When you think of food production in terms of a landscape, it really opens your eyes to appreciate all qualities of the plants we grow to consume. You don’t need coleus or begonias when you can have an even more beautiful bed of Bright Lights Swiss Chard. Asparagus fern, why not just plain asparagus? Need something tall in the background? Grow corn. There are several varieties that have burgundy coloring in their leaves, stems, and silk that is just lovely. Forget about morning glories and plant Scarlet Runner Beans instead. They have the sweetest red flowers and the beans are delicious. Another favorite landscape plant of mine is Globe Artichoke. The plants grow into huge specimens with silver foliage. They are very dramatic and can yield a dozen or more tasty appetizers. I also love Fennel. The airy fronds dance in the wind and are a favorite snack for butterfly caterpillars.
It takes courage to do this however, because your yard will not look like everyone else’s. Peer pressure can be hard to overcome and you can bet you’re efforts will generate plenty of comments. However, I’ve always found that including your neighbors in your plans and sharing the fruits of your labor go a long way to smooth the path. They’ll start to think you are a genius as you sit in your lawn chair amongst the fragrant herb lawn, sipping an ice tea watching them slog it out with the lawn mower. Wave to them and ask them to sit with you for a spell. You might just be able to find a second career as a landscape consultant.