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Edibles Spice Up Your Gardens

by Shelly Nold

PLANTING EDIBLES IN THE FLOWER GARDEN is a great way to provide your family with fresh, locally grown food. If you have a small space in the garden that receives full sun, it is well worth the effort. There are many benefits to growing your own vegetables, including a lower grocery bill and a sense of accomplishment. Your children may even want to eat a carrot they grew themselves.

INCORPORATING EDIBLE PLANTS into your existing landscape is a great way to disguise and keep your garden beds beautiful. Decide what will work for you. It does not have to be traditional rows of crops. A glazed pot with lettuce or herbs can be placed in any sunny garden bed.

GETTING CREATIVE is half the fun of gardening, and there are lots of options. Numerous vegetables have ornamental characteristics. For example, several varieties of Swiss chard have brightly colored stems and are a great addition to soups, stews, and stir-fries.

HERBS SUCH AS ROSEMARY, oregano, thyme, and sage provide attractive foliage as well as flowers and are essential to fresh cooking. Peppers are easy to grow and offer an abundance of bright, colorful fruit. Some varieties even have variegated foliage. A trellis covered in beans can lightly screen an unattractive view and supply a nutritious side dish.

FOR A PERMANENT ADDITION to the garden, consider planting blueberry bushes. In addition to the obvious edible fruit, these shrubs have attractive spring flowers and beautiful red fall color. As you consider your options, you will discover many other edible possibilities. Your taste buds will thank you.

Shelly Nold is a horticulturist and owner of The Plant Kingdom. Send stories and ideas to her at The Plant Kingdom, 4101 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40207.


by Angie McManus

I have three nandina plants but no berries, and also two holly trees with no berries. What’s my problem?

Nandina domestica, commonly known as heavenly bamboo, are a nice colorful addition to the garden. They are typically evergreen and provide year-round interest, although they can defoliate if we have a harsh winter.

Unlike the larger growing species, some of the newer, more compact cultivars such as ‘Nana,’ ‘Gulf Stream,’ and ‘Firepower’ do not produce flowers or fruit, but others such as ‘Harbor Dwarf’ will fruit with age. I would suspect they are not fruiting for one of two reasons. First, it may not be a fruiting cultivar, or, if they are new additions, they may just need time.

As for the hollies, it is the females that produce berries while the males are the pollinators. One male can pollinate up to seven females but not every male will pollinate every female. They need to flower at the same time, and for best fruit production they should be planted within 50 feet of one another. If you have two males, you will never see fruit on these plants, but if you have females then the solution would be to plant a male.


Go to, click on Home & Garden, then “Ask The Gardener.”

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