"It's Our Garden"
By Elizabeth and Crow Miller Landscaping With Vegies & Flowers
Think you don't have enough space to grow vegetables ? If you have space for flower beds and borders, there is no reason for you not to grow vegetable. Have you ever looked at an eggplant growing ? The sturdy plant reaches 24 to 36-inches in height and is covered with light-green, lobed leaves. As the whorls of new leaves appear the centers are touched with purple. The foliage alone would justify background space in a flower bed, and when the delicate, lilac colored blossoms appear, the plant is even more attractive For beauty of form, color, shape and texture, the fruit of the eggplant is difficult to surpass. As a background for pink or scarlet petunias, 2 or 3 these plants would lend an almost exotic touch to the flower bed and would also supply your family all summer with a delicious vegetable.
Imagine petunias or gold marigolds against the glossy green leaves of a sweet pepper plant. There is a dwarf edible pepper that might be the showpiece of any flower garden. It is globular in shape, about 18-inches high covered with tiny white blossoms for several weeks, and later in the summer it is full of cherry size peppers. Early peas may be sown in areas that will be filled in later with annual flowers. Since peas may be planted earlier than most seeds, this is a welcome task for a winter-bound gardener. And what a reward when the family enjoys fresh, tender peas! Later, the vines themselves may be worked into the soil to supply an extra share of nutriments to the flowers which follow the peas.
Even in very informal plantings, set-apart location and are generously fed and mulched. A border garden of bibb lettuce rosettes at the outer edge of a rosebed may supply weeks of tossed salads, with no harm to the roses.
One of the most delightful gardens I've seen was outside the kitchen door of an old Amish house. The featured plants were red cabbages marching along the entire border. Before the summer was over the cabbages were eaten, and flowers soon spilled over into the empty spaces.
Savoy cabbages could be used in a corner of the flower bed. Low-growing ageratum or sweet alyssum planted in front and feathery cosmos nodding in the background would lend color to the beautiful texture of the cabbage leaves.
If you can interest your next-door neighbor in the idea of having beauty in the flower borders and eating it, too, asparagus may be a joint project for you. A row of asparagus planted on a property line may be shared by two families. This would require planning and cooperation because the asparagus should not be harvest for 2 or 3-years. From the very beginning, however, the lacy fern, which must be allowed to grow all summer, would furnish a lovely background for flowers in the adjoining gardens. A double row of asparagus would be dense enough for a temporary hedge, if desired.
A couple of rhubarb plants, with crimson stalks and huge, dark-green leaves, will supply the makings for many delicious pies. Even summer squash, yellow Seneca, or green zucchini are plants with beautiful foliage and blooms
A dwarf peach tree or cherry tree when in bloom is almost, if not quite as beautiful as a flowering crab apple, and also provides fruit to eat. Red or black raspberries have lovely blossoms and, later, berries, to eat. They'll. also make a sturdy hedge.
Possibly the most bountiful plant for edging and for eating is the strawberry. Everbearing strawberry plants, kept free of runners so that they produce berries freely until frost, may be used to edge flower borders or vegetable plots. A dozen or more strawberry plants may be tucked into a rock garden. They grow less than a foot high and blend nicely with other plants. Just be certain to place them where you can reach the berries when they are ripe.
So remember, growing space need not keep you from enjoying both. attractive plants and good eating. Get some eye-pleasing edibles into your flower beds and borders.
Copyright o 1995