It is said that spending time in nature can melt away stress and actually provide health benefits. There are many advantages to gardening: burning calories, reducing stress, moderating moods, and connecting with the land. The Japanese even have a term for “forest bathing,” shinrin-yoku. Having a beautiful green space that is functional gives you a wonderful place to connect with nature while providing food for the table, flowers for the vase, and herbs for the pot.
Infusing your garden with flowers and edibles alike brings added enjoyment to any outdoor space. Make your garden fun and accessible. Gone are the days of neat little rows of peas and lettuce and corn and tomatoes. The joy of a garden is that it can be used and enjoyed. Pathways and seated areas make outdoor spaces pleasant areas to retire to and beautiful but edible plants make the garden functional.
Permaculture is a system of agriculture that mimics nature. In 1978 Bill Mollison and David Holmgren developed this sustainable farming model. The idea is that you can grow food that sustains you without damaging the land and need to weed less. Permaculturists seek out plants that are well adapted to the area and have benefits beyond mere aesthetics. Planting fruit trees that double as shade trees. Adding a border of raspberry or blackberry bushes instead of flowering shrubs.
Because permaculture is such a dynamic system, it can be put to action in many different ways. There are seven basic principles of this style of gardening: conservation, stacking functions, repeating functions, reciprocity, appropriate scale, diversity, and sharing. Pay attention to the space you wish to cultivate. What areas get the most sun? Then, develop a plan. How will the space be best used? If you like lounging outdoors, consider adding patio furniture and a grill. If you are more of a walker, make sure to incorporate walkways. You want your garden to be easy and fun to tend to and pleasant enough to spend time in.
Edible landscaping incorporates food plants into a decorative setting. This style of gardening combines edibles with ornamentals. The edible plants can be aesthetically pleasing while adding the benefits of fresh healthy foods to your diet.
When designing your garden, you want a variety to spice up the table, but food plants also add texture and colors not normally seen in purely ornamental lawns. Incorporate strong lines of pathways and patio planters, so that seasonal shifts and harvests do not cause major disturbances. Remember when choosing your plants, that edibles require more labor. Dwarf vegetables may be more appropriate and save you time at harvest. Edible yards are some of the most rewarding with their pops of color and green smells that transfer to the table. Be prepared to share the fruits of your labors with friends and family alike.
Ornamental Vegetable Garden
A kitchen garden does not have to be all work and no pleasure beyond the table. Vegetable gardens can be just a beautiful as they are utilitarian with a little bit of planning. Borrow design strategies used in ornamental landscaping to turn your mundane rows of veggies into a pleasant garden escape. Play with all the different colors available. Do not be afraid to throw in some ornamentals, and experiment with different blocks of color. Go for a wide range of color and textures to make your garden appealing to the eyes.
When creating your oasis, plant snug beds and avoid row upon row. Build a tapestry of color by arranging lush and vibrant plants in fun patterns. Create a peaceful outdoor retreat with fenced borders and clear walkways. A dining area allows you to prepare meals straight from your garden while enjoying the beautiful setting.
The health benefits of gardening cannot be overstated. Get outside and get your hands in the dirt. Stretch your body and work your muscles while soaking up some vitamin D from the sun. Eat fruit and veggies straight off the vine. Stop to smell the flowers. Add a little feng shui to balance energies and create a meditation area. Add a garden swing or some comfortable chairs. Work and pleasure can be combined when it comes to gardening. Feel your stress dissipate as your soak in the greenery.