6 Decorative Plants You Can Eat, Too

By Brittany Lyte on 30 June 2016 0 comments

When it comes to home landscaping, why not kill two birds with one stone? Up your home's curb appeal this summer with plants and vegetation that can also stock your pantry. Use strawberry plants as ground cover. Edge a garden with colorful rosettes of lettuce. Or infuse your backyard flora with some of the other beautiful and utilitarian plants on this list.

1. Sunchokes

A member of the sunflower family, sunchokes produce chirpy yellow flowers that can add a pop of color to any landscaping design. This staple food can also keep you well-fed through the winter. Alternatively known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are tubers that resemble a ginger root but taste more like a savory potato. Widely harvested in temperate regions, sunchokes are ready for picking after the first or second frost of the season. They make for a great base ingredient in purees, soups, hashes, and mashes. That’s not all: When sauteed, sunchokes can contribute a slightly nutty flavor to any sauceless pasta dish.

2. Serviceberry

Native to every state but Hawaii, the serviceberry plant produces lacy spring flowers in white, pink, yellow, or red, as well as purplish-red berries infused with a tart flavor reminiscent of blueberries. In addition to eating them raw, the berries, which fruit for about two weeks per year, can be tossed in salads, baked into pies, or smashed into jams. Also known as amelanchier or Juneberry, this member of the rose family comes in about 20 varieties of small trees and large, deciduous shrubs. To grow well, the plant requires moist soil with good drainage. Other than that, it’s not particularly fussy, making it a great selection for the novice gardener.

3. Sage

With its silvery-green, low-to-the-ground leaves, sage makes for a wonderful front-row ornamental. Tricolor sage, which also has brush strokes of purple and white, is a particularly terrific variety for edging the garden. Not only is sage a delicious herb that can spruce up any meat, stir fry, or pasta, it’s also deliciously fragrant — a welcome addition to any yard. Easy to grow, a backyard mound of sage is a chef’s dream.

4. Small-Fruited Tomatoes

Small-fruited tomato varieties, such as the Cuban yellow grape, elfin, or sugar lump, produce plentiful yields of sweet tasting, gumball-sized fruit that can be eaten right from the garden — or added into salads, pastas, or veggie platters for dipping with vinaigrettes or hummus. Outside the kitchen, small-fruited tomatoes also make for a colorful, perky addition to the yard. Since keeping them on the ground will increase the risk of rotting, these attractive edibles can best be grown with stakes, in raised beds, or on trellises. Sunny spots are optimal.

5. Globe Artichokes

Easy to grow and easy to cook, the globe artichoke is a perennial species of thistle that produces large flower buds with thick, tender, geometric scales that are both ornamental and edible. In flavor, the antioxidant-rich globe artichoke is nutty and tangy. You can prepare them raw, grilled, boiled, sauteed, or stuffed. Our recommendation: Chop the heart into pieces, then marinate and toss them into a risotto or salad — or simply eat them as they are.

6. Paprika Peppers

This mild variety of the pepper has a striking, shiny red color that can add a bit of flash to any home garden. In the kitchen, they can be dried, ground, and used as a spice in mayo-based salads, goulash, or chorizo, or as a deviled egg garnish. These vitamin C-rich peppers can also be eaten raw straight from the garden. Paprika peppers thrive in fertile, well-draining soil with plentiful access to sunlight. Harvest time extends from summer to fall.

Do you have any edibles in your pretty garden?

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