Friday, December 16, 2011

December blooms

It's about 30F (-2C) right now and sunny out. Here's what's blooming today:

My pansies are looking rather sad, and my outdoor roses just have buds on them, so for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, I took some pictures of some indoor flowers --

I just got this rose bush yesterday, and this morning it apparently wanted to say hello :)

My potted lemon bush has two lemons which are ripening nicely, but it also has some flowers on it as well.

And then I went outside again and found that something was indeed blooming after all!

My neighbors will be so happy ;)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roaming around the garden

For once it's sunny (and above freezing) this morning, so I went out with my camera.

The weather has been quite cold, dipping down into the high 20's F (around -3C) every night this week. It's interesting to see what likes what areas of my garden. My onions and garlic are quite happy in the backyard, yet none are growing in the front. The kale and cabbages in the back are all but dead, but the ones in the front are having a party:

The holes in the cabbage leaves are from cabbage moths earlier in the year; if you notice, the new leaves in the center haven't been touched.

My sage continues on its quest for front yard domination, and my rosemary bush is doing fine as well. The "Hill Hardy" rosemary bushes I planted for my porch hedge seem to be unfazed by the cold. I'm having trouble getting good photos of the hedge, so I'll give you a picture another time.

On the other side of the sage is this parsley, which seems to think it's spring! It's putting out new leaves in the center and isn't showing any signs of distress, even though it's in the shade, which should be a cold spot out here.

Over in the sun is my lavender plant, which really likes it out here in front. When I brushed off some leaves to take the photo, the leaves released the most amazing lavender aroma ... I wish I could send it to you. If you at all like lavender, it's a wonderful plant for your edible garden (or for any other garden, for that matter).

Out here under the "crazy tree" is a strawberry plant who is also taking advantage of the lack of competition freezing weather to stake out new territory. ;)


If I feel up to it later on today I might go out and stake out my Food4Wealth plots. If not, it'll happen sometime this weekend, as it's not supposed to freeze for the next few days, so the hoses should be thawed enough to do some watering. Right now, there's still frost on the ground out back so it will have to be in the afternoon. Pictures to come soon!

Also, there are still spots open in the Food4Wealth plant-along group. If you're interested, send an email to Everyone who has contacted me should have gotten an email from me about it -- if you didn't, let me know.

The plant-along will start on February 1st, so there's still time to get your copy and read it before we start.

Have you roamed around your yard lately? What's growing out there?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I got an idea this morning ....

It's quite cloudy here, and it's supposed to rain/sleet/snow this afternoon depending on what weather channel you listen to. (ETA: it just started pouring ...) It seems like one of those days where's it's better just to stay inside, so that's what I'm doing today.

Last week I mentioned the experimental garden I'm planning for the backyard using the new program I got called Food4Wealth. Well, I had a lying-in-bed-on-Saturday-morning brainstorm about it that I thought you might like.

The instructions for this planting method specify a particular size plot, square or round with rows, sort of like a farm ... but that seemed pretty boring ... so of course I'm doing something different with my garden. :)

I think I will put a potager in the corner of the fenced-in portion of my back yard. It will have lots of greens, some edible flowers, herbs, and a dwarf fruit tree in there somehwhere. Here are a couple of ideas I've had for the design:

The heavy lines at the left and top are my existing fences, the lines directly inside of those mark out planters I already have there. Hope that's not too confusing.

Which design do you like better? I go back and forth, but I'm kind of partial to the one on the right at the moment.

But the idea I had this morning is about something else.

I've decided to set up a study group or "plant-along" for those of you interested in trying out the Food4Wealth system along with me, which will start on February 1st. That will give you time to read the material and think of where you'd like your garden. Since some of you will be going into spring and others of you headed into fall, this will be a perfect time to get a new garden set up.

