Garden Lifestyle

Blueberries as Edible Landscaping

I mean, there's like a kazillion ways to go with this gardening thing. So many plants; so little time and all that.

I don't recommend sending the kids out to harvest blueberries. They usually don't return with any.   Photo by Pink Sherbet under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

Here’s something new to us this year – blueberries in our front yard landscaping. I’ve been trying to do this for years but ended up on some other gardening escapade instead. I mean, there’s like a kazillion ways to go with this gardening thing. So many plants; so little time and all that. But this year we got the blueberries in and along with our columnar apple trees, they’re creating a truly edible landscape.

Recently edible landscaping has gotten a lot of attention and I have no idea why it hasn’t caught on earlier. It’s such a brilliant way of taking advantage of the little bit of land that many of us have but use strictly for ornamentals.

Not that I’m against ornamentals – on the contrary. I have 6 Japanese maples adorning my yards, 5 camellias, and quite a few roses, to name a few. And trust me, they aren’t coming out. But it might not be obvious that food can be just as decorative and brings the added benefit of feeding you, too.

Take my blueberries, for example. The dwarf varieties are compact and nicely shaped just as any ornamental shrub should be. They’ll reach about 1 1/2 to 3 feet high when they’re mature. If you’d prefer taller bushes, you can plant the highbush plants that will grow to 5 or 6 feet tall.

Right now they have these darling little pink bell flowers on them which began showing up in February when many other shrubs are refusing to share their blossoms. In the summer, we’ll have plump, delicious berries for snacking, pies, ice cream, and muffins. After that, many blueberry bushes will add fall color by offering brilliant red or even yellow leaves.

I’m having a hard time figuring out why blueberries aren’t routinely added to landscaping to begin with. I know what you’re thinking. You’re figuring that maybe people don’t want a plant that loses all of it’s leaves. That there’s no winter interest, am I right?

Not to brag (I mean I didn’t create the variety) but the blueberries we planted are called “Sunshine” than they are an evergreen shrub (zone 9). That said, most blueberry varieties are deciduous shrubs. But are you honestly going to find fault with a lady for taking her time to get dressed? And when she does show up, she looks like a million bucks – for months at a time. C’mon, you couldn’t pull that off.

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