Create a Mixed Vegetable and Flower Garden
If you don't have the space for a vegetable plot, would rather not give up any of your flower garden for growing vegetables, but still like the idea of home grown produce then there is nothing to stop you growing in the old, French way of gardening in which ornamental fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers all mingle together.
It can be an informal mix of these, rather like a cottage garden, or it can be laid out in a more formal way in squares or as a knot garden edged with Lavender, clipped Buxus or a simple edging of low growing plants such as Californian Poppy which brings beneficial insects flocking to your garden! This more formal style is called a Potager Garden.
In this garden it is the type of planting which is important, vegetables which look good such as Swiss Chard with pretty coloured stems and runner beans such as St George which has beautiful bi-coloured flowers and adds height. Carrots have lovely ferny foliage and Lettuce comes in a variety of colours and leaf shapes. Oriental Vegetables have interesting foliage colour and shapes Try Mustard Ruby Streaks used as an edging plant - it looks amazing! Dwarf French Bean Amethyst will fit in just about any garden and the beautiful mauve flowers and purple beans are amazingly ornamental.
Mix your vegetables with herbs like Parsley, Chives, Basil, Dill, Borage, Sage and Thyme. Interplant with Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Cornflowers and Lavender which will all encourage bees and beneficial insects to pollinate your Runner Beans, Peas and even fruit - Strawberries, Gooseberries and Currants can also have a place in this type of garden.
The growing possibilities are endless, include flowers suitable for cutting such as Sweet Peas, Cornflowers, Scabious and Love In a Mist which widen the range and there are very hardy vegetables including kale, broccoli and some winter hardy lettuce and salad leaves to continue cropping throughout winter.
By choosing varieties that have colourful and pretty leaves such as frilly red Lettuce Bijou and colourful Swiss Chard you get the best of both worlds - both ornamental and productive.