Edible and Pretty Container Gardens
Bright and lovely container gardens can include veggies, herbs and fruits.
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Bush beans come in purple. 'Holiday Flame' holds its bright red, orange and yellow peppers above the foliage. The stalks of 'Bright Lights' Swiss chard are a rainbow of hot pink, yellow, orange and violet.
The next time you want a spot of color to spice up a container garden, reach for an edible plant. Although lots of new and unusual flowering and foliage plants are perfect for pot gardening, selecting ornamental — yet edible — varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs will give you an arrangement to admire and something to snack on.
When working edibles into your container garden, be sure to go for compact varieties even if it means shopping around or going out of your way to order seeds or plants. Keep in mind that the goal of including such plants is not to put gobs of food on the table but to add interest, drama and a unique dimension not common in container gardens. You won't feed your family with this type of gardening, but it's fun to snip an herb here and there and pick a few cherry tomatoes to garnish your salad.
Great container gardens combine varied plant types. Pair plants with strong flower power with those known for great foliage, and add others whose fruits are colorful. Mix perennials, which will be persistent year after year, with annuals, which are fleeting. To create an even more dramatic display, group together a combination of three to five such gardens, each in a different (but harmonious) type and size of container.
Here are a few of the fun and colorful edibles that will add punch to your bowl.
Compact, Colorful Veggies
Herbs with Flower Power
Herbs for Foliage Color
Compact and Colorful Fruits
— Dr. Susan Hamilton is associate professor of horticulture at the University of Tennessee.
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