Thursday, June 16, 2011

Edible Flower Garden

Rosenkuppel Oregano with Bronze Fennel, Raspberry Leaf and Roses

I really like the idea of having an edible flower garden
sometimes mixing edibles with ornamental
is referred to as an "Integrated Garden"

but even older then that is the Medieval or Monastic Physic Garden
where every plant has a purpose
be it culinary or medicinal

of course Monastic Physic Gardens had a great number
of plants that could kill you
like Monkshoods, Mandrake and Foxgloves
which meant you needed to not only
know your plants but also do a very good
job of keeping your culinary plants segregated
from the medicinal ones

Globe Artichoke

these days the fashionable term is a kitchen garden
again borrowed from the Medieval era
and can include common veg like parsnips, leeks, onion
and all your favourite culinary herbs
You should be able to walk to the kitchen garden and
come back with a meal.

if you aim for an ornamental garden
but would like it to be useful too
its a simple process to include plants that
you would commonly use

Oregano has lovely flowers, and cultivars provide some 
spectacular diversity including Hopley's and Rosenkuppel
while offering its usefulness as a culinary herb.

Hopleys Pink Oregano

Fennel is a bold feathered foliage plant great for mid to back
of a cottage garden
It that can be used in salads and cooking, 
while the seed is great for curries

Scarlet Bee Balm - great in salads and teas

Rosemary comes in pink, blue or lilac coloured flowers
as well as tall, standard and prostrate forms
giving it the opportunity to be placed well in a garden bed

Three suggestions I make for an integrated garden: 

1. edible plants should be accessible
or you will never bother to use them
My bronze fennel is at the back of the garden, 
but I access it over a small fence from the back of the yard
Oregano and Marjoram's are used as garden
edgers close by for flower picking and eating

2. Label Your Herbs:
If you are new to plant growing if in doubt 
label your plants well
clear and eligible so
that it can't be mistaken when picking

3. Safety with Children:
Make sure your family, especially children are supervised when picking edibles in an integrated garden. 
Children can make the mistake of eating any plant if they think that
they are safe - yet another reason for good clear labeling 
and good supervision !
Teach your children the identifiers of the herb - smell, texture, shape
as well as the need to bring plants to be identified before eating

Licorice Hyssop - superb in salads, long lived cut flower

1 comment:

  1. We need a day in my garden! Oh well, off to make that foxglove salad for Craig...kidding, kidding...I can wait another 12months for my next cigar.