Have you ever thought of planting parsley along a path, or even a hedge of rosemary?
Rather than what is commonly seen in other people’s gardens and public spaces why not think outside the box… how about outside the vegie patch.
Traditionally we have been instructed to contain all vegetables and herbs within the confines of a vegetable patch, fenced off from the world, only available to be accessible by a select few… the chosen few.
Landscape designers and horticulturists are successfully breaking traditions regarding public opinion and usage of herbs and vegetables.
The pleasure created on the olfactory senses when walking along a hedge of rosemary is beyond that that many other plants can provide.
The main questions posed are ‘What herbs and vegetables are best?’ and ‘How to use them?’.
Soft foliage herbs and vegetables like carrots, dill and fennel exhibit classic design characteristics of texture. They add softness to a garden and make the space seem larger.
Ideal hedging herbs include sacred basil, scented geraniums and pelargoniums, baytree, wormwood and lavender. These can be clipped like any other hedge.
Border plants along pathways worth considering include parsley, chives, society garlic, santolina, dwarf peas and cherry pie.
For a ground cover try ajuga, mints, yarrow, sweet potato and nasturtium.
For screening effects try curry tree, baytree, native lemon myrtle, trellised peas, beans, cucurbits and tomatoes.
For striking foliage accent plants try Aloe vera, Acanthus, cabbage, cauliflower, lemon grass and egg plant.
The benefit of using herbs and vegetables as landscape plants are two fold… they add a new dimension into the ‘productivity of ornamental horticulture’ plus reduce the incidence of insect attack throughout the garden by dispersing the pest-prone plants around the garden. Heavily scented herbs will also ‘mask’ other pest-prone garden plants like roses and azaleas.
It is this last benefit that is so important for time-short professionals who do not want to be burdened with the upkeep of a vegetable patch but still wish to reap the rewards of a few herbs and vegetables from the garden.
This practice is also a healthy landscape strategy as it is less likely to require the same frequency of pest control. In effect a well designed garden integrating ornamental and productive plants is a step towards a more sustainable environmentally friendly garden.
Perhaps one of the most adaptable features of herbs and vegetables are their ability to grow quickly and therefore are ideal as fillers, especially when planning to sell the property.
For more information about herbs and vegetables, refer to subTropical Gardening magazine - www.stgmagazine.com.au