Berries and herbs taste great and double as landscaping showpieces. Use them as groundcover, borders or interesting centerpieces in your yard - and as delicious snacks or desserts in your kitchen. Below, get some edible shrub and groundcover ideas and tips for growing them.
Wildly popular at the turn of the last century, gooseberry hedges are enjoying something of a renaissance. The bushes can grow up to 3 feet high and 6 feet wide. The plants bear fruit for about 2-4 weeks, and the fruit tastes like a cross between a bitter green grape and a plum. You can eat them off the vine, though they're most commonly used in cooking and are especially delicious in pies and jams.
If your yard is looking like it could benefit from a groundcover, try strawberries, which will choke out weeds, tolerate a wide array of growing conditions and, best of all, supply you with a versatile and nutritious fruit. If you have a stone walkway, try planting thyme and other low-growing herbs in the cracks. You'll keep out weeds, have a fragrant walkway and fresh herbs to cook with.
Blueberries are an excellent choice in the garden and the kitchen: they rank highest of any fruit for antioxidants; they're low in calories; and they're a great source of a fiber. Blueberry bushes can fit into many landscape designs. Just be sure to prepare your soil for blueberries, which like very moist, yet aerated and quite acidic soil (pH 4-5). You can work some coffee grounds or pine needles into your soil to help create the right conditions.
If you like unusual foliage to contrast with your flowers, why not grow some that you can eat? Many red jewel cabbage varieties are visually stunning. Some have dark leaves, while others have a remarkable texture. Just put one wherever you have a little space that calls out for something unique. And when it's ready to pick, red jewel cabbage is great for salads, or it can be used as decorative "bowls" for dips and sauces.