I love a beautiful, lush garden in the front yard of any home. Some neighborhoods aren’t allowed to have vegetables in the front yards, but did you know that there are a lot of edible flowers? Some of them used to be grown for food, but people have forgotten that they were good for that too, and just grow them for their beauty instead. The salad garden used to be full of edible flowers. Roses were used for salads, including the rose hips, which are known for their vitamin C content.
Lilies. All the true lilies are edible, root, stem, leaf and flower. And they are delicious. I especially love the short little yellow lilies that are grown so often in clumps as a favorite of landscapers. They bloom all summer long, and their flower petals are slightly sweet, and ever so slightly spicy. You can grow several different kinds of Lilies and have different colors blooming all summer long.
Don’t include in that group the Lilies of the Valley which are not actual members of the same family. They are more a cousin of Foxglove and both provide forms of digitalis. The little flowers have a smaller amount than the larger flowers. They are good for people with heart problems, but not for people who have a healthy heart beat.
Chrysanthemums are used in a variety of ways in China, including as a form of tea. Sometimes they are used as a fancy garnish on food plates. Their flowers are edible.
Speaking of fancy teas, Jasmine flowers make a wonderful, relaxing tea. I just love the smell of Jasmine tea.
Hibiscus flowers also make a great drink. Take the flowers and dry them. Crush the dried flowers into water and let steep. Serve hot or cold with as much sweetener as suits your taste buds.
Grow peppermint in your garden. You can harvest it about three times a year. My peppermint started from one sprig that got chopped up by a weed-eater. Since it rained a lot right after that, all the pieces took root. I soon had a garden full of peppermint. It has lovely little purple flower stalks on it in the late summer. The bees love it . My daughter uses it for her digestion. She puts a little sugar in it for sweetening. She also likes it with lemon juice added to make a Peppermint Lemonade. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day, and you can’t beat it served hot for helping ease your breathing when you have a cold in the winter.
Of course there are some fruits that are also good for growing in your gardens. Strawberries make a great ground cover, and they are one of the earliest fruiting plants. Raspberries are early bearers too. Their canes are tall and have thorns so be sure to grow them in the very back, and they grow well in shade. If you grow them under your windows, they are a natural deterrent for thieves. If you want a later bearing fruit, blackberries also grow on thorny canes, and they don’t mind shade or boggy ground, but don’t cut them during the growing season. They will spread out along runner roots all over your garden.
Tomatoes are a fruit too, and used to be grown only for their decorative effect, back in the days when it was thought that their red fruits were poisonous. They are worthy of being grown in the front yards in the sunny corners. And I just love the beauty of a watermelon vine. the leaves on them are so gorgeous, who wouldn’t want to see them twining their way through a patch of other assorted flowers, like nasturtium, which has a spicy flower and leaves, or around the base of your rose bushes.
I know some of you are thinking, “Why is this silly woman writing about this now?” “This is the wrong time of year for planting!”
That’s true, but it’s the right time of year for planning what you want to grow next year. This is a great time to buy gardening books as presents, and don’t forget to order the seed catalogs. Happy garden planning everyone!
© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.