Edible Landscaping

I have a confession. Two years ago, I couldn’t remember the difference between an annual and a perennial. I was mocked for my gardening ambivalence. How far I’ve come.

I recently visited the Inspired Market Gardens stand at Edmonton’s downtown farmer’s market. This is a stand that I’ve passed many times without much thought. But I’ve been reading a lot of gardening books and magazines lately. I mean a lot.

“How hardy is hyssop? “Definitely for zone 2, you say?” “How exactly would you use the flowers?” “Will it spread?” “Self-seeding?” “Will it attract bees?”

There is something about growing a vegetable garden that eventually makes you look at a lawn differently. Hmmmm, you think, that’s a lot of space…. for grass?

According to the book, Front Yard Gardens by Liz Primeau, there are 24 million acres of lawn grown in North America, and this doesn’t include all the highway embankments and golf courses. She argues that lawns contribute to a monoculture. This is dangerous, of course, as it limits the insects, birds and animals that could otherwise live alongside humans. Without variety in our yards, we face a pretty grim outdoor experience.

I am now looking at our lawn in a different light. I want more variety but I am also insistent that if we spend money on plants, they must be perennial, hardy, close to native for our area, and ideally, edible.

This brought me to the website, the Urban Farmer. This is a great resource to guide and inspire how we approach the garden. We have given up on the section of grass near our spruce tree as it grows terribly anyway. With new zeal, we are planning a mini hedge of blueberry bushes. These will be flanked by the hyssop that I purchased from Inspired Gardens. I’ve also dug up our neighbour’s unwanted chives and given them a new home near our rock wall.

The other advantage to this approach to gardening is that we are, “working with nature, rather than against nature” (Urban Farmer). In the long run, it is actually less money and time.

Edible garden, here we come.

Do you want to know if your yard is environmentally sustainable? Take the Urban Farmer’s test here.

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5 Responses to “Edible Landscaping”


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  2. 2 Bell June 20, 2013 at 2:03 am

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  3. 3 Prerna July 15, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Wow.. That is so amazing.. We live in an apartment and so the scope for gardening is somewhat limited. However, you inspire me to try my hand at more adventurous stuff other than just herbs on the kitchen sill:-)

    • 4 Mama Tortoise July 16, 2010 at 8:46 am

      Perna – apartment living certainly has its advantages to living simply! And it’s amazing what you can grow in a pot – I have been astounded at how easy it is to grow tomatoes in a planter.


  1. 1 Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp « Tortoise on the Loose Trackback on July 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

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