cottage garden with wood poles for climbing scarlet runner beans
Photo: Saxon Holt
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5. Ornamental Edibles

A tepee of scarlet runner beans not only works as an ornament in a blooming border but also harks back to the early aim of the cottage plot: to feed the body and the soul. Moseley sees this time-honored combination as a solution to the widespread contemporary gardener's conflict between wanting to grow food and wanting to have pretty flower beds. Since most edibles and blooming plants need sun, it's hard to reconcile making separate spaces for both, especially on a small lot. In the eclectic cottage garden, dill looks at home among dianthus, while chard can pick up the hues of daylilies, pulling the color palette together. Another way to work food in is with an apple or pear espalier—on a wall or as a fence. One cautionary note: For fertilizer and pest control, use organic products if you have plants you plan to eat.

Shown: Fruits and vegetables grow side by side with colorful shrubs and flowers in a typical cottage garden. Here, weathered wood poles provide a climbing structure for scarlet runner beans.
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