A growing landscape design trend is the incorporation of edible gardens and plants that are multi-purpose.
An edible garden could be a vegetable patch, or a herb garden that provide you with low-cost healthy produce for use in your kitchen. An edible garden is also a very economical way to reduce water-intensive lawn space, and to fill an otherwise empty garden space with an appealing visual feature that is multi-purpose.
These gardens can be personalised with fixed or informal boundaries and plant choices depending on the overall landscaping style you are hoping to achieve, the below is a selection of multi-purpose plants that are sure to strive in the South-East Queensland climate.
Trailing Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Trailing Rosemary is a dense shrub with masses of fragrant, think, dark green leaves, usually with blue flowers. They thrive in well-drained soil and grows well in full-sun or semi-shade. Cascading in nature, Trailing Rosemary could be planted atop retaining walls or over balconies. Rosemary could be used in cooking, especially as a herb for meats, and oil infused with rosemary can be used to soothe eczema and joint pain. Rosemary has also been found to be effective in deterring mosquitos.
Mint (Mentha sp.)
Mint is an evergreen aromatic groundcover with heavily veined and soft leaves, with wavy or scalloped edges. Mint strives in partly-shaded and damp areas, and they are a rampant grower. Mint can be used in cooking in soups, oils, as a topping for yogurt, in mint tea, as a beverage booster, or in salads. Mint has also been found to attract beneficial insertssuch as honeybees and hoverflies, while repelling ‘bad’ bugs such as ants, flies, and fleas.
English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
English Lavender is one of the more fragrant species of the Lavandula varieties. It is a medium-sized shrub that grows up to 1m tall, and thrives in full-sun and well-drained soil. Lavender is a semi-evergreen perennial that grows upright in tight clumps, and are fantastic as formal or informal edging along walkways, raised walls, and borders. They are also great in rock gardens and in mass planting groups. Lavender is another multi-purpose plant that is excellent for repelling bugs such as mosquitos due to it’s fragrant scent, and is extremely effective as a room refresher. Dried lavender could be used in herbal tea, infused in vinegar, or as a spice. Dried lavender is also fantastic inside a pillow or eye mask to promote relaxing sleep, as a linen spray, or in a face scrub.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Lemongrass is a tall perennial grass with a thick clumping habit and a distinct lemon scent and taste, which keeps away snakes and mosquitos. They grow best in rich, moist soil, and while they tolerate full-sun, lemongrass grows softer and greener leaves in semi-shade. As a tufting grass, lemongrass is best suited to a contained planting location, or as a garden border to prevent erosion. Lemongrass also is used in cooking, as it is one of the key ingredients in most Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, and dried lemongrass works well in tea.
Geranium (Pelargonium sp.)
Geranium is a popular spreading groundcover with finely hairy, hand-shaped leaves with toothed lobes, which are fantastic as indoor plants or in hanging baskets. They bloom with red shaded flowers in Spring and Summer, and will grow in a variety of conditions, preferring a sunny or semi-shaded position and moist soil. Geranium is another multi-purpose plant that is a repellent for mosquitos while providing colour for the garden.