Growing flowers in the veg patch really brightens things up and looks so attractive. On top of that, they are really useful too – here are a few ideas.
There are quite a few different flowers that are edible. Plant them in pots or in borders and they make a great addition to the veg patch. They’ll help attract bees too.
Borage – Lovely little blue flowers that will look super on cakes and desserts. They have a cucumber-like flavour – they’re a great addition to a gin & tonic!
Violas – These pretty flowers are so sweet and really decorative. Add to a salad or crystallise them to use as cake decorations. You’ll get a long flowering season from them too. They look super in pots.
Calendula – Use the striking, orange petals to add a splash of colour to risottos and paella, or sprinkle the petals on salads. These are great to dot in and around vegetables too, attracting beneficial insects. They will readily self seed, so be sure to deadhead them if you don’t want them to do so!
Nasturtium – Pick off the leaves and petals to enjoy in salads or sprinkled on dishes like risotto. They have a distinctive peppery taste.
Companion planting is a traditional and natural way to deter pests from crops that you are growing and to attract good insects such as hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds which are the best natural predators of aphids and whitefly. The plants look lovely when interspersed with your vegetables:
Tagetes – Plant tagetes close to your tomatoes, peppers and aubergine to deter whitefly. They also look very pretty when in flower. Great in pots or dotted around in the greenhouse.
Marigold – The strong colour of marigolds attracts beneficial hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds. Plant them in amongst your crops or next to rows of veg.
Nasturtiums – Nasturtiums secrete a mustard oil that insects love, plant them as a sacrificial crop close to brassicas to deter caterpillars.
Wildflowers are great for planting in a dedicated patch in the garden, or in a pot/planter for a mini-meadow on your patio. They will quickly attract bees and butterflies (of all sorts!) into your garden, and many of the flowers are good for cutting too, so you’ll be able to gather lovely posies from your garden.
The growing season for wildflowers usually runs up to the first frosts in October/November, so they are a great way of adding colour through the main growing season.