The only cost will be the cost of the program itself, which right now is $34. You can get the Food4Wealth program by clicking here. If you're interested in doing the plant-along, send me an email at

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A quiet day

I hope all of you who have been celebrating holidays this week have had a peaceful and meaningful holiday time. Here in the US we had our day of Thanksgiving on Thursday, and it was so nice to be able to gather onion, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme from my garden to go in the turkey stuffing. I make rice stuffing with herbs, fried giblets, and wild rice, passed down from my mother, and it was delicious. :D


It's raining outside, so not much will be going on in the garden today, except covering the tender plants since there's a frost coming tonight.

The banana plants and fig tree seem to have survived their freezing ordeal -- the weather here has gone from cold to warm to cold, and I'm not sure that they know what to do. The fig dropped all the crispy leaves and has a lovely growing bud tip as if it were spring, and I don't want that to be damaged, as it's only about a foot tall right now. One of the bananas is trying to grow new leaves!

Plants are tenacious, that's for sure.


Since I don't have much to show you today I thought I might update you on my thoughts on the Food4Wealth program that I've been going through. It occurred to me that last time I talked about it, I didn't actually mention much about it.

I have been looking for something to offer to beginning food gardeners, because about a third of the people who come over to the Edible Landscape Design site have no knowledge of gardening at all (which is a bit daunting, since it isn't a beginner site), and I don't really want to set up a beginning gardening course right now. Maybe in the future, but not now.

So when I saw Food4Wealth was the best selling gardening ebook on Clickbank (which is a place that helps you sell ebooks), it intrigued me enough to take a look.

(Full disclosure: I did get a free copy for review. Which is actually a good thing, because firms that do that believe in their product and aren't trying to scam their customers. I was very happy with the communications I had with the company.)

Now, I don't care for the name, as it seems a bit hyped, as is his presentation. And on the outset, $34 for a book seems a bit steep. But I like what I've seen so far of the actual information very much. The methods are entirely organic, and the book gives solid advice.

The thing is that you're not just getting a pdf book. Included are 14 videos to show you what to do, a set of audiobooks, and a set of checklists to help you through. I was impressed with the amount of information you get for the money.

And while for me as someone who's been gardening forever, the video presentations seem over-solicitous, for someone who's never gardened before and might be just a tad afraid of ruining things (if not outright panicked at the thought of doing something wrong and killing their plants), it's probably just right.

The thing that interests me the most is his assertion that you can grow using his method all year round without using any sort of protection for your plants. His accent is Australian, so I'm presuming that this is where he's from.

From what I've read so far, his methods will indeed work quite well in Australia (which has much milder weather than most of the US -- their coldest zone is about 7b), as well as in areas of the world which have similar conditions. If that means you, go ahead and get it -- I definitely recommend it ... but whether it will work here is what I want to see for myself.

So I've devised a garden plan for my backyard (which is where I do all my experimenting!) ... it will be both ornamental and use the Food4Wealth method, and we shall see what happens. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blooming in November

It's a blustery day outside, but I ran across the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and even though I'm a day late on this, I thought, "what a great idea". Of course, then I had to go take some photos.

This last photo is of the saffron crocuses I planted just a month and a half ago. I never thought they would be up and blooming already!

Go over to the May Dreams Garden blog to see even more flowers. :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A few odds and ends ....

A lot has been going on lately, so I'll pile it all up here (sort of like the leaves, which seem to never stop coming ...)


I got all of the kale, cabbage, and strawberries planted. Some of them ended up in the backyard, which is fine.


A freeze happened early in the week that caught me by surprise, so both of my banana plants are pretty sad looking. I think they're both still alive, but we'll see. My fig tree in the back is pretty crispy as well, but I'm sure it'll be fine, as the stem is still green. I need to get them mulched before the next freeze comes by, though.


If you're a subscriber to my newsletter, you know that I've had this running poll going on for several months now. The most surprising thing about the poll is that about a third of my subscribers are total rank beginners and know nothing about either gardening or landscaping.

Since that's not really who I intended to target with the site, I have been thinking for a while about writing something to help them out. While doing research into the subject, I ran across an e-book titled "Food4Wealth" that interested me enough to look into it as a possible thing to offer those of you who really don't know a thing about gardening.

