Hickory Farms Newsletter – February 2016

Happy February!

I hope you are enjoying the ”slow season” and the indoor activities that help get us through an Ohio winter. This month I’d like to talk about another trend in gardening that you might be reading about.…………the edible landscape. While I love to eat and am practical enough to appreciate working edibles into an ornamental landscape, there are many issues with this idea in general.

First of all, ornamental landscaping is primarily intended to enhance the appearance of your home environment. Ornamentals are selected for best decorative qualities. Edibles are not. Consider large fruited eating apples which are pruned hard for production verses an ornamental crabapple with tiny decorative fruits and abundant flowers. Consider the maintenance aspect. Most edible plants require high maintenance, which is exactly what we don’t want in general. It sounds good but I don’t know very many people who are willing to spend the time it takes spraying and pruning fruit trees just to get a few scabby apples. Don’t get me wrong, if you have 5 – 10 acres and want an orchard that’s another story and another job. But to put a fruit tree by your patio or at the front corner of your house when you have a small lot probably won’t work out too well. Many fruit trees require specific pollinators so that one tree won’t produce fruit anyway.

On the other hand, there are some nice ornamental plants that are edible. Did you realize that daylily flowers are edible and used in oriental cooking? Chokeberry is a colorful shrub for shade with small decorative fruits that are extremely high in antioxidants. Rhubarb and Asparagus have decorative foliage and can be worked into beds.

When we design a landscape plan we like to work in a “kitchen garden” in full sun for growing herbs or salad vegetables. But such a bed is not very attractive most of the year so it is best located in a “private area” behind the house or a fence.

I enjoy a challenge. Ask me about your particular situation and we can help you figure out what will work.

Hang in there……………..next month is March!