Tips for Creating an `Edible Landscape'

KNOWN for her books and philosophy on "edible landscaping," Rosalind Creasy says there's nothing better than fresh-from-the-garden vegetables.

Any edible plant can be used in ornamental landscape, Creasy says in a phone interview, but some are more suitable than others.

Choose uniquely shaped plants as well as colorful ones.

Here are some of her suggestions:

* Mix yellow, pear-shaped small tomatoes with pastel pink or white eggplant and the gorgeous red stalks and large leaves of rhubarb Swiss chard.

* Combine giant red Japanese mustard (with its fountain of curled, emerald green leaves) with the purplish-red highlights of ornamental kales.

* Pale and darker green lettuces and all types of pepper plants add contrast and texture.

* Herbs combined with the vegetables may be the blue-gray foliage of lavender or the green-purple of pineapple garden sage, or edible dwarf nasturtiums.

* Tie the composition together with colorful annual bedding plants in long arching strips around the vegetable beds or to provide accents.

* To maintain a simplified, tight design, use no more than three kinds of building material such as brick or gravel for paths, railroad ties at the edge of trellises or fences.

* Avoid the tendency to clutter the garden with too much pottery, sculpture, or lawn furniture.

Although container plants help perk up the landscape, don't use too much color or variety in planters.

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