The Garden of Eat'n

by David Silvan
(Renton, WA, USA)

Chives in bloom, with stray Alpine Strawberry in background by Evergreen Blueberries

Chives in bloom, with stray Alpine Strawberry in background by Evergreen Blueberries

Chives in bloom, with stray Alpine Strawberry in background by Evergreen Blueberries
Entrance to my Garden of Eat'n, lined by Spanish Olive, Purple Elderberry, Evergreen Blueberry hedge, Evergreen Strawberry tree, and more
Side view of my front yard. Everything is edible except the grass and trees that border my neighbor's yard
Kiwi Pergola, with Arctic Beauty and Kens Red Hardy Kiwi covering different parts.

In 2003 I bought my house with 1/2 acre of land and quickly launched an ongoing project of re-landscaping my yard with all edibles. My neighbors were alarmed when I dug up my front yard and began making dramatic changes. One neighbor came over to ask me what I was doing and after hearing that I was re-landscaping with edibles, got a worried look on her face and replied that "Flowers are pretty too." I fear she may have been worried that I was going to plant ugly rows of corn or some other vegetable crop that would have lowered their property value.

Unbeknownst by my neighbor, I follow a pretty stringent plan of combining aesthetics with low maintenance, all with the premise of using only plants that contain at least one edible component. In my yard, if it is not edible, it is a weed. I've held to this with the exception of limited patches of grass and trees that border my neighbor's yard.

Initially, I hired a professional "edible landscaper" to assist me in developing a plan, but was really discouraged to find her unwilling to listen to my request of using only edibles in the design. She insisted it was impossible to do. I determined to prove her wrong.

Years later, the result has been a colorful and beautiful array of flowers, shrubs, and trees that are wonderful throughout our seasons, all the while being able to be enjoyed not only by sight but also taste and smell.

I now have over 20 fruit trees, dozens of different kinds of berry bushes, a wide variety of edible flowers, herbs, and much more.

I believe my front yard showcases how attractive an edible landscape can be. In my yard, spring is welcomed with trees full of blossoms, colorful rhubarb jumping to life, and an array of new growth replacing the dormancy of winter. Summer is enjoyed with blossoms of Echinacea , Bachelor buttons, Roses, Chive blossoms, Calendula, red and blond strawberries, and much more. Fall is full of the color and smell of ripening fruit and berries, such as my carefree Asian pear trees and Blueberries. Winter is definitely not a barren and ugly time in my yard, with all the beautiful evergreens that are there throughout the year, such as my Evergreen Blueberry hedge, Spanish Olive, Pineapple Guava, Strawberry trees, and more.

Do you like this front yard? Tell us why!

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Comments for The Garden of Eat'n

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Jun 12, 2012
"flowers are pretty too"
by: Kimberly

I like edible landscaping. I think it is amazing that you can landscape so much with edible plants. Do you now have many flowers that are edible, and what types, and did you tell your neighbor about them?

Jun 12, 2012
by: Anonymous

I love that David went beyond what others thought was possible. I've been to his house and his yard is amazing and relaxing to be in. He's put in a lot of time and thought into his landscaping and is worth a visit.

Jun 12, 2012
Where is your blog?
by: jadzia

Great yard, would love to see more. If you could please share you blog address so we can see more,follow your yard in planting seasons, and learn what made you choose what plant.

Jun 12, 2012
Wonderful looking and eating yard !
by: Anonymous

If everyone in America grew what edibles they could there wouldn't be any hunger in America ! This yard is beautiful and a delight to see, brimming with such a variety of vegetables and fruits to choose from. I love chive blossoms, but it is almost impossible to find them in the grocery store. They are sooooooo good in salad, and it looks like you have enough to make a few salads! Love the yard...give you an A +++++ !

Jun 13, 2012
Reply to Kimberly about edible flowers
by: David Silvan

Kimberly asked:
"Do you now have many flowers that are edible, and what types, and did you tell your neighbor about them?"

I have grown a variety of edible flowers in my front yard. There is an asterick next to the ones currently flowering in my front yard this year.
* Calendulas
* Roses
* Echniciea (Cone Flower - Perennial)
* Bachelor Buttons (Corn Flowers - re-seeding annual)
* Rose
* Saffron (fall crocus)
* Violas (re-seeding annual)
* Pansies (re-seeding annual)
* Pineapple Guava (nice exotic blossom on fruiting bush)
* Chives (I love the purple blossoms on these, which can be used as an onion substitute)

I have more flowers in my yard than almost all of my neighbors. I am not sure if my neighbor is aware of them being edible, though they may have on occassion seen me out in the yard snacking on them. lol

Since I grow edibles, pretty much all my bushes, trees, and low growing plants produce some sort of blossom, though many would not be considered a traditional aesthetic flower since they tend to be small or the focus is more on the fruit/berry. For example, I have not tasted the blossoms of my Asian Pear tree in my front yard, but it is really pretty in flower in spring.

Aug 09, 2012
Sometimes perceptions can be deceiving
by: DollarSeed

When Patty and I first discussed this contest, I was a bit worried about what it would take to win a contest like this. I do not have a front yard.

The array of awesome pictures, mixed with the great stories behind them has changed my perception of what an edible front yard could be.

Please keep me informed of what you do in 2013 with all of the seeds you're getting for being the 3rd place winner.

Keep up the great work!

Jan 26, 2015
edible landscaping
by: Roger Cole

You are a man after my own heart. I bought a book over 30 years ago about edible landscaping, but never had the time to make use of it. After several failed gardening attempts, last year I was successful at growing a beautiful organic garden in a small triangle patch in my back yard. That success and watching all of Geoff Lawton's permaculture videos has me all excited about expanding my efforts to a front yard venture like yours. I have a slight sloping yard for about 50 ft and then about 12 ft at about 30 degrees. That 12 feet is a bear to mow. I am 70 yrs. old now and in good health, but I have to find a better way to utilize that steep hill and save my aching back at the same time. Thanks for some good ideas. Roger Cole

Apr 10, 2016
always makes me a little homesick
by: mom

Do you have any more recent photos?

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