Edible Landscaping – Part I

At first, “edible landscaping” may sound odd, but think of citrus trees. Lovely, evergreen trees, with striking glossy green foliage. The bonus is the delicious and nutritious fruit for your consumption. This is one form of edible landscaping.

Then there is full tilt edible landscaping. Botanist mentor and friend Richard Felger (of blessed memory) planted a vegetable garden in his front yard back in the 1980’s. He lived in a very posh neighborhood at the time and he shocked some neighbors, amused others, and had several people follow his lead.


Free Live Presentation!

If you are in the area, stop by the Sun City West Garden Club on Tuesday February 14 at 8:30am. I am giving a free presentation about Easy & Edible Home Landscape Plants. Hope to see you there.

Since many of my readers live in communities with HOA’s and a host of laws against using your front yard as you see fit, I would like to suggest some lovely landscape plants that are generally accepted in all neighborhoods.

Start With Herbs


Robust rosemary is widely planted throughout the Southwest, as it thrives in our arid climate, and even in the cooler elevations. How many of my readers remember that it is an herb? Commonly found in Italian dishes, rosemary adds piquant flavor to many foods. It can be used fresh or dried, or turned into an herbal salt – which is something for Savor the Southwest, another site I write for.

creeping germander.


Gorgeous germander is great if you get tired of seeing rosemary everywhere, and it is just as drought tolerant. Creeping germander is a low ground cover with glossy evergreen leaves. Bush germander is taller, and comes with silvery leaves or glossy green ones. Bush germander only survives with good drainage. Use any germander in cooking just like you would use rosemary.

Mountain germander, Teucrium montanum. Photo courtesy A. Trnkoczy


Lovely Laurel. True laurel is the source of bay leaves and a beautiful evergreen tree. Slow growing, it is good for small yards, or even containers. Protect from frost when young. The leaves are best dried before using. They can be harvested any time but are best in spring.


Garlic Chives

Green and garlic-y, garlic chives have narrow, bright green edible leaves. Not the roots – and best of all they are green all year. Cut a few leaves any time for salads, egg dishes, or anywhere you want a mild garlic flavor. Globes of tiny flowers are also edible (discussed on Savor the Southwest). Looking like a short, skinny daylily plant, it adds a waterfall of green to any low-water landscape.

Green and verdant – but still low water. Garlic chives look graceful in the landscape.

Meet Some Greeks

Oregano and marjoram are kissing cousins from the dry rocky hills of Greece. Both make an excellent groundcover, especially between the stones of a flagstone path. Your nostrils will be filled with the scent of oregano as you use the path. Or cut some and toss it in your next pot of spaghetti sauce.


But Wait – There’s More

Let’s not forget our local desert plants – but let’s also save them for another day. Then there is the of edible flowers from the landscape. So many choices! Also have to wait for another day.

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