Add Edibles to Your Small Garden, with Garden Designer Susan Morrison

By on May 18, 2012

Susan Morrison specializes in vertical and small space garden design

Do you have a small garden? Make it do double-duty as a space for outdoor entertaining and growing edibles.

Garden designer Susan Morrison is an expert on small space landscapes and she gave us quick design tips at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show this spring.

Tricia did a video interview with Susan at one of the display gardens at the show.

Created by Habitat Design of Palo Alto with a “contemporary chic” theme, the tiny garden is packed with ornamental plants that can be easily switched out for edible plants.

Susan said one design principle that made the garden so appealing was the repetition of same-size rectangular shapes in the pavers and the planters on the wall. The shapes at the show garden could be duplicated with Smart Pot Wall Pouches. Using the vertical space of the fence wall is an important way of expanding the growing space when the garden has a small footprint.

Simply replace the plants in the show garden containers with dark colored edibles to keep the garden atmosphere the same, while growing your own food. Susan suggested dark foliage like Dark Purple Opal Basil and red lettuces to keep the dark theme going, and pick up on the red in the phormium planted below. Any shallow rooted vegetables or herbs, or strawberries, would work well for that vertical space.

Swap the ornamental shrubs for dwarf edible shrubs like ‘Top Hat’ blueberry—or try dramatic rhubarbs, or even lettuces. The ornamental tree can be replaced by a dwarf fruit tree of any kind—including a kumquat or another favorite citrus.

The result? A sophisticated garden design that’s good enough to eat.

Have you got the vertical gardening bug? Grab a copy of the gorgeous and instructive book that Susan wrote with fellow garden designer Rebeca Sweet. Garden Up! is one of the most popular garden books in the country right now, and will have you climbing your garden walls.

Leave a Comment