• Cottage Garden Vegetables

    runner beans and canes

    If the garden is large enough to have its own dedicated vegetable patch, its cultivation is really a separate subject, but you can grow crops that are as decorative as they are delicious in amongst the flowers. Use old tin baths, wooden crates, buckets and other junk shop finds as containers for herbs, salads and strawberries and position them close to the kitchen door. Grow a wigwam of runner beans in the border or over an arch that spans the path (this makes them easy to pick). Rainbow chard is a doddle to grow and is a colourful addition to the border; globe artichokes are wonderfully architectural and, after you have harvested all you want to eat, you can leave a few to open into dramatic blue-flowered thistles. Look for varieties of peas and beans that have attractively coloured flowers or pods and a selection of cherry tomatoes with different shape and colour fruits. You don’t need a dedicated plot to grow crops – they may not grow quite as large when they are competing with flowers in the border, but they will still taste delicious.

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