So I got the information and have been working through it (there's a lot here!). I'll be writing some of my thoughts about it over the next few months. Since this is both a process of gardening that's new to me and something that involves living things, it's not as easy as just writing a review on a book. I really need to try his suggestions out before I can make a determination one way or the other as to whether this is something I want to recommend.

More on that later.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Right after I posted that last blog post I got a call that my father in law had passed away. Since my husband can't travel due to health issues, we are having a memorial here today at the same time as the one where my father in law lived (as does most of our family).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lovely morning

It's a beautiful day outside. I've been planting kale in the front yard and onions in the back. Been a bit under the weather so I wasn't out that long this morning.

But I did take some photos for you. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A yummy update

Along with the kale I had gotten some pansies and cabbages, which are now in the front yard around the apple trees in an alternating pattern. Did you know that pansy leaves taste like lettuce? And they grow pretty well in the winter, too.

Today, though, not much got done -- sort of a day off for me. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's finally raining!

We got some wonderful rain last night (they're saying almost 2 inches!), which normally wouldn't be a big deal here but we've been in a terrible drought lately so it's great, because in this area, the dirt is either concrete or slimy mud. But today my husband and I went out and planted a grapevine in the backyard and the dirt was actually just right.

This week I found some lovely "ornamental" kale plants, which I'm going to be planting in the front yard over the next few days.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A short note to check in ...

I'm off to a high school marching band competition that my son's school is participating in so I won't be out in the garden today.

Earlier this week, I planted strawberries and onions ... I'll try to have some photos for you next time of their progress.

I also planted saffron crocus bulbs by one of the apple trees. We'll see how they turn out next year!

(By the way, what do you think of the new design?)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weird weather aftermath

Well, it finally seems to have cooled down. Which is good, because we've all been sick the past two weeks, so I haven't gotten much done, and it's nice to have decent weather to get back to work in.

The bad news: both blueberry plants are gone, as far as I can tell.

The good news: my daylilies have recovered, and everything else seems to be doing okay.

Today I planted a prickly pear in the back yard to start off my desert garden. I chose an area that in general is always drier than the rest of the yard, and that not much grows in anyway. I'm a big cactus fan, and I'm so happy to finally get this garden plot started.

Once I get the rest of my cacti in (I have a potted agave and a dragon flower plant that I've been lugging indoors to overwinter for a couple of years but that will grow here just fine, and I think I'd also like to get at least one yucca), I'll put down gravel mulch all around it so I won't have to do any weeding.

There's a lot of trial and error to this, which is why I think that landscaping companies tend to stick with the same few plants in any one area. They choose the ones that they know work and ignore the rest unless someone specifically requests something different.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Still here

It's been cooler here, and I've been rushing to lay mulch and start seeds for fall/winter.

One of the seedlings that was being attacked seems to have survived the grasshopper army, and is putting out a tiny leaf from its nubby stalk. Good for it! The rest of the flat seems destined for the recycle bucket.

I've decided that my first goal needs to be trees, shrubs, and perennials, because the annuals don't seem to be surviving long enough to plant! But I did plant a grapevine in the backyard this week. Hopefully it will survive -- the last three haven't, but you never know.

I haven't been feeling well the last few days, so not much has gotten done on the front yard. Been mostly inside working on the site rather than out in the "real world". :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


I seem to have found at least one of the culprits in my mysterious plant disappearances ... or at least the eatings.

I found grasshoppers inside the cage, calmly munching away at my broccoli plants, which are now reduced to nubs.

For some reason, the plants I put in the front yard have been untouched.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bad news, good news, and a mystery

The bad news is that one of my blueberry plants looks dead.

The good news is that my daylilies have returned. Several of them had totally died back in the heat, and things looked discouraging on that account.

In the meantime, I got more plants for the back yard (and perhaps some for the front, I haven't decided yet).

I'm having a terrible time with something stealing seed potatoes and eating the tops off of plants. I'm calling it the Rascal Thief, because whoever it is can climb onto 4 foot high shelves covered with 2" pots, eat the top off of a plant, steal a potato out of its container, and get away without disturbing the other plants.

