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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition

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Edible Landscaping

Mar 10, 2014 04:51PM ● By Howard Garret

Howard Garret

I encourage gardeners to blend food crops and herbs into their landscaping. A major part of this concept is to use plants with edible flowers, as well as other edible parts. Of course, not all flowers are edible—some are poisonous, either naturally or from toxic chemical pesticides. Here are some guidelines.

• Not all flowers are edible. Some are poisonous. Learn the difference.

• Eat flowers only when you are positive they are edible and non-toxic.

• Eat only flowers that have been grown organically.

• Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries or garden centers unless you know they’ve been maintained organically.

• Do not eat flowers if you have hay fever, asthma or allergies.

• Do not eat flowers growing on the side of the road.

• Remove pistils and stamens from large flowers before eating, and eat only the petals.

• Introduce flowers and herbs in general into your diet the way you would new foods to a baby; one at a time, in small quantities.

Note: Pregnant women should avoid all strong herbs and no plant should be ingested in excess by anyone at anytime. Edible flowers can be used to enhance food at breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can also be used in teas. Here are some of the best edible landscaping choices:

SHADE TREES

Ginkgo—tea from leaves
Jujube—fruit
Linden—tea from flowers
Mulberry—fruit
Pecan—edible nuts
Persimmon—fruit
Walnut—edible nuts

ORNAMENTAL TREES

Apple—fruit and edible flowers
Apricot—fruit and edible flowers
Citrus—edible fruit, flowers and leaves for tea
Crabapple—fruit and edible flowers
Fig—fruit
Mexican plum—fruit
Peach—fruit and edible flowers
Pear—fruit and edible flowers
Persimmon—fruit
Plum—fruit and edible flowers
Redbud—edible flowers
Rusty blackhaw viburnum—edible berries and flowers for teas
Witch hazel—tea from leaves

SHRUBS

Agarita—fruit for wine, jellies and jams
Althea—edible flower petals
Bay—tea and food seasoning from leaves
Pomegranate—edible fruit
Turk’s cap—flowers and fruit for tea

ANNUALS

Begonias—edible flowers
Daylilies—edible flowers
Dianthus—edible flowers
Ginger—food, seasoning and tea from roots
Hibiscus—edible flower petals
Johnny jump-ups—edible flowers
Nasturtium—edible leaves, buds and flowers
Pansies—edible flowers
Peanuts—edible nuts
Purslane—edible leaves and flowers
Sunflower—edible seeds and flower petals

VINES

Beans and Peas—edible pods and seed
Gourds—edible flower petals
Grapes—edible fruit and leaves for tea and dolmas
Luffa—edible flowers, shoots and young fruits
Malabar spinach—edible foliage
Passion flower—edible fruit, tea from leaves

GROUND COVERS

Clover—tea from leaves and flowers
Creeping thyme—teas and food flavoring
Gotu kola—tea from leaves
Mints—food and teas from flowers and leaves
Oregano—teas and food flavoring
Violets—leaves in salads and tea from flowers and leaves

PERENNIALS

Anise hyssop—edible flowers, foliage for tea
Blackberries—edible berries, foliage for tea
Chives—edible foliage and flowers
Garlic—edible flowers, greens and cloves
Hibiscus—edible flower petals
Hoja santa—leaves for flavoring meats and other foods
Jerusalem artichoke—roots for food
Lavender—leaves and flowers for tea
Oxalis leaves and flowers
Monarda—flowers and leaves for tea
Peppers—fruit, tea from fruit
Purple coneflower—all plant parts for tea
Rosemary—food seasoning and tea from leaves and flowers
Roses—petals and hips for teas and salads
Salvia—edible flowers, foliage for teas
Sweet marigold—leaves and flowers for tea and garnish
Turk’s cap—flowers and fruit for tea


Howard Garret, “The Dirt Doctor”, has been the preeminent natural and organic gardening expert and proponent for more than 15 years in the DFW Metroplex. For more natural organic information, visit DirtDoctor.com.

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