Off Season “Beauty”
Notice that no book on growing food plants at home—mine included—shows what the garden looks like during or after it’s eaten. This needs to be in the mind of the designer/gardener when designing and planting. All the photographs of the best-looking edible landscapes are also not taken in the winter. The more annual food crops in the design, the uglier it usually gets in the winter, anywhere. Here the resting winter garden has a few edibles, and is rather tidy - a welcomed view compared to many winter edible gardens.
Therefore, hardscape features are very important. Entertain the eye during the “slow” times of the year or during the major harvest time with things like a sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi, brick walkways, colorfully-painted trellises, stone walls, brick or flagstone patios, wattle fences, brightly painted raised beds, ornamental corner brackets for raised beds, gnomes, and much more. Also, evergreen hedges to define the structure of the garden and an alleé of evergreen plants (edible or not) are good ways to lure the eye away from the tackier sections of the garden. And such elements help define the garden during the snowy or dreary times of the year. In mild-winter areas, just learning what cool season vegetables to plant and when they go in for a continuous year of harvesting is important.