This year I am experimenting with growing vegetables in a flower border because believe or not, some vegetables can be just as beautiful as flowers!
A few months ago our back garden was devoid of any plants. We had created a path from our back door to the polytunnel, which left a large piece of land between the fence and the path (about three metres wide and 50 metres long) to make into a border. We had already planted out hedge plants but at that time they were still only sticks.
In the autumn I sowed Foxgloves, Wallflowers, Delphiniums, Lupins, Nigellas and a few other flowering plants and in the spring I sowed Red Ball Brussels Sprouts, Cavalo Nero Kale, Romenescu Cauliflower, Globe artichokes, Cosmos as well as lots of herbs. After the risk of frost had passed, I planted them all out in no particular order whereas what I should have done is plant them in groups, creating more of a cottage type garden. Hey ho, the end result looks a bit messy and some of the flowers just disappear in the long, wide border but in my opinion, it’s still lovely.
Kale and Brussels Sprouts
I had seen Cavalo Nero kale growing in a flower border once before at East Ruston Old Vicarage and I just had to try it out myself because the blue green leaves just looked brilliant in combination with the pinks and purples of the Cosmos, don’t you agree? And I am especially fond of the Red Ball Brussels Sprouts. The dark purple leaves are extremely pretty, especially for a cabbage! Growing cabbage in an ornamental garden however does mean lots of caterpillar hunting, making getting to and from the polytunnel a bit longer now…
All through the season I have been adding more plants. Some plants were gifts that I planted out in temporary beds initially then when I was ready I dug them up and transplanted them into the new border. And then there are the hedge plants! They started out as skinny brown sticks but they have grown immensely. They are filling up the border, making it look more established than it really is. All but one of our hedging plants have survived which I’m really pleased about and I am sure that next year they will start to provide us with the barrier we so desperately need to protect us from the cold northern winds.
Of course, next year the perennials will be flowering too, which will give the border yet another look. So, I think the experiment of growing veg in a flower border has been a success. The cabbages have never looked prettier and have that added bonus that you can eat them, making our new flower border productive as well as beautiful.