Friday, May 30, 2014

Adventures in Gardening: An Edible Hedge

This gardening thing is HARD.

About a month ago Andrew and I managed to sell the pool (not "ours" since we bought the house DESPITE the pool). Yes, we sold the pool. Why? Because we don't have pool obsessed, splashy kids, neither of us like swimming in pools (ocean and lakes please!) and they are an energy and money drain (the previous owner's electricity bill went up over 200$ over the summer months).

Put an ad up on kijiji and the next weekend a dude and his friend came and tore down the fence (it was so rotten it really just needed a good push) and took off with our pool for 800$.

We now have a giant summoning circle in our yard. Yay!

My plan would be to have a gorgeous (I can dream right?) firepit area with a small food garden on the side and pretty flowers. This plan has a few hiccups:

  1. We have no idea what is currently growing in a mini garden that was in front of the rotten pool fence (we send photos to Andrew's mom since she knows stuff about gardening- sadly everything looks pretty to me. I can't tell a weed from a flower).
  2. We need to collect flat stones from somewhere since I don't want to pay for them. This will mean several trips to a beach where we will hopefully go unnoticed when we lug flat rocks back to my car. Friends: flat stones as gifts are welcome.
  3. We no longer have privacy from the driveway.
The last one we decided to target a few weekends ago after some inspiration from Niki Jabbour.

Supposedly, we live near a very famous winter gardener, Niki Jabbour (maybe she lives in this amazing house that has a cool triangular hot house, solar panels and bubbles on the roof? I drool every time we drive by). So. I purchased her book, 73 Groundbreaking Food Gardens, cuz we have gardens and I have no clue and hey, I heart local right?

It's an amazing and inspirational book (and I'm really excited about her winter gardening book, the Year Round Gardener) but I was especially excited about the plans for an Edible Hedge (and the cocktail garden, but yeah know).

An Edible Hedge is exactly what we needed!

What is an edible hedge? It's a hedge made of berry bushes... cool beans, I know. The plan in the book was pretty large and with berries that weren't necessarily local to us. Thankfully Niki is super responsive and supportive on Twitter and she suggested: Blueberries and a few options to source them.

 Our cart of edible awesomeness at Baldwin Nurseries!

That Saturday Andrew and I hopped in the car and drove over an hour to a little out of the way nursery, Baldwin Nurseries, to purchase our edible hedge. The guy thought I was crazy, but gamely suggested a few blueberry options and Haskaps (honeyberry) as our other "berry". I learned that for best results you should have two types of each so we purchased 3 blueberry bushes (2 Duke:1Blue Gold) and 4 haskaps (2 Tundra:2 Blue). When I told him we'd then have to buy a shovel and some dirt I swear he thought "crazy hipsters".

(Haskap bush close up!)
One shovel, four bags of dirt (peat moss and shrimp compost, we already had bags of black earth left over from previous owners-thank you!) later and we were ready to plant! Except... it was almost 6pm by the time we got home. I guess gardeners get up EARLY. It was giving rain for the next day, though, so we had to plant that night.

Within 15 minutes the black flies were swarming our bodies and eating us alive. By the second plant we hit bedrock 2 inches in. An hour and we abandoned ship, leaving the potted bushes on the deck and running screaming from the voracious, insatiable black fly horde of death. (that week I made "black fly soap" with citronella and it smells awful. Hopefully it works).

We swore we would get up extra early on Sunday and finish the job. Which I am proud to say, despite getting dirt all over my arms and face, we did.

(Our edible hedge completed, shovel abandoned: WHAM )

(from from behind the summoning circle towards the driveway immediately after planting. The middle blueberry bush was named Nicolas Cage. I have no idea why.)

In the end we had two rows: back row closest to the road were the taller bushes: the blueberries. Closest to the summoning circle firepit were the smaller bushes: the haskaps. We ended up having to do two raised beds for two of the bushes due to bedrock. I spent an hour finding rocks on our property (not even caring about the ants crawling all over the bottom at that point) to create a small bed. They actually look kinda cute.
 (Edible Hedge tonight, two weeks post planting. Status: STILL ALIVE!)

 (these are the flowers on Nicolas Cage, aka the middle Duke Blueberry bush- kickin' butt as would be expected)
 (Cutest little blueberry flowers on all three bushes! Plus isn't that purple bush pretty? We can take zero credit as we had no idea what it was until it flowered last week...)

Two weeks later and the blueberries are actually flowering and nothing died! Score! We should hopefully have a few blueberries this summer and this edible hedge should be low maintenance and extremely hardy. Whether we eat the berries or they manage to attract wildlife (which would be amazing), it's win:win.


  1. From images provided in the post I have made a conclusion that your garden is very beautiful. These wonderful plants create a beautiful atmosphere in your garden. Great job!

  2. This is great. Really really great. Hedges have so much wildlife value (the bird nerd in you will appreciate that birds will use your hedge for cover/nesting), offer privacy, windbreaks and, yayyyyy, yours is edible too. How is the Groundbreaking Food Garden book?

    Congrats! :)

  3. enjoy! make sure to sprinkle coffee grounds around your blueberry bushes as they love the acid!! (if you don't drink coffee you can get them for free from shops - we get it by the bagful and dump it in our compost, on blueberries, and under rhodies & azaleas as well :)

  4. yes gardening is so much work and problem solving! love the idea of blueberry hedges.

  5. Yay for edible landscaping! I love what you are doing with your garden. But I think my favourite part is your summoning circle!


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