Home Beauty recipe Mix Edible, Ornamental Plants for a Creative Landscape | Lifestyles

Mix Edible, Ornamental Plants for a Creative Landscape | Lifestyles


When planning my garden and landscape, I like to combine different plants in containers. My basic practice is to follow the recipe for thriller, filler and spoiler.

Suspense plants stand upright and grow taller than others, adding interest and excitement. Spills are low plants that extend over the edges of the container. Filler plants have rounded, mounding growth habits that bridge the gaps between thrillers and spillers.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can leave one part out of the planting.

I leave the filler on many of my plantings to make room for something else. I like to plant French marigolds under the tomatoes, or I place the classic Vista Bubblegum Supertunia under my various citrus growing in 25 gallon containers.

Although I mainly use this simple recipe for combining plants in containers, it’s also handy for creating different combinations in landscaped beds or along walkways.

Most gardeners combine like plants, so they mainly only use ornamental plants for their flowers or foliage. However, a great idea has been around forever, but people have been slow to embrace it. It’s about creating an edible landscape, combining edibles with ornamentals.

I think the reluctance to combine edibles and ornamentals is a garden paradigm, similar to the idea that tomatoes should be red or vegetables should be grown in the yard.

The combination of vegetables and flower plantings opens up another avenue for home gardeners to get creative.

The size of your garden space shouldn’t be a limiting factor. Porches, patios, and even balconies are great places to show off pretty edible plants and flashy flowers. In fact, just growing vegetables in containers is a great way to enjoy an easy little vegetable garden.

Brie Arthur is one of my great horticulturist friends, and her book, “The Foodscape Revolution,” is a fantastic plan for combining food, flowers, and foliage to increase curb appeal and help lower your garden bill. grocery store. When you plant with the idea of ​​combining vegetables, herbs, flowers and foliage, you are creating garden space for maximum production of edible goodness combined with beauty.

We are rapidly rushing into the warm season, which means home gardeners will soon be growing many summer favorites. Here are my recommendations that would be perfect for a large combo container.

A good thriller should be a cherry tomato like the red Sweet 100. For a bit more interest, consider the bright yellow Patio Sunshine. Fillers are basil, either Genovese green or the dramatic, almost black Amethyst Improved. Or you can use a brightly colored coleus to add interest. Spills are nasturtium for late spring and early summer or lemon verbena.

The combination of edible and ornamental plants in containers or the landscape will only be limited by your imagination.

Visit your favorite independent garden center and group different plants together to see what they look like. Consider it a test drive before you bring them home to plant and enjoy in your garden.

• Dr. Gary Bachman is Professor of Horticulture Extension and Research at the Center for Coastal Extension and Research at Mississippi State University in Biloxi. It is also the host of popular television and radio programs Southern Gardening. Contact him at [email protected]