This thing has eaten all my peppers, the tops off my tomato plants, a whole basil plant, all my potted collards, and a whole lot of other things. It has climbed up on things and stolen slices of pineapple rind that I had lying out drying for my rabbits.

It's a mystery that about has me wanting to buy a surveillance camera to see what this is that's stealing and eating.

So when I got these new plants in yesterday, I got worried that they were going to end up missing today, all eaten before they had a chance to grow up. Then I got an inspiration.

I put them into a cage I had sitting around, covered them with shade cloth (it was still hot and sunny), and thought everything would be fine.

Here's what I saw today:

The cage was still covered with the shade cloth and the door was latched. I counted the plants and they were all there. But some of them appeared to have been eaten:

The arrows show where the plant was bitten off cleanly.

And this one seems to have been lifted!

I have no idea what could have done this. A raccoon, maybe? I've never seen any here. This is really a mystery to me.

Any ideas as to the identity of the Rascal Thief?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blueberries and daylilies and bananas, oh my!

This has been a busy time -- my oldest son is in marching band, and school is starting soon, so it's been a lot of driving to practices and shopping for clothes and all that.

But after months of 100F+ temperatures, the season seems to have turned. It has rained several days this week, and just in time, too -- I think my blueberries and daylilies had just about had enough of this nonsense. :)

A week or so ago, I found a lady on Craigslist who was selling banana plants, so I went into the city and got three.

It took me a while to figure out where to put them, but I put the tallest one in the back yard, near the dryer vent, so it will hopefully stay warm over the winter. (I think I planted this one too close to the wall)

Another one I just put in the front yard near the pond -- I'm keeping my fingers crossed about this one. The third one I haven't decided where to put yet. I may just keep it in the pot, just in case one of the two doesn't survive the winter.

As you can see, I'm way behind on the weeding.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's still way too hot here.

One day of a little rain but other than that it's been pretty miserable.

I've gotten a bit done this week -- I planted the other blueberry and the three hostas. Watering every day (sometimes twice a day), along with icing and shade cloth, has kept the blueberries alive, but the first one is about to drop its leaves.

I lost a few of the strawberry plants, too, but the daylilies seem to be doing a bit better. Several of them had leaves drying up. The cabbages seem to have established nicely, as well as the rosemary.

I also planted some basil, one plant behind the magnolia, the other off to the side in my established herb bed. Both seem to be doing fine, but they're in partial shade.

I'm beginning to think that I should plant like I did back in southern California -- with summer being the "dead" season. I know how to keep things alive over the winter with protection, but in this drought keeping plants alive over the summer is becoming a challenge.

If you're new to overwintering, this is the time to start thinking about it here in the North. I completely recommend this book Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long. If you have winters that drop below freezing, it's a fantastic resource.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hot hot hot

I don't think it has gotten below 100F for the high point of the day in several weeks now, which is quite unusual for here. It did rain once (you can imagine the humidity!!) but that was a while ago. You go outside after about 10 am and you feel like you've walked into an oven.

I put in the second blueberry bush yesterday. Before I put it in, it had been sitting by the garage in the shade -- today it looked at me as if to say, "what is going on here?!?" so I put shade cloth over it like I had already done for the first one.

A friend of mine is putting ice around her plants at night and watering in the morning to keep them alive, so I've started doing that for these blueberries. We'll see what happens.

Is it unusually hot and dry where you are? What are you doing to keep your plants alive?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Discouraging week

Never fear, the blueberry plants are fine. :)

But for some reason, the company that is re-doing our street (it's going from a private to a public street) has gone into a frenzy of digging drainage ditches in everyone's front yards without warning. In as they didn't even tell the HOA they were going to do this.

So I look outside one day to find my planter GONE. Only a pile of bricks and some twisted rebar remain.

The only consolation, if you want to call it that, is that other people have had damage to their property as well.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Interesting week

As in the Chinese way of "interesting".

