Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Don't miss your chance to win a complete prize pack valued at nearly $200!
Community gardens aren’t just allotments — they’re urban farms, great places to share gardening skills and crops.
Keep all of your tools performing at their best.
Yes, people have been growing their own food since the dawn of time, but during the past century it seems we’ve moved farther and farther away from digging in the earth to harvest our food. Vegetable gardens have typically been a collection of raised beds, or a few herbs in a pot, banished to out-of-the-way areas. These days, however, edibles are everywhere in the garden – mixed with ornamentals, scrambling out of recycled containers and clambering up apartment walls.
Not everyone has the space for a dedicated vegetable garden – so what’s a gardener to do? Mixing edibles and ornamentals in your planting bed is a terrific way to not only add beauty to the garden but food to the table. With so many unique varieties of edibles to choose from, search out those offering traditional design principals such as color, form, fragrance or texture.
Here are some of my favorite edibles to mix with your ornamental beds, separated into two categories: Foliage and Flowers.
Foliage is one of the most important design elements in the garden. While flowers come and go, foliage can last year-round, giving you the most bang for your buck. When designing gardens for my clients, I use foliage for maximum impact, taking into effect the vast array of colors, shapes, textures and sizes available. Edibles are no exception!
Take Kale, for example. Woven throughout this planting bed, the full and frilly leaves of Kale add a soft and mounding shape to the garden, as would any other low-growing ‘filler’ plant. Weaving in and out of this bed’s evergreens and perennials, Kale’s subtle blue-green leaves gently tie together its neighboring plants.
For years, I've planted sorrel (Rumex sanguineus) throughout my gardens, taking advantage of its deeply veined leaves, with touches of maroon, to add much needed contrast to neighboring plants. While sorrel’s leaves are edible, I use them mainly as decoration - placing a few under a fruit and cheese plate, or as the base for strawberries piled on top of them for a simple dessert.
In my zone 9 garden, sorrel is evergreen and long-lived (some of my plants are over 5 years old)! If it starts to look a little haggard in the heat of summer, just prune it back to the ground and it'll quickly re-sprout within a week or so with fresh, new leaves.
Another favorite edible I like to mix in with my planting beds is purple brussel sprouts. The deep plum-colored foliage of this variety easily mingles with the neighboring echeverias and 'Blackbird' euphorbia. And what a toughie! The leaves are fairly thick, so snails and slugs do only minimal damage. I can't wait to see these brussel sprouts continue to grow and send up their tall stalks of purple 'buttons', adding yet another unexpected twist to this narrow planting bed.
Renee Shepherd (founder of Renee’s Gardens) once said “There are a lot of edible flowers; whether or not they’re tasty is another thing”. Below are some of my favorite (and, yes, tastiest) flowers I like to add to my ornamental borders.
If you want to add cool and calming colors to your garden, you can’t go wrong with the blue, star-shaped flowers of Borage. Plant one of these and you'll have it for life, as it freely re-seeds in the tightest spaces, requiring very little water. The flowers taste delicious too, sort of a nutty-cucumber flavor.
If you want to add hot colors to your garden, the bright orange and yellow petals of nasturtium flowers will wake up your garden during cooler months. My kids have grown up eating the slightly peppery-tasting nasturtium flowers stuffed with cream cheese, picking the flowers and making little 'purses' out of them!
And I can't forget one of my all time favorite edibles flowers - the fava bean! This is such a great edible to incorporate in a planting bed as it only reaches about 2 1/2 – 3 feet. Its height means it’s a perfect choice to add as a ‘middle layer’ plant. And its stems are really sturdy too, so they won’t flop over onto surrounding neighbors. Another edible that slugs and snails seem to leave alone, its unusually colored black and white flowers blend with almost all other flowers and foliage in the garden.
Besides adding beauty to the garden and food to the table, growing your own edibles means you control how they are cultivated. Knowing your produce is pesticide free and safe not only lowers your food bill, it brings peace of mind.