Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The trick to a gorgeous summer garden

It goes something like this: ornamentals plus edibles. Big trend, and nowhere have I seen it done better than at the PHS' City Harvest exhibit at the flower show. I blogged about it then, and was moved to do it one again after a colleague recently asked PHS, and then received by email, the plant list for that exhibit. It's quite a long list for the whole exhibit, which also included the lettuce wall, the vegetable/community garden, the fragrant wall, not practical for the home gardener - or, at least, anyone without "help."

The trick to a gorgeous summer garden

It goes something like this: ornamentals plus edibles. Big trend, and nowhere have I seen it done better than at the PHS' City Harvest exhibit at the flower show. I blogged about it then, and was moved to do it one again after a colleague recently asked PHS, and then received by email, the plant list for that exhibit. It's quite a long list for the whole exhibit, which also included the lettuce wall, the vegetable/community garden, the fragrant wall, not practical for the home gardener - or, at least, anyone without "help."

But it you're interested only in what's shown here, what was called the celebration garden, a mix of edibles and ornamentals, I can give you the plant names. There are only 18: alyssum ('Snow Crystals'), basil (Genovese), calendula (Kablouna mix), cardoon, celosia ('New Look Yellow'), cilantro, cleome (Queen Mix), cosmos (Sonata mix), dill ('Bouquet'), kale (dwarf blue curled), rosemary, purple sage, stachys ('Helene von Stein'), sunflower ('Firecracker'), verbena bonariensis, and zinnia ('Persian Carpet,' 'Gift' and 'Red Cap').

It's a riot of color and texture, and I think even if you don't use the exact varieties listed here, you can get the general idea. Herbs play a surprisingly big part and a lot of the plants are familiar and easy to come by. The only stopper for me is cardoon or artichoke thistle, a fabulous-looking plant that, now that I think about it, has got to be easier to grow than to cook. We can only hope.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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