A Garden House Call

This spring was the season that I decided to transform my boring front landscape. I intended to spice it up with a variety of ornamental edible plants, native perennials, and herbs. A former row of common yews gave way to an unusual mix of shapes, sizes, and color. This transformation enlivened the landscape and brightened the front of my home.

It All Started with a Garden House Call

It all began last fall when a friend dropped by and made a Garden House-Call. The goal was to draw up a blueprint and design the garden layout. These plans included suggestions for the specific plants that I could include in my ornamental edible landscape. So I had a plan but didn’t move fast enough to implement things before winter rolled around.

That was fine. The break in the growing season gave me plenty of time for research. I explored the uncommon edible shrubs and berries that would make a perfect addition to the front yard. Several Internet-based nurseries provided plenty of information and offered many of the fruiting varieties that I was looking for.

Adding Unusual Berries and Edibles to the Landscape

The ornamental edibles I selected for the garden included the following:

  • Black and White Currents
  • Aronia
  • Elderberry
  • Chilean Wintergreen
  • Lingonberry
  • Chernika
  • Carpet Raspberry plants

I had difficulty deciding which plants would be ideal for the location and our climate. However, I’m optimistic that these all will survive and do well here.

I placed orders for the edible plants during winter. When spring returned I turned my attention to native perennials. I wanted to incorporate perennials into the landscape to add colorful blossoms.

The perennials also support the populations of beneficial insects. These insects visit the garden to provide pollination and prey upon many of the destructive insects.

Making Room for the Native Plants and Insects

The Native Plants in the Landscape Conference at Millersville University took place at a perfect time. I was able to purchase the native Butterfly Weedplants to stock the new garden bed. I selected Butterfly Weed, Cardinal Flower, Boneset, Milkweed, and Joe Pye Weed and other native plants.

Now it was time for the hard work of pulling out the yew hedges that had been in place for at least fifteen years and to work the soil up for the new beds. I considered tackling this job myself but fortunately I came to my senses and decided to hire a professional to do the heavy lifting!

The Plant Place Garden Center is just around the corner from my home and they were happy to come out and remove the shrubs, till the area, add a couple loads of topsoil, and prepare the ground for planting. With the hard work done I was excited to take on the fun part of laying out and planting everything that I had collected for the new garden.

Including a Few Oddballs in the New Garden Bed

In addition to the ornamental edibles and native perennials I added a section of herbs including sages, thyme, oregano, chives, rosemary, and nasturtiums. A few common landscape plants like sedum and yucca made it into the garden and I couldn’t resist slipping in a couple veggies in the form of two miniature varieties of hot peppers.

Pomegranate Tree

A pomegranate tree that I had been growing in a container for a few years was moved into the front garden bed to create a focal point and the opportunity for an additional fruit harvest. A couple ginger plants and tumeric were added as an afterthought but have proven to bring an exotic touch that look great mixed in with everything else.

I didn’t expect much this season as the plants become established and fill in the allotted space, but I have already received compliments from neighbors and I am very happy with the results so far. There was one setback in the form of an unexpected visit from the PA Department of Agriculture, but that has been resolved and I’m looking forward to next year when my ornamental, native, and edible garden should really begin to blossom!

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