Edible Landscaping: Farming in the Backyard | Local News

Su Clauson-Wicker special at the Roanoke Times

Editor’s Note: This story is a second installment in a move to use more yard space for something other than sod. The first story (“Lawn Begone”) was published on July 4th.

Ben Corl and Julie Burger had no plans to halve their annual intake of greens and root vegetables when they planted two modest vegetable beds in their garden 11 years ago.

They didn’t have a master plan to cover three-quarters of their land in Draper Road, Blacksburg with edibles and flowers, but as their enthusiasm grew, their lawn shrank.

“We never intended to have a lot of grass. We always wanted a lot of plants. When we crave a new plant and have no room, we get rid of more lawn, ”Burger said.

Now their home is a centerpiece for home gardening, growing everything from spinach to peanuts to winter wheat, surrounded by a strip of colorful flowers that attract pollinating insects.

Sheridan Bell, on Montgomery Street, knew his lawn was the best place for fruit trees and berry shrubs, which is why there was an orchard of dwarf trees. It has papayas, apples, pears and an oriental persimmon cross.

“With a good size, they are very quaint and sculptural,” said the retired landscaper.

Barbara Griffiths mixes edibles, such as strawberries and herbs, with ornamentals in her Mission Hills garden. The huge rhubarb leaves form an exotic backdrop; the asparagus adds a fern texture. Blueberries create a thin border shrub.


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Terri S. Tomasini