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Vegetables/edible plants to grow in flower beds/borders

Hello there, first post :)

I previously wrote a very long post and decided to delete it as I started to waffle so I will try to keep this one short.

I have a very small garden and recently bought a vegtrug to use as my vegetable patch this year, along with a few pots where I grew my tomatoes and potato bags last year. I would like some suggestions as to some- preferably attractive - edible plants to grow within the flower borders should I find space. I already have some seeds of asparagus peas that I got in a lucky seed dip with my vegtrug.

Has anybody had any experience with planting in the beg borders? I'm going for a kind of cottage garden feel this this year (first time gardening last year so was very naive and trial and error, before becoming completely plant mad. So I have a fairly bare garden to work with, as last year was mostly annuals). What vegetables would you plant in with your flowers?



  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 9,738

    A couple that immediately spring to mind and that I have grown as ornamentals: are Chard and Kale.

    Southern trees bear a strange fruit
    Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,244

    Try and find a copy of the ornamental Kitchen Garden by Geoff Hamilton.  Often turns up in charity shops but maybe on Amazon or E-bay.

    I have seen ruby chard, cavolo nero and red onions grown with Bishop of Llandaff dahlia at Kalmthout Arboretum.  Looked very good.   Fennel is an attractive plant and then there's purple sprouting broccoli and cut and come again leafy salads.   You could grow green beans up an obelisk or wigwam of hazel poles.   Their flowers are attractive.    

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Blueberry bushes! Just dug a trench for mine in the middle of a border with some ericaceous compost in and mulch with the same every year, they look great and taste great!   

  • TigrahTigrah Posts: 125

    Thank you all for the wonderful replies! I had some rainbow Swiss chard seeds I got free with a magazine at one point, but my shed leaked and wet them through, so I need to buy some more! (I have am massed a rather large seed collection that I now keep inside, cooled by the back door in the cold kitchen) kale and cut and come against may be a good idea too, thank you! Definitely going to grow some fennel, as it looks lovely and I also have a house rabbit (rabbit! Shock horror!) And would be good to feed him some home grown things rather than shop bought.

    As for blueberries, I'd love some! Had my eye on them for a while, worried the ericaceous compost would bother some of the other plants in the vicinity though? I suppose I could place them in pots in the borders...

    I'm off to Amazon now for a hunt of that book, thannk you!

    Thank you so much for the tips and suggestions!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,518

    I used to grow mange tout in borders. They don't take up much room as you just make a little tripod of canes for them to grow up,  and the flowers are standard pea flowers as in a sweet pea.  

    They were smaller in height than the bigger peas and beans that Obelixx mentions too, although that may have been down to the variety  image

    Last edited: 10 January 2017 17:56:07

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,068

    Runner beans were originally grown as ornamental plants, if you have any fences to grow them up.  There are red, white, purple and red/white flowered varieties.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • TigrahTigrah Posts: 125

    Thank you fairy and Bob! I'll add then to my list. I grew runner beans laSt year, and my grandad has always grown them, they are very ornamental pants now I think of it!

    I wondered about peas. I eat sugarsnaps by the dozen and I love sweet peas - my grandma has always grown them! I also already have some seeds packets of some mange toute, so that's a bonus!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 71,958

    I've grown broad beans in a cottage style front garden, among the wallflowers. Passers by stopped and asked what the pretty black and white flowers were?  And the bees came to  the wallflowers and pollinated the beans image

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150

    I grew some yellow courgettes vertically by tying the stems onto canes last year.  The flowers were lovely, the courgettes were very tastyimage...... big leaves though.

  • TigrahTigrah Posts: 125

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'm not a fan of the look of courgettes, so I may stick those in the vegtrug, as well as some spring onions! I was thinking of growing some sweetcorn dotted about in the trug as they are supposed to be grown in a block for wind pollination, and are apparently good to plant within other things. 

    Would chives be any good? The flowers on them look good, like allium, but I didn't know if they'd spread too much. I was also going to do two pots of flowering herbs, one either side of the back door with camomile trailing on them, would the chives be better suited there?

    Anybody know what peppers are like for flowering? Are they ugly plants? I have a bunch of different pepper seeds! 

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