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Three Flowers to Grow for More Than Their Good Looks

By Barbara Ganley, April 14, 2011 - 8:26am

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Some people like to keep their flowers and veggies separate, each to its own garden--pretty here, useful there. Not me. I like to mix things up, interrupt all that lovely green of the productive vegetable bed with a burst of salmon poppies and old-fashioned hollyhocks. Who says a vegetable garden can't be as becoming as a flower bed?

But there are more reasons to grow flowers in the vegetable garden. Some are highly nutritious in their blossom state, easy-to grow and good-looking! What's more, they bloom over the course of the full summer. What's not to love about that?

Here are three of my favorites:

1. Nasturtiums

They're wonderful in the kitchen: I sprinkle them in salads where their slightly peppery bite adds character to mild greens. I stuff them with goat cheese for a simple and interesting hors d'oeuvre. I make a stunning vinegar out of them, and I pickle the buds to use wherever I have a need for capers.

They're easy-to grow: They take readily to window boxes, planters, or your garden. They do like a little shade, so I grow them next to taller plants, such as tomatoes.

They're pretty: They come in a riot of fiery colors to add a splash of red, pink or yellow to the salad patch.

2. Calendula

They have multiple uses in the kitchen: Add to a soup broth to give it a lovely golden color; sprinkle the petals over salads or mix them with goat cheese and shape into small balls for a pretty hors d'oeuvres

They're useful in the garden: They attract some of the insects you try to keep off lettuces--I grow them all over the garden to keep aphids, thrips and whiteflies at bay.

They're gorgeous! I even like to toss a few handfuls of the petals in my bath--they are supposed to be good for the skin.

3. Johnny Jump Ups

They're sweet in the garden and so pretty atop a pizza or salad or pots de creme.

They couldn't be easier the grow in containers or in gardens--indeed, they will self-sow year after year in your garden--in mine they seem to come up in the salad patch no matter what!

What are your favorite flowers to grow and eat? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Barbara Ganley, Gardening

Barbara asks: What are your favorite flowers to grow and eat?

Tell us what you think:

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