One of the most popular gardening trends over the last decade has
been the increased interest in growing herbs, vegetables and fruit. It is possible to incorporate edible plants into a small garden by thinking about these plants not as ‘vegie patch’ specimens relegated to the back yard, but as functional and aesthetic garden plants. By doing this you can gain both ornamental interest and increase productive space.
Many edible plants are highly ornamental. Parsley with its glorious deep green leaves makes a striking edging plant near walkways. Bush Greek Basil (Ocimum x citriodorum ‘Lesbos’) can be clipped into a quaint hedging plant, as can rosemary and chilli. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are also a good plant for small gardens – looks good and have edible leaves and flowers.
Get a touch of classic garden design by incorporating a striking ornamental grass. Use an edible plant such as Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus).
For groundcovers, why not try edible plants such as sweet potatoes, oregano, thyme, mint or Betel Leaf (Piper sarmentosum). Not only will these plants be productive, but many may release a pleasant fragrance when brushed or stepped upon.
Highly attractive and productive flowering shrubs include Blackberry Jam Fruit (Rosenbergiodendron formosum), Grumichama (Eugenia brasiliensis), Jaboticaba (Plinia cauliflora) and Ceylon Hill Gooseberry or Downy Rose Myrtle (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa).
In a small garden there is no need to sacrifice a productive space.