Cerbiesmom
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Edible landscaping

Any of you guys do any of this in your front yards? I've got a bed that's about 12'x3', and all it has in it is monkey grass, and a few hedges. So, I've got lots of room if I pull the monkey grass, which I want to do, it irritates me. I was hoping some of you had some pics of edible front gardens to give me some ideas. I'm very compulsive, and just stick things where there's a space at the time, but I'd like the front to look nice. I already put some bright lights chard in there. The neighbor across the street complimented it, then I told her I eat it like spinach, and she said I was crazy. Maybe I am, but I'm the good kind of crazy.
Anyway, the spot gets full sun in the Houston summer, and a fair amount of sun in winter. I was thinking about mostly greens so I can feed the iguana from the front yard, as her hibiscus is out there already. One stop iguana feeding would be ideal.
I'm also open to suggestions, if anyone has any.

gumbo2176
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When I first started reading your post, the first plant that came to mind was Bright Lights Chard. How about some leaf lettuces since they don't really get all that tall, come in a huge variety of leaf shapes, colors and textures. That size bed will keep you in salad greens for a long time. Also, some of the leafing Chinese Cabbages are nice looking and can be used in salads, soups and stir fry.

I pulled 30 ft. of soybean plants earlier this week and now have room in my garden for some of the above plants. Many, I already have and am enjoying them almost daily in salads.

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soil
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look up permaculture and forest gardens. both deal with edible and useful landscaping with conscious design for more efficiency and output.
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stella1751
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Consider some of the decorative peppers. I'm putting Super Chilies out front. They are a low-growing, spreading bush with dark green leaves, white flowers, and spikey yellow, orange, and red peppers. Very pretty!

Some of the peppers the other members are growing are absolutely lovely, with purple or blue flowers and peppers all colors of the rainbow. Oh. Fish peppers have white and green mottled leaves with striped green and white fruit that gradually turns red. I'm putting some of those out front next year, too. They don't get too tall, and I plan to mix them in with the Super Chilies.

I've been growing flowers each year as bee attractors. It occurred to me this year that I could just as well use a short, bush-type pepper as well. I'll have form and function!
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DeborahL
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Strawberries?
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microcollie
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If approached from the ornamental garden viewpoint, you'll want to consider getting a few things to vary height and leaf texture and not just go for colorful. I always plant my peas and beans on trellises in my perennial beds...they are beautiful when in flower and add nice height. Likewise my asparagus is the backbone of another bed. The soft billowy six foot tall foliage is a nice backdrop for other plants (and a brilliant yellow in the fall) Herbs make good front-of-the-bed plants, as do nasturtiums and most salad greens. Okra is one of the most stunning of all vegetable plants.

I guess that what I'm getting at is that, with the right design, almost any edible garden can mimic an ornamental bed. Just forego the rows and broad spacing that rules most vegetable gardens, and it can be beautiful. The trick is to water and feed the individual plants according to their differing needs instead of doing so to a whole row.

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applestar
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Do post photos when you have them growing :D
I don't know if these are anything like what you're envisioning -- I think I tend to be more casual :wink: but here's [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24892&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=edible+landscaping&start=0]a thread in which I posted photos[/url].

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jal_ut
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Kale and curly mustard have some beautiful greenery. Beets have pretty leaves too.
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garden5
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There are also pepper varieties that have small marble-shaped fruit that go through several color changes on their way to ripeness.

Another thing that comes to mind is the blueberry bush. It resembles an ordinary green bush in the summertime, but turns a nice red color in the fall (at lest up here they do, not sure about Texas). Oh, and then there's the delicious berries that you get to eat all year long.

Here's a neat list: [url=https://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Seasonal-Recipes/Garden-Recipes/Top-10-Edible-Ornamental-Plants]Top 10 Edible Ornamental Plants[/url]
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lorax
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Is your bed backed by a fence, or is it open?

