We have 40 feet of border in the new garden – not including 20 feet of boxwood hedging. And 20 feet of star jasmine. The goal is that when you walk into the garden, you step into a room. A beautiful, but useful room. And in this case, known as edible landscaping.
My vision is one that is layered, and honestly unconventional. Welcome to my brain.
For the part of the border that isn’t the boxwoods and jasmine, which are there to add formality, we have a combination of native and non-native plants. All of which are good for food, medicine, or pollination.
I went and scoped plants out with a semi-idea of what I wanted, with the theory that I have 1/3 of the plants as larger shrubs, another 1/3 being medium plants/shrubs, and the last 1/3 being herbs and medicinals that are smaller but perennial where I live. Being in zone 10b, even most herbs are grown year-round, but just go sort of dormant in the winter.
I visited my favorite traditional local nursery as well as a local native plant nursery, which will give the borders a little wild touch and help us find plants that are best suited to my soil and climate. While there are some gardening camps that are only into natives and natives alone, I am someone who tries to include them, but also grows non-invasive non-natives.
My Edible Landscape Border Plants
For my personal borders, below is a list of what I chose, and why I chose it. I am so excited to see how these all fill out!
Butterfly Bush is great for attracting butterflies! This plant is one of a few that aren’t recommended for eating but is also not toxic.
Globe Artichoke is your classic artichoke, which grows year-round here, but after several years will need to be replaced. I love the look of these since they get big.
Anise Hyssop is a medicinal herb most commonly used for coughs, fevers, and diarrhea. This plant has beautiful purple flowers that bees love as well.
Mexican Bush Sage is another non-edible though non-toxic choice based on the pollinator effect and the pretty light sage green foliage and soft purple flowers.
Dill is a great herb for seasoning food, and I love to even allow the plant to flower and harvest for a bouquet inside. This plant also gets big, and adds some texture and some lighter green to the borders. Fun folklore: dill represents passion and abundance.
Valerian is an herb that gives support for sleep, stress, anxiety, and overall discontent. I am eager to try some tea blends with this plant.
California Native Plants
Buckwheat is going to need to be cut back in the Fall, or else will get too big, But, it’s an edible plant that is great for making tea and bread, as the Native Americans did.
Matilija Poppy is my final non-edible and I simply chose for the nostalgia factor. I love these long-stemmed beauties otherwise known as “fried egg flower”.
Hedgenettle is going to produce some lovely purple flowers and is great for a sore throat and upset stomach. Another great hummingbird and pollinator plant.
Chaparral Currant will produce little berries that I hope we can cook with, but also that I hope will satiate the birds around us. It’s a very permaculture approach to feed birds from the garden, so as to save other crops – we will see if it works!
Yarrow is last but not least (by any means!). This herb is one that I am most excited about. Great for brain fog and inflammation, as well as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. I even love to add yarrow to white wine in the Summer as a great little amendment to some vino!
I hope these plant choices inspire you and help you to think about your own landscaping choices. It’s so fun to play with the mix of what’s beautiful and useful in edible landscaping.