Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Flowers and the vegetable garden

From 2011. In front: Transylvania Sage, Calico Penstemon (Penstemon calycosus),
Phlox pilosa. To the right: Pink Showy Primrose. In background, left to right:
'Veilchenblau', Verbena bonariensis, and Larkspur.


The flowers are just as important as the fruits and vegetables in our vegetable garden,
since the garden in a conspicuous place. A vegetable patch can be ugly in the middle
of summer, or at least ours can be. Picture corn stalks falling over and tomatoes and
cantaloupe vines running amok and then dying spectacularly. This ruining usually
occurs in the middle of summer when I'm more concerned with avoiding heatstroke
than tidying the vegetable garden after I've completed the rest of my chores.

Having said that, the side next to where we park the cars (and where I walk several
times a day on the way down to the horse pastures and the rest of the garden) is
pretty open. That's because the strawberry patch currently resides there. Strawberries
serve as a pioneer species here, plugged into odd open spaces as they become available,
mostly because I really dislike the idea of weeding an entire strawberry patch. Here
they grow mingled with pink primrose and lemon balm. If and when they are swamped
there are new starts already spreading in the bed in the back yard next to the paddock.

I love larkspur and I've missed it in the garden the last two years. I really should mow
back the primrose this fall and the lemon balm and put down seeds for larkspur and
poppies. Larkspur may be more modest than delphiniums but still has that magic sheen.

I have one garden sign. Rather than saying something nice or neutral like "Relax" or
"Think", this one has an edge to it:
It's supposed to be a joke. Sort of. There's some backstory involving an unpleasant
garden visit. When we saw it at Niche Gardens we looked at each other, started laughing
and thought it was too perfect to pass up.

There's some tall see-through Verbena bonariensis in this space. I like the effect
of looking through it to the rest of the garden.
Everything else is short, like this Dianthus 'Russian Skies'.

The iris hadn't been growing very strongly so I was thrilled when 'Fabuleux' bloomed. I
think it is well named. I love Cayeux iris. They have their own special brand of elegance.

Here it is blooming with Calico Beardtongue, which came from Gail's clay and limestone
garden. I thought I'd lost that beardtongue so I was thrilled to see it too.
Isn't it lovely?


  1. Every time I visit here I feel as if I've been in a magical woodland. Your blooms are so pretty and your photography stunning. What kind of camera are you using?

    I can't wait to see your gardens this year, I know I won't be disappointed.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

    1. Thank you! My camera is a Pentax K10. I use the 18-55mm kit lens and also have a 55-300 lens.

  2. Absolutely beautiful. I love all of these flowers!

  3. I love the idea of strawberries mingled with pink primrose and lemon balm. I have a few plants, but little room. I am thinking that I have been too much of a purest in the past. This spring I think I will mix flowers, into my vegetables and fruits and vice versa.

  4. It's lovely, soo lovely !!! Vegetables and flowers ... I think is a great ideea for a tiny garden like mine :)

  5. It is a good idea that you are trying to grow your vegetables with flowers and fruits. The plants are beautiful. I like yours flowers.
    I have some kind of penstemons in my garden and aquatic iris.

  6. Pretty Penstemon, love the pale pink color. I also like Larkspurs but don't have them in the garden. Might have to buy some seeds in the fall to sow.

  7. Hi Sweetbay,
    I enjoyed scrolling down, seeing your other garden photos, as well as these. I am so ready for spring to get here, but it's going to be awhile yet here. I do hope to get some clean up started next week, because I am off of work for the week. They say we are expecting a couple days in the 60s, and I hope that happens.

    I like your garden sign.

  8. A very beautiful garden, enchanted.
    Yours sincerely

  9. I love your penstemon. What kind is it? The sign is awesome!! It's so true. I have several plants from Niche. :o) I wish they sold their art online, too.

    1. The penstemon is P. calycosus. For a long time Gail called it Penstemon X because she wasn't sure which one it was!

  10. How tall is yours? Gail says hers is about 2 ft tall but Prairie Moon says it will grow to 4 ft. What kind of soil is yours growing in? I want want want this plant!

    1. Tammy mine is 2 feet tall. It grows in loamy soil that's dry in summer and wet in winter so I think it'll grow just about anywhere.

  11. The iris with drops of rain! Wonderful photo!
    I love penstemone and campanula in your spring garden.
    Have a nice weekend!

  12. An ornamental productive garden - like a potager. Has spring sprung over there?

    1. It's starting to. Many of the daffodils are blooming. I'm way behind on garden clean-up though. Just yesterday I pulled some old stems off some already-blooming daffs.

  13. Ah! Your iris is gorgeous, feels like a fresh spring rain just looking at it :)

  14. Beautiful flowers! and it will start to bloom again when the spring comes.

    parker landscape

  15. Sweetbay, I agree to grow flowers within and around a veggie garden is great. This post and your next one illustrate just how successful it can be. A joy to visit you on a cold 'spring' day where all I see is white and frigid. I am off to the winter farmer's market though!! ;>)


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