Sep 212011
Arctostaphylos 'Howard McMinn" (click to enlarge)

California Manzanita shrub (click to enlarge)

In California we have many wonderful native plants that can be used in the garden. In the Edible Landscape, not all plants have to be edible for humans.  But they should be appropriate to the site, soil, moisture conditions and your aesthetic considerations.

The plant in the photo above, is the California Manzanita, Arctostaphylos densiflora. It grows on the dry hillsides of the western states. They range in size from creepers to full size shrubs to small trees. They like well drained soil, and very little water.

The bark is a dark smooth red to purple and

Close up of the bark of the Manzanita

Close up of the bark of the Manzanita

over time looks more beautiful. You can’t say that about too many plants (or humans). The only care I give it, is to prune the dead branches out of the center to expose the bark on the trunk.  This is also a deer resistant plant.

On a steep slope, Arctostaphylos ‘Emerald Carpet” makes a great ground cover , and is evergreen, needing very little water or care.

Here’s what those darn deer look like right behind my house.

The deer that love to eat our food

The deer that love to eat our food roaming behind my house


Even in the wild, Manzanita stays looking very good, without care or water.  Look at the photo below.  This plant grows on a dry, sunny hill behind my house in Northern California. We get no summer rains.

You will want to check your local weather zone to see if these plants might work for you. Go to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Remember, not all your plants need to produce food for humans in your Edible Landscape.  Plant diversity keeps your garden healthy.

Manzanita in the wild

Manzanita in the wild

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