Need inspiration and info for an edible hedge
Hi all -- looking for some suggestions and expertise,
We live on 1/4 acre near the historic center of a small town (rural Michigan, zone 5). Our garden consists of many perennial flowers and a 30x30 veggie plot with asparagus, herbs, and a variety of berries (strawberries, raspberries, concord grapes, red and black currants, gooseberries, blueberries and elderberries. We like edibles...
Our yard is open to a relatively busy street, and I'm interested in creating a sense of enclosure to the property. We'd like to plant an edible hedge along the front of our yard (to be set back around 6-8 feet from the front sidewalk, with herbs and perennial flowers planted between the sidewalk and the hedge). This line of shrubs would be about 100 feet long, with conditions ranging from full sun to partial shade. We're thinking of using either just one type of shrub or a repeating pattern of two types for the whole length so that we have a uniform design element behind our cottage garden mishmash of random herbs and flowers. Something that will look nice and somewhat tailored, but not overly formal when pruned. 3-5 feet in height seems reasonable (not a privacy wall).
We have a second edge of the propery that is in partial shade (under the canopy of one medium-large maple), where we would like a line of shrubs that will grow 6-8 feet high. This shrub line will be right next to the neighbor's driveway, and I'd like to minimize the view of cars coming and going with something a little denser and higher than what is used for the front border.
Any thoughts on using the following plants (or others) for our hedges?
Red Lake red currant
Consort black currant
Issues that I am considering are longevity, disease issues, yumminess of fruit, attractiveness of plant, mature width and height, and ability to grow well in our range of full sun to partial shade. Also need it to grow well near pH 7 with minimal amendments.
If we start with 2 or 3 year plants, how far apart should we plant them? Is a hedge appropriate, or is there a strong benefit to using an espalier technique?
We have sandy soil that has been very well enriched with composted maple leaves. Excellent drainage, pH 7.
Thanks and sorry for the long post :)