I have these plants in my pond waterfall, and I wondered if they might be edible. So I investigated, and discovered that they are! They are called elephant ear, or taro, and the tubers are edible when cooked. Millions of people eat these!

So I had too many in my waterfall, and it was sucking the water out of the pond because it has been so freaking hot lately, so I pulled one out, and cut off the leaves, and cleaned off the tuber, cooked it like a potato, peeled it and took a bite.

It tasted to me like a cross between cucumber and celery. Pretty good, actually. I was feeling encouraged -- I had a ton of this really tasty stuff, just growing in my waterfall. Amazing!

And that's when it all went wrong.

I was just swallowing this tasty treat when my mouth felt like a thousand mosquitoes with fire stingers had attacked the inside of my throat. I dropped the piece in my hand and rushed to the mirror -- my throat was beet red and swollen, 30 seconds after eating one tiny bite.

Short story is that I'm fairly allergic to this particular plant. I took Benadryl for days while this little bite ran its way through my system, and I was kicking myself the whole time.

I seriously could have died. And other than sneezing at pollen, I've never had any kind of allergy, to food or otherwise. Needless to say, I've been giving away plants on Freecycle again.

The really stupid part is that I know better. I know how to test for allergy, how to acclimatize myself to new foods. I thought that because I've never been allergic to any food that I didn't have to follow those rules.

In other news, I planted one of my blueberry bushes. It doesn't like the heat, but it seems to be still kicking. Just like me.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pomegranate day

This week I went to the local nursery and picked up some hostas, two blueberry bushes and an pomegranate bush, all ones that are supposed to do well here in zone 7a. Well, today my husband and I got the pomegranate tree in the backyard.

These have orange-red flowers and bright green leaves (and thorns, so I mulched well so I won't have to weed!) I've wanted one of these since I moved here, because I love pomegranates and I miss the tree we had back in California. Hopefully this one will do well. :)

Related page:
What Types Of Trees Should You Use In Edible Landscaping?
You Can Have Edible Garden Hedges!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The benefits of organic gardening

I've gotten a fair amount done this week -- I decided to plant strawberries as ground cover around the crazy tree, and I transplanted some beets over by the magnolia.

My daylilies bloomed! I wish I would have thought to take a picture, they are prettier than advertised. There are a few more buds showing so in the next few days I should be able to let you see them properly.

I woke up before the sun this morning and decided to get up and do some work outside before it got hot. Well, it was warm and humid already, and after a while I was sitting with some ice water and the sun just started peeking above the trees. I went in to see if my husband (who is an early riser too) wanted to sit out front and see the sun come up.

So we sat out there and along came a female duck, just walking along the lawn towards us, completely unafraid. Once in a while we'll see some Canadian geese in the street but I've never had a duck come by before like this. She poked around my cabbages and rosemary, more interested in eating bugs than anything else, and we just sat watching her.

Well, the sun came up and my husband went back inside, and the duck just hung around, waddling around the grass eating bugs while I pulled weeds and planted strawberries. She must have been there for an hour and then she was gone.

And I thought about the other day when my son saw tadpoles in the pond, and the butterflies and ladybugs and all the other wonderful creatures which visit and live in my garden, that otherwise wouldn't.

I wouldn't go back to chemical gardening for anything. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The break was longer than I thought ...

We've had some health issues going on in the family, including my son having surgery, so not a lot has been getting done, other than a bit of weeding and some work on the planter "wall" (which is coming right along).

But the things I planted in the past are growing nicely, so I'm not too worried. More should get done this week, if the weather holds.

Hope all of you are enjoying your edible gardens in the meantime.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A bit of a break

Our street has been redone this week, with all the noise, dust, and tearing up of things that this entails. I haven't gotten a whole lot done on the garden ... except I got some inspiration about my driveway planting.

So today I marked out the boundaries and decided that this will need a bit of a raised area/retaining wall (a foot high at the most, so not a huge deal), as it's right next to a drainage swale/culvert. My husband kindly went to Home Depot and got some rebar for me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rain, rain

It rained like crazy the last few days, so today I got to play in the mud. :)

By which I mean I pulled weeds and dug up more Virginia creeper and planted cabbages and strawberries around the magnolia tree, and more strawberries by the crazy tree.

