Q: What is edible landscaping? Why has it become so popular?
Answer: Edible landscaping has gained in popularity since Rosalind Creasy coined the phrase in her award-winning book “The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping,” published in 1982.
The trend continues today as people gain more appreciation for locally grown fruits and vegetables and yards are becoming more compact. There is a yearning for a simpler life, the good life, with more self-sufficiency — where you can grow beautiful food and cook delicious meals with it, where you can reconnect with the natural world in your own yard by creating outdoor spaces where relaxation and recreation can take place and by growing your own food.
Other reasons that edible landscaping is taking hold are the appearance of such movements as “Eat the Lawn” and public orcharding.
For many people, lawn mowing is losing its allure. A few statistics to back this up: Lawn mowing uses 300 million gallons of gas and takes 1 billion hours annually to complete. Why waste the time and money in mowing when you could be growing food in that sunny spot? To design an edible landscape, apply the elements of design to such food-producing plants as fruit trees, vines, shrubs and ground covers. It doesn’t mean that every single plant is a fruit tree, vegetable or herb that can be eaten. It does mean planting fruit trees instead of purely ornamental ones, growing a specimen grape arbor, and using vegetables and herbs instead of bedding plants where you can.
To make edible landscaping work, it takes a thoughtful analysis of your yard so you can put a few edible plants in the proper environment for healthy growth and food production. Consider the amount of sunlight that you have in your landscape as well as how much work you like to do in your yard. Edible landscapes are not low maintenance, but they do provide a tasty reward to all of your hard work.
Q: What is the best way to get rid of English ivy without using chemicals?
Answer: English ivy is a common, nonnative invasive plant in the Piedmont. Many people plant English ivy as a ground cover, not realizing how fast it spreads. It will grow in shade and partial shade, and it can kill trees if it is allowed to grow unchecked up the trunks. Sometimes English ivy escapes from containers where it is growing.
English ivy provides a habitat for such insects as mosquitoes and cockroaches as well as smothering native plant material in our gardens and forests.
You can remove English ivy at any month of the year. It will be actively growing during the frost-free months. You can hand pull or dig out with a small shovel, being careful to remove all the pieces of the roots, even small pieces which may break off. Any piece of root left in the ground will re-root and grow back.
Another method of removal is to use a weed whacker to cut the…