13 Ways to Mix Edibles and Ornamentals

Discover container gardens that blend good-looking ornamentals with yummy edible plants.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: W. Atlee Burpee & Co. at Burpee.com

Photo By: Gardeners.com

Photo By: Gardeners.com

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Gardeners.com

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Gardener's Supply Co. at Gardeners.com

Photo By: Gardener's Supply Co. at Gardeners.com

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Gardener's Supply Company at Gardeners.com

Pretty Enough to Eat

Food crop gardens don’t have to be boring. Pop in an edible nasturtium for peppery, pretty color. This 3-foot-square basket easily hosts (clockwise from front center) one nasturtium, 5 sweet corn stalks, one red cabbage and one Fordhook bush-type zucchini.

Sweet Corn for Pots

No room for a garden? Grow a crop of sweet corn in a pot. On Deck Hybrid sweet corn is a bicolor beauty. Plant nine seeds per 24-inch pot. Enhance its good looks with a pot of New Guinea impatiens and a pot of sweet basil.

Edible Flower Container Garden

Try a self-watering plastic tub planter to raise a crop of beautiful, tasty plants. For a 15-inch wide plastic tub, plant (clockwise from center) one four-cell pack of small-flowered pansies (in the color of your choice), one 4-inch potted nasturtium, one 4-inch potted parsley and two 4-inch pots of lavender.

Edible Raised Garden

Bring the harvest to your door with a 6-foot vegetable trough that’s 18 inches wide. To create this garden, from left to right, plant the front row: one thyme, one leaf lettuce, one nasturtium, one Tumbling Tom tomato, one nasturtium, one thyme, one nasturtium and one Tumbling Tom tomato. From left to right, plant the back row: one Toscano kale, one marigold, one zinnia, one dill, one eggplant, two Toscano kale and one pepper.

Variety of Contemporary Galvanized Containers

Galvanized containers come in a variety of heights and widths and work in this contemporary space as raised containers for vegetables and herbs that include chives, peppers, leeks, strawberries and tomatoes.

Hanging Basket Harvest

Fill a hanging basket to yield a bountiful harvest of fresh flavors. This 12-inch-wide wicker basket contains (clockwise from bottom center) one variegated oregano, one parsley, one Tumbling Tom Junior Yellow tomato, one chive, one spearmint and one Lemon Yellow nasturtium.

Steel Raised Bed

Powder coated steel raised beds grow a harvest in a spot where soil isn’t conducive to gardening. This 5-1/2' bed hosts a blend of herbs, vegetables and flowers. Plant this garden in three rows front to back. Use these plants from left to right: (front row) one Spicy Globe basil and one six-pack of red leaf lettuce; (middle row) one chives and two bok choy; (back row) plant one each Spicy Globe basil, kale, lavender, calendula, sweet basil, lavender and kale.

Greens and Blooms

Edible calendula blooms add a splash of color to any edible planter. This wicker basket features a combination of leafy mustard greens and mizuna, an Asian green. Plant a six-cell pack of both greens, interspersing them around the outer edges of a 12-inch-wide basket. Tuck a single calendula in the center.

Window Box Edible Garden

Look for window boxes that come with a sturdy stand to lift a garden to an easy-harvest height. This 3-foot-long box bursts with flavor. Arrange plants in two rows front to back. Use these plants, one each, left to right: (front row) pansy, red leaf lettuce, Tuscan kale, red leaf lettuce, Tuscan kale, pansy; (back row) Tuscan kale, Thai basil, eggplant, rosemary and Tuscan kale. Tuck two sage plants behind the front row kales.

Raised Bed Garden

Choose a wedge-shaped raised garden to enjoy a hearty harvest of herbs and vegetables. This 4-foot long garden features two types of edible flowers: two pots each nasturtium and calendula. Other plants to include in the garden include three kale plants, three thyme plants, one four-cell pack of leaf lettuce, one dill, one pepper, one sage and one Italian flat-leaf parsley. Use the photo as a guide to place plants correctly in the raised bed.

Mixed Media

A pair of containers serve the makings for tasty mealtimes. Sow seeds of red and green leaf lettuces in rows in a recycled galvanized tub (foreground), following spacing recommendations on the seed packet. In a 14-inch-wide basket (background), use one four-cell pack of frilly ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ lettuce to edge the front of the basket and one four-cell pack of mustard greens to edge the back. Fill the center with a pot of calendula.

Corn and Violas

Fill a colorful plastic tub with an eye-catching planting of violas hiding a crop of corn seeds sown between the plants. For a 15-inch-wide planter, use one six-cell pack of violas in whatever color you prefer. Sow six corn plants between the violas. It’s best to use a dwarf corn bred to yield in containers, like the sweet corn On Deck Hybrid.

Raised Bed Edible Garden

A four-foot-square raised bed takes the ouch out of tending and harvesting a garden on hands and knees. To reproduce it, you’ll need the following items: one pack of mesclun-type lettuce mix, one six-cell pack of marigolds, two prostrate and two upright rosemary, one pansy, two purple nemesia (both go on the back side of the garden but only one is visible) and two sweet basil. Use the photo as a guide to determine plant placement.