Vegetable gardens are beautiful in their own right and I’m certain most of you’ll agree. The textures, the never-ending shades of green, and the symmetry all have their appeal and of course, with each season, just the thought of each plant’s potential to thrill the gardener’s taste-buds and stomach is enough to whip out the ole’ tools, dust em’ off and get to planting… ASAP.
Now being an artist, I’m always on the look out for opportunities to wave my creative wand about in the air with the expectation of little * * sparklies * * dancing about (that only appear in my minds-eye, sorry) as I attempt to transform the ordinary into something a bit more… well, eye-appealing. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and y-e-s, as I mentioned before, vegetable gardens are beautiful in their own right, but its in the veggie garden where exciting touches of creativity can be applied with great visual impact.
Think about it… most flower gardens are exciting and beautiful with color at every corner and perhaps a well placed piece of garden art here and there that begs to be discovered within the sea of color. The flowers steal the show. In the veggie garden, the dominant color is green, right? Any garden art or splashes of color placed here will shine and take center stage. Who says veggie gardens have to be utilitarian and only serve one purpose… to grow food. Consider your veggie garden a “textural green canvas” that’s ready and waiting for splashes of color and twinkling things :D
For me, adding garden art and color in the veggie garden just kicks up my gardening enjoyment ten-fold. I love to hear the sweet melodies my wind chimes sing to me as I harvest and tend to my veggies and fruit orchard. It calms and relaxes me. They even shout out their song for me to hear and enjoy on super windy dusty days, when I’m forced to stay in the house on my unexpected day off.
I also love to add unexpected splashes of color here and there with flowers tucked in amongst the veggies. This serves a couple of purposes in the vegetable garden. First being visual enjoyment for you and your visitors and the other, to entice beneficial insects and pollinators into your veggie garden where they can get down to business doing what they do best… eliminate the pesky insects you so desperately need to have eradicated or pollinate your veggies and flowers for an abundant harvest.
Now… I can hear some of you saying to yourself, “sure, adding garden art and flowers would be great, but… I have a very small veggie garden and can’t afford to lose any space.” Bzzzzzzz… Wrong answer. Everyone can tuck a little splash of color here and there to break up the green without losing precious garden space. In the Fall and Spring garden, for instance, pansies can really add some visual impact and take up very little space. In fact, most can be tucked in along a narrow edge of your vegetable bed. In the Summer and Fall garden, sunflowers are perfect… most of the space they take up is in their height ranging anywhere up to 6′, 8′ and 12′ and higher. Veggies can be easily planted around its base and eventually fill in nicely.
Or, if you’re unwilling to give up even a small area, you can add a sturdy slender and tall piece of garden art that will also double as something your plants can climb on or be supported by. This type of garden art takes up hardly any space at all.
For me personally, I just love to adorn my veggie garden with delicious shades of pink, orange, blue, and of course, yellow. It makes my heart and my edible garden sing. In fact, most of the flowers I add to my garden serve more than one purpose like, Nasturtiums…
They’re wonderful companion plants to a lot of veggies and greens working hard to deter pesky insects. Then, there’s the sweet-faced pansy.
My choice… varieties with edible seeds and flowers that no bee or smile can resist.
I also love to mix-it-up in my veggie garden with different colors of veggie greens like Red Romaine or Red Streaks Mizuna.
You can also plant Penstemons and other tall-narrow “space conservative” plants that are attractive to hummingbirds. These high speed wing-beating wonders love to eat garden gnats and other small flying insects and really do appreciate and admire a shiny or sparkling object or two. Isn’t that a good thing? Yes, absolutely!
I also like to add “movement” to my veggie garden. Obviously my wind chimes, but also, things like wind twillers…
A little breeze will kick up and round and round she goes. It catches my attention every time. I just love it. Someday, I’d like to take advantage of our frequent desert breezes (uh-hem, wind) by adding a whirligig to my garden. These are fun wind art and typically have a whimsical scene that is animated by a wind propelled twiller of some sort. Google it ~ they’re fun to have in the garden.
My veggie garden art wish list and upcoming projects (that I’ll share with you in a future post)…
- Garden signs (homemade, of course)
- Something sparkly and catches the light
- Copper Trellis/Tower
Still worried about space in your veggie garden? Seriously consider square foot gardening or intensive gardening. Both are extremely ideal planting methods here in the desert and for areas plagued with drought (like California). The close plantings help to shade the soil, which helps to keep your soil moist and use less water, and it may just free up space for your own veggie garden art show :D
Invite a happy face into your garden.
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