Don’t you love it when the solution to a problem turns out better than you imagined? Turns out our design conundrum elicited a delicious answer.
When we built on an infill lot in Minneapolis, we relocated the driveway to the opposite side of the lot in order to maximize gardening space with a perfect southern exposure. Yep, rather than build big from lot line to lot line, instead we strove to increase green space while still maintaining the integrity of the home’s design.
This meant our driveway would run next to our neighbor's with only a narrow strip of earth between us. I asked a lot of this thin swath of land. I wanted some sense of privacy and enclosure but also beauty. After all, I would see this view from many windows as well every trip to the garage.
Most of all I wanted to make an impenetrable barrier. Well, that doesn’t sound too friendly, you say?It was just the opposite. I wanted to make sure the darling little girls next door wouldn’t be threatened by cars coming down our drive. I needed something thorny. But hey, wouldn’t it be nice if those sharp needles grew on a great plant?
I had raised beds for edibles but I had wanted to try my hand at fruit. So we planted a hedgerow of raspberries. I let the neighbors know they were part of a berry-sharing arrangement. It’s hard to believe how much delight I get from my driveway strip.
And to think of how many homes have a similar situation that could be put to use as edible landscape. I can’t stress enough how many berries this cramped piece of real estate has produced this season in its third year. Colander after colander of berries -- they just keep coming. I’ve frozen bags and bags of berries, made jars of jam, ricotta-raspberry cake, you name it. Not to mention no cheese plate is complete without these babies.
I love how the bumblebees forage among the snowy blossoms. Many folks are not aware that fruit trees and bushes are some of the most important food sources for pollinators.
Just as important are the berry-stained faces of those little girls who shout to me safely from their side of the hedge about the berries they’re picking. I also get a kick when I see their dad in his suit grazing down the row on his way to work. I love to share the fruits of my garden -- literally in this case.