Edible Groundcovers for Sunny Spots


| 5/29/2014 3:01:00 PM


Tags: Herbs, Groundcovers, Edible Landscaping, Drought Tolerant, Amy W. Hill,

Amy HillGrass is an expensive groundcover. Many homeowners love the calming look of a broad green carpet welcoming them home from work, but to keep their lawns looking their best, they turn to cartloads of chemical fertilizers, herbicides to control weeds, and pesticides to control the grubs and insects that try to coexist in the landscape. 

This level of chemical consumption comes with serious costs, both financial and environmental. Turf lawns consume 10,000 gallons of water each year on top of the rainfall they receive [1]. Unprecedented droughts and the water restrictions that often accompany them make maintaining a large turf lawn impractical and irresponsible. Certain expensive chemical herbicides and pesticides may be contributing to honeybee colony collapse disorder [2], which will have huge impacts on food availability and food prices if it isn't curbed.

Why not try a more sustainable and innovative approach to landscaping this summer? Replace a portion of your lawn with attractive edible groundcovers. You'll have less mowing, more leisure time, and home-grown herbs to enjoy.

Thyme

thymus vulgaris

If your climate tends to be on the hot, dry, sunny side, replace part of your lawn with low-growing thyme (Thymus sp.). This Mediterranean herb likes full sun, excellent drainage, and low water. Bees and other pollinators love the nectar from thyme flowers, and thymol, a natural compound extracted from thyme, has antimicrobial properties and helps control parasitic mites that stress honeybee populations. Thymus serphyllum, creeping thyme, grows 6 to 12 inches tall and will spread to 1 to 3 feet wide depending on the cultivar, providing a tough, low-maintenance groundcover. Thymus serphyllum 'Annie Hall' is covered by tiny pinkish-lavender flowers. ‘Pink Ripple’ also has pale pink flowers and a lemon scent to the foliage. Culinary thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has a more upright habit, but you can keep it compact by shearing off handfuls to use in soups, sauces, salads, marinades, and to flavor meats and seafood on the grill. Variety ‘Silver Queen’ has attractive white edges to the petals. Lemon thyme (T. x citriodorus) is also edible, and has (not surprisingly) a bright lemony taste.

grace
6/2/2014 12:00:53 AM

I have a strawberry like weed? growing in my grass. It has a small, uniformily round, red,firm berry. I have not had the opportunity to observe birds or animals eating these berries, afraid to taste. Are they poisonious or can they be eated?





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