Friday, 12 August 2011

Diversity through blossoms

by Francesca @ FuoriBorgo


flowers in my garden1


Do you grow flowers in your vegetable garden? I always vaguely meant to, but in the past, when spring came I was so busy planning my vegetable garden and sowing vegetables that I forgot all about the flowers.


But since moving my garden closer to the house (here) - one of the best gardening decisions I ever made - I've actually seen my garden more often, and now think of it more in terms of aesthetics, design and overall scope, and not just about what vegetables I want to grow there for my family.


I realized, in fact, that I was growing dissatisfied with the usual concept of the garden plot arranged in long, tidy rows of single crops. Instead, I became more and more attracted by the general principles of biodynamic agriculture and permaculture. And following these principles, since last year I've started to create a garden that's becoming a diverse little ecosystem, harmoniously integrated with the surrounding nature. As part of this strategy, I finally started planting flowers among the vegetables.


flowers in my garden


flowers in my garden


flowers in my garden


I started small, sowing one of three types of flowers: edible (it's a vegetable garden after all!), medicinal (you've got to love flowers with a purpose!) and purely ornamental (because flowers make me happy, and a happy gardener is the best kind of gardener, right?).


As edible flowers, I sowed borage, which grows in the wild around here. I planted it close to my tomatoes, green beans, and basil, because I'd read it's a good companion plant for these vegetables, which so far has proven correct, especially in the case of basil: my basil has never been so lush!


filling 7


Besides the cobalt blue edible flowers, which we add to salads (they make such a pretty addition to a green salad, here), we also harvest borage leaves, which make good cooking greens. Last year, I used both the borage flowers and the leaves to make "floral ravioli" (see here), a recipe that I whipped up as I went along, and which made me feel like a very creative Italian cook - if only for a day.


flowers in my garden


In the medicinal category, I choose Calendula. They're a little behind, still at the budding stage, which is actually fine, since I need a little time to research how they can be used - any suggestions?


flowers in my garden


And for the pure visual joy, I planted a variety of Dahlias in different shades of pink and purple. Yes, a harvest of flowers in my diverse and colorful garden makes me very happy indeed!


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share braids


Don't forget to share your photos of onion and garlic braids (read my previous post here) by emailing them to me: fuoriborgo @ gmail dot com


Thank you!