll start looking for bee balm and crysanthemums but I live closer to the middle of nowhere than a gardening store. In my town you basically get everything from the 1 feed/hardware store or the little grocery store and they don't have too many options. They couldn't even get me guinea fowl when they had chick days. I wanted them for some natural(and entertaining) grasshopper eaters. :( I've pretty much given up and order just about everything online unless it's got a big weight charge.

grandpasrose
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You can order bee balm and chrysanthemum plants and seeds on line as well. Don't let that hold you back! :wink:

Val
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

opabinia51
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Salal Berries are also edible. Though, salal generally grows in shaded areas. I haven't actually tried them yet but, will this summer.

aqh88
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If I grow anything in the shade on the north side of the buildings I'd like to grow some of the smaller honeysuckle bushes. All the sun loving ones I've found get huge or vining and would not work for that location. Although I have a nice 400ft long chainlink fence that needs covered.

garden_mom
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Re: Edible flowers and Perenials for a sunny location

aqh88 wrote: So far all I have are a couple spearmint plants started.
If that spearmint has it's way, you won't have any room for any other plants, or for a lawn! I moved into a house with spearmint in a garden bed, and I never did get it all out, it just took over everything.

aqh88
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My stepdad mows the lawn every week without fail down to only about 1" in height. Over the summer it all turns brown and he throws up a dust cloud when he mows. Everyone has told him he doesn't need to mow then but he just argues and after he chops up the brown grass he'll comment about how the lawn looks so great. I wonder sometimes if he isn't blind... :roll: I doubt much of anything will survive to spread into the yard except the crabgrass and clover that's already taking over and maybe the wild violets would but I'm doubting if even those would survive.

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