This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. 03.2012

Photo (left):; (right):

programs from all over the world. If your local nursery can’t help, you can fi nd al- most anything from great companies with deep catalogues such as Johnny’s Seeds ( and Fedco (www. In short, getting into ed- ible landscaping for any growing zone has never been easier. Remember to advise and educate clients

on the seasonal aspects of edible landscap- ing. Tropical fruit is usually evergreen, but certain species—such as apples and pears— are deciduous. That means they will lose their leaves before their dormancy period in the fall. Make sure the owners understand this. A dormant landscape can look bare if not

properly mixed with evergreen plants. I use fl owering perennials, a few evergreen plants and colorful winter annuals such as pansies to brighten the scene. Labels are very useful during this time, to remember exactly what is planted where. Put plenty of personal tips and notes in the garden journal you’re hand- ing off , and these owners will remember you fondly for years to come. GB

Teresa Watkins is a horticulturist/

landscape designer and environmental consultant. She has an award-winning week- ly garden radio show, “In Your Backyard,” heard on

PLEASE DON‘T EAT THE DAFFODILS Mixing poisonous plants in with your edible species is a bad idea. I

learned a lesson the hard way during an on-site consul- tation early in my career. I visited a client named

Mary, who asked me to review her landscape and suggest ideas to enhance her gardens. I eagerly strolled through Mary’s property. As she identifi ed her areas of concern and her desires, I noticed a nice-sized vegetable and herb garden. As we leaned over the garden, she and I both plucked easily recognized but unlabeled herb leaves to taste and smell. Finishing our conver- sation about the herb and vegetable garden, Mary moved on, but an emerging bright green onion or leek-type plant caught my eye. A devout onion enthusiast, I reached down and pulled a portion of the leaf off and popped it in my mouth and swallowed. Immediately, I knew I had done something awful. My mouth started to salivate and my throat tightened up. Meanwhile, I nonchalantly kept following Mary and nodding, wondering how was I going to get to the hospital. Visions of headlines banners touting “Well Known but Stupid Horticulturist Dies in Client’s Yard” streamed through my brain. Finally, I wiped my mouth


The (sometimes) deadly daffodil.

and politely asked, “Oh Mary, what is that growing next to the parsley?” She promptly responded: “Those are my daf- fodils; I refrigerated them for ten weeks, they’re going to be beautiful this year!” I coughed and thought, daff odils… every part of the daff odil is poison- ous. My eyes watering and throat still tight, I ended the meeting, without an embar- rassing close call of dying in a client’s yard, and got into my car. While still in the driveway, I managed to call the offi ce sec- retary and said, “Anna, if I die before I get to the hospital, I’ve eaten a part of a daff odil.” Fortunately, for myself

and for my reputation, I stopped and bought a soda, and within 20 minutes, I was fi ne. I must not have eaten enough

to cause me harm, because I had no side eff ects except for humiliation. And I could have just panicked at instinctively re- alizing the plant I had nibbled on shouldn’t have been eaten. Many common plants, such as the tomatoes, potatoes, cher- ries and almonds come from poisonous genera containing toxins in non-edible parts of the plant—but they are safe to eat when used correctly. Make sure that all plants that are in a designated edible landscaping area can be eaten, all poison- ous plants are labeled, and that the homeowner is educated on the specifi c use of the plant. The moral of this story? Never plant poisonous plants in an edible landscape, unless you label them clearly and perma- nently.—Teresa Watkins

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