Edible landscaping: Farming the yard | Local News


Editor’s note: This story is a second installment about a movement to use more yard space for something other than turfgrass. The first story (“Lawn Begone”) was published on July 4.

Ben Corl and Julie Burger didn’t plan to raise half their annual consumption of greens and root vegetables when they planted two modest vegetable beds in their yard 11 years ago.

They had no master plan to cover three-fourths of their Draper Road, Blacksburg lot with edibles and flowers, but as their enthusiasm grew, their lawn dwindled.

“We never intended to have a lot of lawn. We always wanted lots of plants. When we crave a new plant and don’t have room, we get rid of more lawn,” Burger said.

Now their home is a showpiece for home gardening, yielding everything from spinach to peanuts to winter wheat, ringed by a swath of colorful flowers that draw pollinating insects.

Sheridan Bell, on Montgomery Street, knew his front lawn was the best place for fruit trees and berry bushes, so in went an orchard of dwarf trees. He has pawpaws, apples, pears, and an oriental persimmon cross.

“With good pruning, they’re very picturesque and sculptural,” the retired landscape designer said.

Barbara Griffiths mixes edibles, such as strawberries and herbs, with ornamentals throughout her Mission Hills yard. Rhubarb’s huge leaves make an exotic backdrop; asparagus adds a fernlike texture. Blueberries create a fine border shrub.

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