Friday, August 24th, 2012...8:51 am

More vegetable suggestions for the flower garden

Edible Front Foundation Planting by Chiot’s Run

When plant breeders want to discover new plants to breed for the flower garden, they will go all over the world searching. They will even look at vegetable plants they think they can breed into pretty flowers or show pieces. Then they will work to develop some aspect of the plant that will be most interesting for the flower garden often at the expense of something else the plant might have had. So, for instance, if they see a pretty leaf that will lend garden interest, the breeders will work to create larger or more interesting leaves; sometimes this will change some other aspect of the plant.

Garden vegetables like kale, when developed for their pretty colors that make them more ornamental, make their leaves tougher when eaten -unless you eat the leaf when it is young and tender. That was why TheGardenLady suggested planting the vegetable form of kale in the flower bed instead of the ornamental variety if you want to truly landscape with vegetables and eat them, too.

A similar thing happened with the sweet potato. The breeders saw a lovely leaf on a vegetable that is in the morning glory family, a leaf that would lend interest to the flower garden. So they developed the leaf at the expense of the vegetable. Now we can buy the ornamental sweet potato vine that looks especially lovely in flower containers which was bred so that there is no real sweet potato in the root.

Thus TheGardenLady suggests, when planning your vegetable landscape for the front yard flower bed, that you consider those vegetable plants that have pretty or interesting leaves or flowers to put in your flower beds. For example, instead of buying ornamental sweet potato vines, consider planting true sweet potatoes. They have attractive leaves that will grow above ground (perhaps not as attractive as the ornamental sweet potato vine leaves); many are heart shaped. And the vegetable will also will give you sweet potatoes to eat.

To see what the leaves of the various sweet potatoes you might want to grow in your flower landscape, look at these photos to see the lovely heart-shaped leaves that can trail among your flowers.   Sweet potatoes grow two ways, either as bushes or as vines. They both love well-drained soil, sun and lots of water. If you want to grow the vining type you can train it up a trellis. Directions for growing the vining type are here,  but if you have less space or want a more contained plant, consider the bush type. For planting directions of bush sweet potatoes read this.

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1 Comment

  • Yeah! Really it was an good idea of planting the ornamental sweet potato vine leaves in the front yard flower bed. It will be more decorative among the flower garden. Thanks for the post.

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