At secret garden we have been thinking a lot about planting schemes for town gardens. One of the main themes has been vegetables, many people really want to get into growing their own but cannot get an allotment or don’t have the time to get there. Why not turn your shrub and flower border into a decorative vegetable one that not only looks good but provides for you as well.
The idea of growing a beautiful vegetable garden is not new; the French vegetable gardens or potagers traditionally combine vegetables, flowers, herbs and other edible plants. Laid out within decorative edging.
The edging can be a great feature of the design. Brick, wood and stone are all possibilities but even better what about a living edge like Parsley, lavender, marigolds or miniature fruit trees, what about larger espalier trees to create a backdrop that changes and develops with time. Paths that further divide sections of the garden can be simple stepping stones or more permanent features, whatever material is used planting holes with herbs such as thyme and camomile can turn even the pathways into productive space.
Decorative vegetables come in many forms and varieties there are stems and leaves like Swiss chard, lettuces, globe artichoke or even the ferns of Asparagus. Edible flowers like nasturtiums and marigold (pest control) will add a fantastic splash of colour. All the fruits, flowers and leaves of vegetables from courgettes and squash even potatoes, to beans and peas, tomatoes and aubergines the list is long. Creating a working plan that combines all these elements is the central part of the whole design.
Other features such as wigwams for beans and peas add height and texture to the border. Cloches come in interesting shapes and sizes and protect plants when small and delicate. Both of these add to the spectacle of the design not least because of their practical use. That is the point of this type of garden; the beauty grows from the functionality.
We love to sit in the garden with friends and family eating and socialising. Having a decorative vegetable border could really enhance this adding real meaning to your garden. There would be something to put the compost on, opportunities to propagate seeds and cuttings, a chance for the kids to learn valuable skills while connecting to the earth and most importantly there is nothing like eating your own produce.
We really believe that the ideal garden is one that is both useful and beautiful. Growing vegetables fulfils these criteria perfectly. If we can help you get started we can provide planting plans or even a full garden design, we would love to get involved. Who knows maybe next year you will be eating your own sprouts at Christmas, looking out onto a garden that gives you the best of both worlds.