If it's fence-backed, consider trellissed Hops, Hardy Kiwi, and Passionfruits as a backing (all of these provide fall to winter colour and interest), with sunflowers for seed as the tallest feature of the planting, and grading down into the bright chards, coloured lettuces, spinach, quinoa (which has edible leaves as well), and maybe even some of the smaller-vined zucchinis (like 'Grey') - although it may just be me that finds zucch foliage to be very attractive. :S

You can also grow vining-type tomatoes up a fence - pretty, and functional.

If the bed is open, I'd consider the perennial fruit bushes - blueberry, cranberry, and other acid-lovers in one area, and then blackcurrant, gooseberry, josta, and alkaline to neutral lovers in another. These all have lovely fall colours.

(huh, can you tell I've edible-lanscaped a number of peoples' front gardens? :() )

Cerbiesmom
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The asparagus is a good idea for the backdrop. I got some roots in a mixed bucket I got on clearance at Lowe's. I may have to move them up front in the spring. They didn't get enough sun to do anything where I planted them.
Thanks for the pics apple. I love the way those potato silos look, and the curvy edge along that fence. I may have to ditch the landscape timbers and make a more curvy garden. I think they look so much better. Yay, inspiration for me to clear that patch out over the winter.

Cerbiesmom
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lorax wrote:Is your bed backed by a fence, or is it open?

If it's fence-backed, consider trellissed Hops, Hardy Kiwi, and Passionfruits as a backing (all of these provide fall to winter colour and interest), with sunflowers for seed as the tallest feature of the planting, and grading down into the bright chards, coloured lettuces, spinach, quinoa (which has edible leaves as well), and maybe even some of the smaller-vined zucchinis (like 'Grey') - although it may just be me that finds zucch foliage to be very attractive. :S

You can also grow vining-type tomatoes up a fence - pretty, and functional.

If the bed is open, I'd consider the perennial fruit bushes - blueberry, cranberry, and other acid-lovers in one area, and then blackcurrant, gooseberry, josta, and alkaline to neutral lovers in another. These all have lovely fall colours.

(huh, can you tell I've edible-lanscaped a number of peoples' front gardens? :() )
You posted while I was posting. The bed is open, it's along the front porch of my house. I could possibly rig a fence at the back of one side, I could have a screened-in patio, lol. That might work for those passionflowers I'll be getting from you, granted they decide to grow for me. I was thinking of my blueberry. I wish I didn't already have bushes in there, I'd have so much more room if they werent' there.

And while I think sunflowers are gorgeous, I'm highly allergic to the plants and flowers. But I can eat seeds. I inherited that one from my dad. We get wicked hives if we're around them. Are the smaller Mexican sunflowers the same plant? For some reason it's in my head that they're different.

ANy suggestions for edible flowers that can take the texas heat and humidity? I think it would be fun to throw some flowers in a salad.

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lorax
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You can always move your blueberry... Who needs a lawn, anyway?

Mexican Sunflowers are a type of Chrysanthemum, so you wouldn't have the same issues with them as you would with Helianthus (true sunflowers). However, they're not edibles.

Edible flowers that will stand your heat/humidity include:

* Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp) - edible flowers, leaves, and seed buds, and in many cases also tubers.
* Oxalis tuberosum (you eat the tubers, but still...)
* Pansies - flowers edible
* Roses - flowers and hips edible
* Calendula and Tagetes marigolds (spicy!) - flowers edible
* Lantana camara - be cautious, it can be invasive. Flowers are very tasty, as are the berries that follow, and the plant attracts beneficial pollinators and butterflies like nobody's business. The leaves on this one are also medicinal and good in teas for upset tummies.
* Chinese Lanterns (Physalis alkekengi) - hugely decorative, with edible berries.
* The related Ground Cherry and Tomatillo (Physalis peruviana and P. philadelphica) - these ones have slightly showier flowers than Chinese Lanterns, but less decorative fruits.
* Quinoa (I think I mentioned it earlier) - this is a taller Amaranth-style plant that ripens to a rainbow of colours. Young leaves and washed, boiled seed are edible.

There are likely more, but my brain is a bit fuzzy this morning.

