What is a garden if not a feast for the senses? For the eyes there’s the vivid palette of its many blooms; for the nose, their sweet perfume. Even the ears enjoy the soft buzzing of the bees that pollinate them. But what if the same space could appeal to the tastebuds, too? According to E.L. Wyves’s 2006 article on edible landscaping, the dream of a garden’s becoming a not-so-moveable feast can easily be made to come true.
“Lawns are so out,” Wyves writes in the Spring 2006 edition of Edible East End. “At least, the ultra-green, chemical-saturated, water-gulping, high-maintenance, monocropped grass kind. Mixing in some clover and vetch is an improvement. Wildflower meadows are even better. But the true avant-gardener on the East End has abandoned the idea altogether in favor of trellised fava beans, motley beds of cooking greens, medicinal herbs, berries, cold-frames and mini-orchards.”
And the reason for the shift, she explains, has not been purely practical; aesthetics are partly to thank, too.
“‘Look at how beautiful these spinach leaves are,’ said Michael Blake recently, as he peeled the lid off of a coldframe exposing fleshy, viridian plants. (The spinach, kale, and Swiss chard sprouted in late fall and have remained about six inches tall all winter as the owners repeatedly harvested them for winter salads and stir-frys.) Blake is a landscape designer based in Sag Harbor, and more and more of his clients are asking him to plant edible landscapes. ‘You don’t have to have a flower to be beautiful. A vegetable leaf is as beautiful as a rose.'”
Just as beautiful and (at least) twice as tasty, that is.
Would you like to taste some more? Help yourself. You can read Wyves’s entire story here.