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16 October 2014
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John Cushnie On...

Colourful Vegetable Garden
4 February 2007

If you haven’t space in the garden for a vegetable garden or don’t want to sacrifice any of the ornamental beds of perennials and shrubs then mix and match.

CarrotsThere is no reason not to grow vegetables among the other plants. A clump of carrots with their ferny green foliage tucked among the bedding annuals will add interest and height. At the same time carrot fly may not think to look for them there and more importantly the smell of the other flowers will mask their scent and confuse the pests.

Globe ArtichokeWhen it comes to an architectural perennial it is hard to beat the globe artichoke with its large, divided, grey-green leaves and blue, thistle-like flowers. If the flower buds are eaten there will be no show of flowers. They are ideal used as dot plants in the perennial border or among shrubs.

Swiss ChardSwiss chard has spinach-like leaves on 15-20 inch long stalks that are bright red, yellow or white. They may be harvested from summer through to early autumn.

RunnerbeansRunner beans with white, pink or red flowers will twine up a tripod of canes in the annual or perennial border and in when in full flower look as good as sweet pea.

NasturtiumNasturtiums are excellent in salads using the edible flowers to add colour. The leaves and seeds may also be eaten.

A neat row of red leafed lettuce plants bordering the rose bed may not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are pretty until you start harvesting them. Cutting every other one when they are small will allow a close plant spacing and the gaps won’t be so noticeable.

ChivesClumps of chives with their dark green leaves and attractive balls of mauve flowers may also be used to edge paths. Thyme may be used in the same way. Herbs such as lavender, sage and rosemary are perfectly acceptable as aromatic, flowering shrubs in a mixed border.

Tumbler tomatoes will succeed in hanging baskets where their bright yellow flowers and trusses of small, bright red fruit liven up a blank wall.

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