Durie tells how to design with edibles

LEAH MCLENNAN
Last updated 05:00 02/11/2013
Parsley

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: Parsley can also make a great garden border, Jamie Durie says.

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Parsley makes a fabulous border, artichokes are a great accent plant and apples can create the perfect aerial hedge.

These are some of the tips that Australian landscape architect and TV lifestyle expert Jamie Durie shares in his new book, Edible Garden Design: Delicious Designs from the Ground Up.

Durie, a horticulturist by training, says he's discovered how stylish edible plants can be by seeing them through the eyes of a designer.

"I'm not looking at it like a gardener would, I'm a designer first and foremost," he said.

When I look at a blueberry the first thing I think is "Wow I didn't know they had these incredible blue-green leaves, that's an incredible hedging plant.

"When I look at artichoke and broccoli, both of those plants have excellent architecture, they're one giant flower in themselves, you can use those in the central part of the bed as a accent plant."

In his gorgeous 300-page hardback book, Durie shows us a myriad ways we can get our fruit, vegetables and herbs out of the standard vegie patch and into the limelight.

"Rather than look at your edible plants as something that should sit in a vegetable patch, it's about being creative with our plants and getting the extra added bonus of food," he says.

In the book he features a range of projects that have inspired him, including Stephanie Alexander's home garden, community gardens in Chicago, produce markets in New York City and Mama Durie's vegie patch.

He describes how he transformed his mother's garden in Queensland's Coombabah by tearing out her old lawn, to her horror, and replacing it with a matrix of pathways and raised garden beds.

"If you replace your lawn with a garden that is ornamental, productive and interactive, your kids, and the planet, will love you for it," he says.

Durie says his mum now loves her green spaces and is living proof that gardens provide a sense of wellbeing and balance.

"She's always laughing, full of energy and excited about what the next season will bring," he says.          

Jamie Durie tells us some ways he has used edibles over the years:

- Bay trees or pomegranate for screens

- Rosemary for hedging

- Parsley and sage for borders

- Quince for espaliers

- Apples and pears for raised pleached (entwined) aerial hedges

- Dill and parsnip for fine foliage movement in the garden

- Artichokes for accent

- Pumpkins for ground covers

- Grapes and passionfruit for trellises and walls

- Fig trees for shady canopies or garden ceilings

- Citrus and stone fruits for topiarised ornamental trees

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