Just looking at and feeling the mud here I can see why they call this clay, that's exactly what it feels like. I had to soak my gloves to get the mud out of them.

In the backyard I planted more asparagus (this time I planted a variety called "Purple Passion") and harvested more snow peas and some little orange cherry tomatoes that are really sweet.

There's a story about these tomatoes -- I very seldom buy tomato seeds anymore, just save seeds from tomatoes I buy. Since most commercial tomatoes are hybrid, you never know what you're going to get. I've never seen orange cherry tomatoes before, but I'm definitely saving the seeds from these because they are really good.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My rose bushes

Got a lot done today ... had two people come pull out Virginia creeper for me and take it home (a win-win situation if ever I saw one), and I also dug out about half of the elm saplings which are trying to take over my yard.

It was a gorgeous day, cool, sunny, with a slight breeze -- perfect for working outside. I'll leave you with some pictures of my two rose bushes.

Hope you had a great day.

Related pages:
How to plant roses

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rosemary hedge, among other things

Well, it's almost straight.

The rosemary hedge ("Hill Hardy") is finally in. It took me a while to get the Virginia creeper out of the area enough for me to plant (as in over several days), but it's looking good.

I always felt that my porch was too exposed; this will give it a bit of an enclosed feel. And I love rosemary.

I've still got so many things to put in ... cabbages, beets, and I'm considering hostas around the crazy tree, as it's pretty shady under there and that will keep the weeds down. So many plants, so little time. :)

Related pages:
You Can Have Edible Garden Hedges!
Why I Think All Edible Landscapers Should Be Growing Rosemary

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Working on the backyard this weekend

Still need to get rid of some non-edibles in the front, so I'm planting in the back.

My backyard is more of a typical veggie garden than the front -- my tomatoes and raised beds and other such things I don't care for in the front yard (my garden of the month for March notwithstanding) go into the back for now. One day it will be more spiffy and less weedy. One day.

So I've put onions and watermelon and tomatoes and snow peas in and have harvested some asparagus and worked on a sort of raised bed thing I'm making out of some old fencing. Photos one day when it actually doesn't look like a mess. ;)

Related pages:
Backyard landscaping ideas
How to grow tomatoes

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The plan

Okay, I finally broke down and drew a plan out.

It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something that you can read and work with. I drew this on some scrap paper with a pen just now:

As you can see, I have some edible plants already there. To the right is the driveway, to the bottom is a private road.

This is the first set of alterations that I've thought of:

I have already put in the daylilies, but everything else is still to be done. I was going to use blueberries for my "some kind of berry" but I seem to kill blueberries (have gone through four so far now) so I'm going to look for alternatives.

There is a lot of foot traffic between the door and the mailbox, thus the path there. I originally wanted to do it in concrete but my husband isn't wild about this idea and we may end up doing a mulch or brick path instead.

There is a drainage swale that goes along the front of the property so it may end up being brick to support the little bridge I'd like to put there so we don't have to slog through calf-deep water or try to hop over when it rains a lot. I also want to expand the plantings around the mailbox and do a garden plot near the end of the driveway.

Right now, there's still too much grass in my garden plan, but this is definitely a work in progress. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Setting up my garden design

This has been an interesting time: our family has had three surgeries in the past two months, and now that my sixteen year old is convalescing from his oral surgery I finally feel like I can make some proper plans for my landscaping.

Not that I haven't been thinking about it (because I have!) but I've felt a bit distracted with everything going on.

So today I thought I'd make a list of what needs changing and what I want to keep. I'm going to start with the front yard, mainly because we've done some work on the front already.

This is my house from across the street. By the mailbox I have daffodils on each side in spring, and tiger lilies in the summer. I like them, so I'll probably keep them ... I may add to these areas later.

Behind that on either side are apple trees ... the one on the left looks like it might have died over the winter, so I may have to replace it.

