Creating a Productive Garden within your Ornamental Beds

A way to create interest in your garden is to plant herbs, vegetables and fruit in your ornamental beds.  I was so impressed at the recent Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show where there was little delineation between ornamentals, edibles, natives and exotics.

Coming from a European background and growing up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, my mother planted vegetables and fruit trees in the front garden along with her roses and dahlias!  The idea was to utilise as much space as possible for food and she always said “a garden is not a garden unless you grow vegetables in it”.  I now see that she had a point, although there certainly wasn’t any thought in the design process!parsley

There are so many ways to create an ornamental garden, utilising produce and also incorporating structure and design.  Curly parsley looks great as a border or if you feel the need to get really creative, perhaps a vertical wall as seen in this photo.

Plant a productive hedge, using bay trees, feijoa, lemon myrtle, rosemary or any of the citrus trees.

Espaliered fruit trees of apple, fig, pear, citrus and quince can be incorporated beautifully into an ornamental garden.  My previous garden had a 30 metre fence of espaliered apples that partitioned the driveway and perennial flower garden.artichokes

Grey foliage plants can be an attractive foil to more flamboyant colours. The globe artichoke is not only delicious in antipastos but has great architectural form.  Sage is an edible plant that has soft grey foliage and salvia like purple flowers.  Tuscan kale is another grey foliage plant to use for texture and form.

Carrots have soft feathery foliage and if allowed to go to seed, have stunning umbel shaped flower heads.  The flower also attracts a native wasp that consumes the coddling moth on apple trees.

While incorporating vegies and herbs in your ornamental beds, why not do the reverse and plant flowers in your vegie patch to add colour and to keep some of the beneficial insects around.  Plant calendula, alyssum and viola. The petals of Calendula and Viola are edible.