EDIT - Ooh, ooh! Gingers and their allies! These are perfect backing plants for an open bed, and all parts are edible. I'd be looking at Hedychium coronarium (White Ladies), Alpinia zerumbet (Shell Ginger) and Costus of some sort.

You should also look at banana plants - leaves are used as cooking wraps, and the fruit is the obvious benefit. However, the flower bud that persists after fruiting is also a tasty vegetable.

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applestar
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Great list, Lorax! 8)
* Lantana camara - be cautious, it can be invasive. Flowers are very tasty, as are the berries that follow, and the plant attracts beneficial pollinators and butterflies like nobody's business. The leaves on this one are also medicinal and good in teas for upset tummies.
[img]https://biology.missouristate.edu/herbarium/plants%20of%20the%20interior%20highlands/Flowers/Lantana%20camara%20-%202.jpg[/img]
I didn't know they're edible! :o I admit I looked at the berries and wondered.... They're not winter hardy here, I was unable to overwinter them last year, and I didn't get any this year. I wonder if they're easy to grow from seed? Red varieties like these are sold everywhere as annual bedding plants in spring, but I wouldn't trust those to eat them.

Hah! I see they're called "Red Flowered Sage" and considered invasive where they're hardy. But it sounds I might be adding this one to my list of take cuttings or dig up and winter over plants like Pineapple Sage. Also, I love Pineapple Sage for their flowers -- appearance and the way the last of the hummingbirds enjoy them -- (as well as using the herb) but they don't flower until the very end of the growing season and are often killed off by frost/freeze within a week of flowering. Lantanas might provide flowers during the main season. 8)

Cerbiesmom, can't wait to see what you come up with! Do keep us updated and post photos :D

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lorax
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Actually, AS, the Lantanas are more closely related to the Verbenas than they are to Sages. It's very easy to grow from seed, and once you've done that you can safely eat your berries because you'll know there are no pesticides on them. The variety in your picture is called "Fuego" here, and is one of the more popular types. Here are some of the colours found here.
[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4103/5044378243_2c4160be34_m.jpg[/img]
[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4147/5107308343_e562a98e97_m.jpg[/img]
[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4113/5062894011_c2c0669f71_m.jpg[/img]

Just a sidenote (Lantana is native here and very popular as a hedge plant) - the berries have these honkin' great big seeds in them, so it's best to either make jellies or suck the flesh off, like you would with chokecherries. Except that Lantana berries are pleasantly sweet and slightly lemony in flavour. I rarely get to harvest mine, because they're very popular with the little gold grossbeaks and crested sparrows that frequent my garden.

The gingers I'm talking about are these:
Alpinia zerumbet
[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4105/5044577540_e74d737648_m.jpg[/img]

Hedychium coronarium
[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4128/5060323116_892eac5da6_m.jpg[/img]

Costus spectabilis (aka Cheilocostus spectabilis)
[img]https://farm5.static.flickr.com/4127/5043968293_bfd62dd762_m.jpg[/img]

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rainbowgardener
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If you are interested in edible flowers, this thread

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=66667&highlight=edible+flowers#66667

has a list I did at one point, but somehow left marigolds and squash blossoms off the list. I also grow summer squashes in the middle of flower beds. They actually seem to do better there (the squash vine borers don't find them) and I think both the foliage and the flowers are quite decorative. You can eat the flowers as well as the zucchinis.
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Cerbiesmom
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rainbowgardener wrote:If you are interested in edible flowers, this thread

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=66667&highlight=edible+flowers#66667

has a list I did at one point, but somehow left marigolds and squash blossoms off the list. I also grow summer squashes in the middle of flower beds. They actually seem to do better there (the squash vine borers don't find them) and I think both the foliage and the flowers are quite decorative. You can eat the flowers as well as the zucchinis.
Well, that may be where I plant my squash next year, bc I tried 3 separate times this year, and the borers found them all. I'll definitely have a look at that list. Thanks guys. Love this forum.

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Re: Edible landscaping

HOA does not allow "vegetables" in the front yard, but I do have roses, nasturtiums, and lavender. I did have chives and daylilies and I might replant them again.
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