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Two Ways to Add Beauty to a Vegetable Garden

If you’re looking to improve the aesthetics of your plot, we’ve got a couple of simple ideas

vegetable garden
A border of mixed leafy greens is a delicious combination of colors and textures. Photo: Jodi Torpey

Beautiful gardens are in the eye of the beholder.

That held true for me recently as I strolled through the Denver Botanic Gardens. Even though all the gardens were blooming in spectacular style, it was the vegetable and herb plantings that made the biggest impression on me.

Leafy greens add color and texture all season long

A planter filled with colorful lettuces, spinach, and flowers is highlighted by vines of peas that drape over the sides. Photo: Jodi Torpey

Outside the Welcome Center was a long border of mixed leafy greens that should convince all gardeners to add curly kale, cabbage, and basil to their annual and perennial beds. The combination of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures is as lovely as any flowery ornamental bed I’ve seen.

There were several striking displays inside the gardens as well. In a long planter, the gardeners have mixed green and red leaf lettuce with large-leafed spinach and peas. These veggies were interplanted with purple petunias for a stunning display.

To make the most of planting like this, repeat the pattern throughout the planter, and place the peas along the planter’s edge so they can drape over the sides.

Clean lines are a classic technique for beautifying an edible garden

The pièce de résistance of the Denver vegetable gardens is the La Potager, a gift from the Ladd Family. La Potager is a vegetable gardener’s dream come true.

This bed in La Potager at the Denver Botanic Gardens is planted in tidy rows with unusual red and green lettuces. Photo: Jodi Torpey

This gorgeous garden, artistically designed by the gardens’ senior horticulturist Ebi Kondo, features picture-perfect plantings. I was especially impressed with all of the tidy rows of vegetables planted next to lines of colorful flowers in the beautifully designed space.

Some of the interesting lettuces planted in one square space made up of four triangles include a large-leaf red lettuce called ‘Rouge d’ Hiver’, a lettuce with spiky green leaves called ‘Reine Des Glaces’, and a small-leaf red lettuce called ‘Lollo Rossa’.

I’d love to know the secret of planting such perfect rows, because not a single plant was out of place.

Brassica oleracea ‘Red Komatsuna’ pak choi makes a striking display in the kitchen garden. Photo: Jodi Torpey



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  1. jumpingjo 02/11/2020

    Wow, I already feel healthy and fresh, however is this a little smaller than normal? I suggest that it should be designed in more space jigsaw puzzle

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