It’s been a busy spring here at Urban Naturalist and we’d love to share what we’ve been up to with you!

While the outdoor portion of our retail garden center remains open, we’ve been renovating our indoor retail garden center and also installing edible landscapes around the community.

Johnston Street Food Forest

In February of 2014, Urban Naturalist constructed a food forest on Johnston Street that is open to the public.

Bill Goode of the Goode Law Firm hired Urban Naturalist to convert an empty lot he owned from turf grass to a beautiful and functional space to be enjoyed by the community.

Lavender, thyme, rosemary and rainbow chard greet visitors with an alluring aroma and an amazing contrast. Once the trees mature, a canopy of plums, paw paws, pears, and olives will provide a sun break for guests to enjoy.

Blueberry bushes line the trail, inviting anyone to indulge in the delicious fruits of nature.  A thorn-less blackberry is just beginning to climb a stair case along the edge of the food forest.

Directions to the Johnston Street Food Forest

Cindy’s Backyard Food Forest

Also in February of 2014, Urban Naturalist constructed a food forest in a private backyard for Cindy Brasseaux.

Cindy requested her lawn be transformed into a diversely beautiful landscape she could enjoy and that would produce food and also create a haven for wildlife.

We used lots of meandering paths to make this modest backyard feel like a stroll through Eden.  Edible options are accessible right on the edge of the beds, with butterfly and hummingbird attractants further in.

The curving pathways emulate a natural setting. For soil management at this landscape and all of our sites, we inoculate with with thousands of worms which utilizes nature’s methodology for building and maintaining healthy soil.

As much diversity as possible is our goal, trails of fruit producers like blueberries, strawberries, lemon, fig, paw paw, pineapple guava, pear, peach, plum, satsuma, and olive.Herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme, lavender, parsley, cilantro, chives, mint, celery leaf and greens like broccoli, kale, swiss chard, lettuces, cabbage, cauliflower and arugula. Additions for wildlife include plants like abelia, bottle brush, buddleia, hydrangea, Louisiana iris, and cypress.

Check out this fun time-lapse video of the food forest installation filmed by Eric Breaux.

“Living Room” Landscape on Willow

In April of 2014, Urban Naturalist began constructing a “living room” inspired landscape.  An array of botanical choices will serve as living walls.

Surrounding a majestic Southern Live Oak, we are installing a variety of raised beds to suit the differing sun and soil conditions on site with an entrance framed by rare weeping mulberry, and rosemary.  Large stones provide seating area for enjoying the landscape.

In the sunny areas, more edible options are available. We installed citrus and blueberries, lemon marigolds, lemongrass. Moving into partial sun we have a variety of peppers and artichoke.  We really try to maximize our sunny and partial sun areas with delicious choices for visitors to choose from.

For the shadier area, we are bringing back native azaleas and gray beard (also called fringe tree) with masses of fragrant plants surrounding rocks that cry out, “Relax here!”  Lots of plants were used with butterflies and beneficial insects in mind. In our landscapes, we really want to demonstrate to visitors that nature’s beauty can have more dimensions than plants alone.