Edible Landscaping with Rosalind Creasy bio picture
  • Rosalind Creasy – Edible Landscaping

    Gardening can be easy, healthy, inexpensive, and best of all, in can be done just about anywhere. As far back as 1970, Rosalind Creasy was a pioneer in the field of Edible Landscaping.Her work has since revolutionized the way that many of us think about gardening. Cooking from the garden, eating organic, and eating fresh are all possible and not as hard as you might think.

    In this website, you can see some of Rosalind's best tips on making the most of your home garden, along with various recipes and advice. 

    Rosalind's new book, Edible Landscaping, was published in November of 2010 and is now in its third printing.

Making Edible Gardens Look Beautiful Year-Round

Recently, Ros received a question from a reader regarding making edible gardens look beautiful year-round. Read on to learn more about Ros’ tips for extending beauty through fall and winter.

Q: I have been growing vegetables in my 125 sq ft back yard for several years. The challenge has been making it look beautiful in the fall and winter.  Does your new book discuss year round gardening? And could you please list the flowers that are pictured in the slide show.

Thank you for sharing, you are an inspiration.

Andrea

A: Hi Andrea,
Yes, I discuss making the garden beautiful all year round. You didn’t say where you live but I find that strong lines created by raised beds, boxwood hedges, and interesting paths helps a lot to give a sense of place. Adding color with containers, painted walls and or gates, and a focal point or two – maybe a trellis, birdbath, or sculpture in a critical juncture holds the viewer’s eye in the space. You might even create a collection of antique garden tools or say Mexican sun faces on the far fence, or even hang a large decorative mirror there. (A mirror makes a small place look larger and is used by designers when there is something nice to reflect in the glass.) And as far as edibles, there are a number that grow well in all but the coldest winter areas including kales, cabbages, leeks, and chard. You can plant them in decorative blocks or diamonds instead of the usual straight rows, or plant them around a birdbath or sundial. Edible Landscaping has many more ideas; these are just to get you started.
I’d love to see photos of your finished creation. If you agree, I could then share it with others.
Thanks for the question,

Ros Creasy

 

Pomegranates, lemons, and persimmons make up my fall harvest.

April 18, 2012 - 7:30 pm

Emmon - The photo above is so rich and wonderful in so many ways — it seems to be telling a story all by itself! I just heard about your from a colleague! Looking forward to learning more about your book!

Edible Plants as Ornamentals

Often, our own preconceptions about growing edibles limits our ability to do so. And the number one offender is the belief that vegetables need to be grown separately from purely ornamental plants. While it is true that some gardeners have their vegetables in different beds and containers, there really is no reason for the division.

In fact, many edibles are just as beautiful as a traditional flower or foliage plant. By including unusual vegetables in your designs, you are extending the structure, color and variety of potential plant materials. And, when combined with non-traditional planters, they can be real show stoppers.

If you are looking for inspiration, there is a great article on the design website, Houzz.com. Marianne Lipanovich writes about a whole host of ways to highlight vegetables in ornamental beds and containers. She’s also kind enough to mention Ros’ latest book, Edible Landscaping, as a resource. Houzz is a fantastic site and is also available as a mobile app. Below is a slideshow of photos from Marianne’s article:

April 5, 2012 - 6:10 pm

Phil (Smiling Gardener) - Love the vegetables by the pool! I’ve been hearing a lot about houzz lately. Seems like it’s making a splash.

Herbs in the Landscape

I liken herbs to edible plants with training wheels. They are really easy to grow and fit into most any landscape. All in all, they are a great place to start if you’re new to gardening with edibles. Furthermore, they will bring your cooking to a new level. Fresh herbs outside the kitchen door are every chef’s dream, and it can be yours too. Start with sage, oregano, fennel, winter savory, chives, thyme, lemon thyme, and tarragon. In warm winter areas add rosemary and if it’s summer add annual basil; for fall plant cilantro instead. Herbs can be added to an existing shrub border and flower garden, tucked into a raised bed with your vegetables, and they all grow well in containers.

This is my welcoming herbal entry. I planted two garlic chives, one on each side;  added a planting of regular chives; and for the containers I chose gold, tricolor, and purple sage; lemon and English thyme; and rosemary. Nasturtiums and ‘Lemon Gem’ marigolds are planted along the walk for color and two standard purple Potato Vines frame either side of the walk to add a formal feel.

My neighbors asked me to convert their small front yard, primarily a lawn planted on a slope, to a culinary herb garden. We replaced it with flowering perennials and easy-care shrubs on the slope, and selected thymes, rosemary, oregano, and chives planted near the level front walk. Stepping stones placed here and there make it easy to harvest the herbs and gives design to the planting areas. Now they can dash out of the kitchen for their herbs and have a cheerful garden that is easy to maintain.

Herb leaf colors range from gray, to green, to yellow, to purple, and include bi-colors too. Here I chose variegated lemon thyme and bi-colored oregano for the front of the bed. I then selected golden sage for the wooden container, and the upright Italian herb nepetella, spiky garlic chives, and the colorful lavender for the middle of the bed. Yellow violas and calendulas, and purple pansies add their rich colors and a ferny fennel lends a soft green background to the scene.

Herbs are at home in a mixed border and glamorous enough for the front street-side border. The sculptural collards anchor this colorful border. Prostrate and upright rosemary nestle up to the collards. Directly behind them is a purple basil, and behind it is a golden sage, some bronze fennel, and a yellow rose. Among the edible herbs are the non-edible yellow and red lantanas and geraniums.

This herb garden lends a yen-like peace to my back patio. A venerable old rosemary sets off the birdbath. Planted among the non-edible geraniums and million bells are a number of different thymes, a knotted marjoram, lavender, and Chinese chives. Horseradish and sage are planted in containers.

 

March 16, 2012 - 3:39 pm

Holly Cusumano - Enjoying your blog so much! Thank you.

March 16, 2012 - 4:05 pm

Janet coomes - Beautiful. So nice to see people utilize their space with sustainable plants

March 16, 2012 - 7:58 pm

Kelly Johnson - i love this site…..so many amazing idea’s….and so colorful…great job rosalind

March 19, 2012 - 3:05 am

Kelsey - I love your book On edible landscaping. I have poured over the pages all winter! It is fun to see new photos on your blog just in time for spring time inspiration!! Thank you for such a wonderful book!

March 26, 2012 - 5:46 am

Hal Rene - what climat are you in for you results. Your pictures are great on this site.

March 26, 2012 - 9:16 am

diane feeman - I really enjoy your blog. It has me excited to try your edible landscape. And it’s beautiful to boot!

March 26, 2012 - 11:40 am

Lorraine Tuck - Love your blog.

March 26, 2012 - 9:04 pm

Rosalind Creasy - Hi Hal,
I’m in Zone 9, but most of what I do can be done in most parts of the country. See this month’s Better Homes and Gardens for an East Coast beautiful edible landscape and my book Edible Landscaping for photos from all over the country.
Great Gardening, Ros Creasy