Close to the house I have (from left to right) an ornamental pear (which I'll keep), some edible plantings I put in along the porch a few years ago, the front door with steps and a walkway, a small magnolia tree (I'll probably keep this too, haven't decided yet), my pond, some random plants the original landscapers put in (including three crape myrtle bushes RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOUSE which are coming out), and a strange tree (we call it the "crazy tree") that no one seems to know what it is that my kids like so I'll keep that too.

The right hand plantings are infested with Virginia creeper, tend to be weed magnets, and seem sort of random to me. I added some lavender in front of the magnolia tree, but other than that not much there is edible.

So for that I need some sturdy edible ground cover as well as some edible shrubbery under the windows. I'm considering blueberries or perhaps serviceberries for the latter, which grow better in Oklahoma and look pretty similar.

Here's the pond, which we had put in a few years ago. The original pond had been put in by the original owners and was a mess, so we ripped it out (along with a huge pampas grass that again was RIGHT NEXT to the house) and put in this. We were having a bit of an algae problem when this photo was taken which is fixed now. I had koi in there until some egrets came by and ate them all; right now all that live there are some frogs. I'll be restocking the pond later on, possibly with catfish (edible!).

The problems I'm having with this space are that it's hard to access, only gets sun for part of the day, and weeds love it back there. I added some dwarf cattails (the straight stuff to the right of the photo) which are nice in the summer as well as edible.

I want to put in some taro on the waterfall area, some step-stones for access, and some sort of perennial edible ground cover there. Until I figure out which one, I plan to plant purple-eyed peas, which make lovely vines all over and should choke out any weeds that emerge.

In front is some wild onion that I got from a friend. I sort of like it: it comes up early, grows in a tuft-like shape, and stays green for a long time. I may move it to the left side there and get some tufts going in a "pond grass" fashion.

Right now I'm redoing the garden plot around the "crazy tree" (I didn't get a "before" photo or I'd show it to you) and have some "Wine Delight" daylilies to go there.

Here's what they are supposed to look like. Since the "crazy tree" gets these chartreuse buds in the spring and dark green leaves the rest of the year, this should go well with it.

Anyways, those are my ideas so far. My garden layout is taking shape, which makes me very happy :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Starting out

We have to start somewhere, right? ;)

So today I'm taking a look at what I have. I go over the process that I use over on my website -- today let's look at the garden layouts page.

For starters, I live in central Oklahoma, which is usually zone 7b but we busted out into 7a this winter. With the way the weather's been going, I have a feeling that I'll have to plant things that can stand colder temperatures than usually are found here.

The only real limitations I have zoning wise is that this HOA requires that you maintain at least some yard, and many people in the neighborhood have cut theirs down pretty far. I don't think I'll have to worry much about it. Also, we're not allowed to have a front fence, which I dislike as my front yard feels too exposed for my tastes but oh well.

Here's my house:

I don't know how you would classify this house (other than brick two-story) but the columns do give it a more formal look. However, with curved walkways and decidedly non-formal plantings (most of which I'm getting rid of), I suppose you could go either way.

Shapes -- I see columns and right-angle roofs and little arches and lots of little trellis-like squares. The Bradford pear tree (too bad it's only ornamental!) has a nice teardrop shape to it as well.

Colors -- There are a lot of interesting colors in the brickwork:

Lots of orange-reds, tans, browns, even some blue-grays that don't show up well here.

The house colors aren't showing up well in the photos, but the main house color is a dusty gray-green, with the window borders a white that's going towards ivory. The ever-present Oklahoma red clay dust is another factor to keep in mind, too. I'm thinking that black edgings on the garden plots would go very nicely with all this.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

An edible landscaping adventure


I started out as an organic food gardener back in the early 90's. I've toyed with the idea of converting my yard into edible landscaping for a long time ... doing tons of research and getting lots of ideas. When I finally got the inspiration to start my website Edible Landscape Design, I knew it was time to stop learning and start doing.

So this is where I'll write about how it's going. Hope you like it!