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Decorative Vegetable Gardens
By Darlene Anderson
Who says a kitchen garden can't be beautiful? Vegetable gardens don't have to be practical, uninspired, regimented rows of vegetables. You can create an edible garden that is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palette. Decorative kitchen gardens are called potagers from the French word potage, meaning soup. These gardens combine vegetables and other edibles with herbs and flowers. Here are some of the features of potagers.
Decorative Edging: Edging helps define beds and contributes to the overall mood of a garden. It can be made of wood, brick or terracotta. Depending on what type of edging you use, you can create a formal, classic looking garden or a more casual, free flowing design.
Paths: Pathways can be eye-catching features and also provide easy access to beds. You can use chipped bark or straw for a rustic look or gravel, brick, or stone for a more permanent path.
Ornamental Plantings: There are many vegetables that are quite ornamental, such as rainbow-colored Swiss chard, or red, frilly lettuce. Eggplants are interesting plants with beautiful lavender blooms. Herbs such as variegated tricolor sage or deep purple basil are great choices. And don't forget, there are many edible flowers, such as nasturtiums which add a great burst of color. Marigolds are said to be of benefit in discouraging pesky insects from devouring your garden.
Cloches: Every good kitchen garden needs plant covers. Cloches are delightfully decorative and protect vulnerable seedlings as they become established. These decorative garden accents come in a large array of shapes from bells to lanterns and fit right in with the ornamental charm of a well designed potager.
Climbing Structures: A teepee or obelisk creates a great focal point. Climbing plants such as runner beans or sweet peas will add a great vertical element to your garden.
Before planting your vegetable garden this year, consider adding some of these features and enjoy a functional garden that is pleasing to the eye as well.
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