A popular idea at the moment is using edible plants as if they were ornamentals. For example, people who want to make a hedge might choose blueberry bushes instead of boxwood. I think this idea translates really well in the land of container gardening. It popped up several times while I was at the San Francisco Garden Show. For example, at the Monrovia booth, one of their orange-sweater-clad guys seemed to really enjoy pairing edibles with an ornamental plant that brought out the beauty in the edible plant. With that in mind, I thought I’d share three ideas for bringing out the best in fruits and vegetables.
Eggplant + Coleus
That Monrovia guy was really stoked about underplanting eggplants with coleus. When I suggested a variety of coleus called ‘Fishnet Stockings’ his face really lit up. I have to agree that the combo is really stunning. I think other coleus with deep purple accents could work too, like ‘Witch Doctor.’ What do you think?
Tomato + Calendula + Nasturtiums
I love the idea of a gradated color scheme of red, orange, and yellow. If I was potting up this combination, I would plant the tomato in the center of a square pot. In each corner, I’d plant a nasturtium so that they could spill over the sides. Then, in between each nasturtium I’d place a calendula plant. Although the nasturtium and calendula are normally planted as ornamentals, they are edible too.
‘Bright Lights’ Chard + Sweet Alyssum
‘Bright Lights’ is one of the most visually appealing varieties of Chard. The plants have a variety of different colored stems and veins, ranging from red, pink, cream, and gold. I think these tasty and beautiful plants would be even prettier surrounded by equally colorful sweet alyssum. Pick up packets of purple, white, and yellow alyssum seeds. Pour out equal amounts of each color and mix them together before sowing them evenly all over the surface of pot. Then sow the chard seeds. In a few weeks, you’ll have one colorful pot of nutritious, delicious plants!