I live in a neighborhood full of duplexes, where renters live in the majority of homes. Some houses on the block have yards and gardens traditionally associated with renter-occupied properties: neglected garden beds with overgrown or bland hedges, undefined edges where daffodils spill into grass and long-dead trees that threaten to topple over any minute.
But there are a few exceptions. One neighbor’s yard is full of gorgeous ornamental trees, which provide added bonuses of privacy and little lawn maintenance. Many display colorful container gardens on the edges of porches, with geraniums and petunias being most popular. But my personal favorite is a garden bed with a mix of edibles and ornamentals at the end of the block, right in the front yard and close to the sidewalk.
Over the next several months, cherry tomatoes, a rainbow of peppers, kale, dahlias and other plants will burst out of the soil, and signs will invite passersby to pick what they can eat. Not only does the garden help to create connections and feed families, but the colors and mixture of plants used add beauty to the street.
This month’s issue of Ornamental Breeder focuses on the topic of “foodscaping,” incorporating edibles into traditionally ornamental landscapes, and mixing flowers, fruits and veggies in containers. Brie Arthur, who wears several hats in the industry, including as design correspondent for PBS’s “Growing A Greener World,” used foodscaping to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality in the front of her home. She’s created a gorgeous garden that provides produce that she no longer needs to rely solely on grocery stores for. As she notes in the cover story on page 6, “People are convinced the only way they can grow food is in a boxed bed. I want to get people to think outside the box, because boxes are never going to look good enough to be in your front yard.”
Michelle Simakis, Editor