By rights, all I should be doing right now is studying for the exams I have tomorrow. Instead, I went into the yard this morning with the dogs. From the window, I had seen it blooming, and I just had to get a close-up view. Had to.
Several weeks ago, however, I took a wrong turn in the yard and ended up staring a monster of a kale plant right in the face. Literally. The trunk on this thing is thicker than my drinking glasses. At that point, it had put out lots of new growth and was just starting to think about flowering. Free food! Exactly when there was nothing fresh locally, too. I pinched back it's first flower foray and harvested a surprising quantity of leaves. And then another. But eventually, it seemed cruel and pointless to stop this plant from flowering. It really wanted to. It was supposed to. And if it did, there would be more kale plants. So I left it alone to do its thing- and it has. It's beautiful. The trunk, stems, and leaf veins are purple, the leaves green, and the flowers this cheerful yellow. It's such a pretty plant that it left me wondering where I could use it in a flower border. Seriously. It's that pretty. And hey, people use those ugly, stinky ornamental cabbages- so why not kale?
Then there's the chard, in red and yellow, and the corn salad that have seeded freely. And the hop vine running towards the sun. And the onions that didn't get pulled last year, but which I tried to pull early this spring and then gave up on because they were uber slimy, they are looking lovely as they prepare to go to seed.
As a gardener, and especially as a master gardener, I should be ashamed of myself for letting my garden fall into such a state. But as a real person with real responsibilities that have to come before the garden, I have to acknowledge that things happen. Usually, though, when "things happen" they don't result in free food sans work! Seeing the unplanned, yet very welcome, bounty in the garden- and the sheer beauty of some of these plants when allowed to go full cirlce,
to a garden of their own. Many plants from the food garden would be truly lovely mixed in with ornamentals. How about a walkway lined with gorgeous lettuce? Or kale as the backdrop to flowers? Onions provide interesting structural elements and the cool flowers common to all alliums. Strawberries might make a fun groundcover. Edible landscaping is not a new idea. But I'm not sure why its not more popular. I'm guessing people have just never seen the possibilities open to them. But it's worth having a good think over, because the potential exists to produce a lot of food without giving up the interest and decorative value of traditional landscape plants. Do you have an edible landscape? I would love to hear how you incorporate food with fun in your garden.
This post is part of Fight Back Friday hosted by Food Renegade.