By Mark Cullen. For more tips and stories from Mark, visit the CTV gardening page.
For a long time it has struck me that the appearance of a well kept vegetable garden is a thing of great beauty. The straight rows, the glowing appearance of tomatoes on the vine, of carrot tops and bush beans loaded with fruit.
But not everyone agrees with me.
Enter a new generation of gardeners for whom the old rules of gardening do not apply.
Here we have 20 and 30 year olds, some in their first home and with young children and some not: all of them with concerns about the environment and the quality of what they put in their mouths (and that of their kids!).
Today we have this wonderful mixing of edible plants and ornamental ones. In my opinion it is one of the most exciting developments in the gardening industry since the introduction of native plants about 25 years ago.
What grows with what?
First, consider that all plants that produce edible fruit, foliage or roots have some ornamental qualities.
Take a fruit tree for example: an apple in full bloom in late April is just as attractive as many dwarf flowering trees. We don't think of an apple as a flowering tree because it's primary purpose in the garden is it's productivity. Same for cherries, pears and the list goes on.
This photo of a demonstration garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show I England tells a wonderful story: from right to left, note the snap beans, onions, strawberries, young cabbage or kale plants, curly parsley, arugula and finally the Red Sails leaf lettuce.
See the ornamental quality of this planting?
Now you are getting the idea…..