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Spring is nearly here, and it is time to plan your gardens

According to Andy Brand, horticulturist at Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens, adding native edible plants to the landscape can have a delightful outcome! They look gorgeous with lots of color and texture. The New York Botanical Garden uses lots of parsley in their perennial beds to add that deep green and structural shape in between other plants. Same with sage and rosemary.

These herbs add considerable flavor to your cooking and are cheaper than going to the Farmer’s Market, and do well in sunny garden beds. Most importantly, they provide food and habitat for native wildlife. Plant enough seedlings to share with birds, bees and other native neighbors.

Some other suggestions for long-lived native plantings are : aronia or chokeberry (A. arbutifolia for red berries and A. melanocarpa for dark berries) for berry juice; blueberries, raspberries and blackberries for fabulous fruit if you can get there first! Others include native cherries, elderberries and viburnum which are gorgeous plants year round. Sumac can be turned into a juicy drink, or dry the fruit and use as a spice. Winterberry is a great winter accent plant and its leaves make a nice tea, and the berries are edible. Nuts include hickories, hazelnuts, walnuts, and of course oaks for acorns for the squirrels as well as humans if boiled or soaked first.

Have at it!