edible plant garden scarlet runner beads, lavender, yellow chard
Photo: Marion Brenner
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Eye-Catching and Useful

Plenty of edibles are as eye-catching outside as they are useful in the kitchen. Many have big leaves with striking outlines, colors, and textures. 'Bright Lights' chard, for instance, with its multi-hued stems, shines beside sword-shaped New Zealand flax, and 'Purple Ruffles' basil offers a rich contrast to lime-green boxwood leaves. Some edibles, such as okra and fava beans, flower extravagantly before producing, while others—including orange eggplant and burgundy bean pods—offer madly colored fruit. Certain food plants can also give structure to a chaotic bed; try using blueberries as a hedge or a cucumber-entwined tepee as a focal point.

Shown: Scarlet runner beans, lavender, and yellow-stemmed chard form a brilliant ensemble.
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