Different approach to veg?

This may be completely off topic, however I was introduced to the idea of growing veg plants as ornamentals (as well as edible) and with ornamentals some time ago in a garden survey.

My grandad has the traditional veg garden all neatly set out in rows, nothing wrong with that of course, but we simply don't have the space to have a separate veg garden so they are either in containers or in the flower border. The potato flower is from the old variety Blue Congo which crops so poorly it is easily accomodated in with the flowers and while the blue/purple flesh is an interesting addition to a meal, it's not necessarily as appetising as the cream fleshed spuds! Oca is in several pots as it is tender and I can control the slugs better that way.

Other veg ornamentals we grow are beans; runners and broad along with peas, all are great for bees. I've also been known to buy a couple of carrots (hoverflies love them), onions and celeriac roots to plant as border flowers when I've missed out sowing dates and have a few spaces that need filling (cheapskate that I am).

The French have this kind of gardening all sown up in their version of a 'proper' English cottage garden (everything has a use for the house, all year round) with pottager gardens and there are some fine examples to be seen.

Any body else do this to save space or have a pottager garden?

Thumbnail by Baa
Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Actually, Baa, the cottage garden idea, with flowers and veggies seperate, is a relative newcomer. Used to be all gardens mixed the two plant types.

Nowdays, on this side of the pond, "edible landscaping" is all the rage. Generally, this goes to the other extreme, using veggies as ornamentals as well as edibles.

The cottage garden wasn't originally separate types of plant useage here either Brook, that was in the big houses and later between and after the world wars.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Baa, in our previous home I "tucked" (read "hid") tomatoes among roses; bush beans around a butterfly bush, a tiny herb garden was encircled with lavender, and I used strawberries as an edging plant. I did it out of necessity - we had strict homeowner association rules about landscaping :(

Now I have a true veggie garden again, with raised beds (a takeoff on the square foot method.) I stick annual flowers and herbs among the veggies. But not the same as completely blurring the line between veggies and flowers.

Lancaster, CA

Not quite what you're asking but a little on the subject.. a great addition to your flower beds would be a few of the ornamental peppers. I'm growing one this year called Fish. Hot peppers, with wonderful white and green variegated foliage. I think those would be a beautiful addition.


Durham, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

those peppers sound really pretty, i'm gonna be planting out my chillies in containers soon, just havn't had the money to buy any nice containers as yet.

Humansville, MO(Zone 6a)

i've got three ornamental this year pretty purple peppers poinsettia and tri-fetti it's a variegated the pretty purple and poineettia can be used but very hot i'm going to make pepper spray from them


Sadly peppers, sweet and hot do very badly outside in the UK, even though I live in one of the warmest regions, they fail miserably outside for me :( However that's a great idea for climes with longer summers.


If they are that hot then I don't blame you wanting to use them for anything other than eating ;) I like to taste my food LOL.


I can understand why some of the landowners don't want certain things in their gardens but to have a veggie ban is beyond me. They do it here too. What is the square foot method?

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

dsrtgdn: I'm curious how you differentiate ornamental peppers from edible ones?

You're right, for instance, that Fish would look great in a flower bed. But it's more than ornamental.

Fish is a very special pepper, said to have originated in the Baltimore area around the turn of the 19th century. It was raised almost exlusively in the black community, according to Will Weaver, for use in oyster and crab houses, and especially for dishes using terrapin. He goes on to say, "It was one of those 'secret' ingredients favored by cooks and caterers to spike a recipe with invisible heat, for the Fish Pepper was used primarily when it was white, and could be dried to retain that color. This feature was a culianary plus in the days when cream suaces reigned supreme."

If you think the leaves are pretty, let the pepers ripen fully. They go from white, to white with green stripes, to orange with brown stripes, and then to red. If you intend saving seed, make sure you let them ripen fully to the red stage, or the seed won't be viable.

And if you _do_ raise seed, I'd sure like to get some from you.

Grove City, OH(Zone 6a)

Ornamental peppers look better than they taste. I have grown a couple like 'Medusa' which was neat to look at, but not much for eating. Same goes with a lot of the other 'ornamental' veggies and fruits.

I mix a lot of herbs in with my veggies and flower beds, and a few veggies in with my flowers, and a few flowers in with my veggies (mostly for cutting) Sort of a hodgepodge, too big to be called a cottage garden, more of a suburban garden :)

Hughesville, MO(Zone 5a)

In this area it's called yardening. Everything is planted in the yard. We are pretty free about mixing veggies with the flowers now that I'm use to the idea. I think only the potaoes are along in their beds. That's begause they smother out everything else. We have raised beds and containers for the veggies and the many flowers that are intermingles with them. For instance, the new raised row on the west side of the poultry yard has cucumbers, tomatoes, mairigolds, morning glories, and basil in it. Another row has tomatoes, peppers, Japanese Perilla, moringing gloies, a few iris, and some other plants in in. I hang petunia baskets from the fence by the pole beans to deter the Mexican bean bettles. The pole bean bed has marigolds, Angel's Trumpet, morning glories if they gerninate, and Zabrina Althera. We use old washer and dryer drums for containers. Our 9 raised beds are framed with concrete blocks and are 4'W X 26'L X 8"H. .

Lancaster, CA

I'm curious how you differentiate ornamental peppers from edible ones? >>

I use the distinction only to differentiate between (pretty) plants and your average every day run of the mill pepper plant. There are several others that I think are ornamental even tho they aren't described that way. (Roumanian Rainbow, and Tequila Sunrise are excellent ex IMO).

Your input on "Fish" is exactly what I read about it. That's what got my attention in the first place. I ordered this seed from Fedco seed. You are welcome to a few of the Fedco seeds if you'd like. Just say the word
I will be saving seed but it will only be from the one plant. Next year (now that I've seen it) I plan to grow several and there will be plenty of seed for anyone.

This message was edited Thursday, Jun 20th 4:06 PM

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

No rush on the seed. I won't be able to plant it until next year, anyway.

If you have enough for a plant out, please send it on. If not, I'll just order some from Fedco early next year.


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