Ornamental Kitchen Garden

Growing your own food is nearly as satisfying as eating your own food! Working with the soil provides practical insights into our environment, plants and creatures. However growing need not be restricted to the allotment, instead it can be a focal point of your garden.

Sage growing next to beans on wigwam

An ornamental kitchen garden is an ornate garden that grows a mix of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers in small beds that are easy to maintain.

The type of garden shown below originates from medieval times where crops were regarded as decorative as well as edible. By planting closer together in small spaces, foliage can shade and suppress weeds and the mix of plants attracts more pollinating insects like bees, butterflies, beetles and hoverflies. Other beneficial fauna include birds, ladybirds and hoverfly larvae feeding on pests like caterpillars and aphids. Pests often fail to find crops when they are mixed with flowering plants detracting from their targets.

The plan is based on the classic potager garden which has a formal structure of geometric beds framed by low informal hedges. The beds can be filled with salad crops, flowers, vegetables arranged around a central vertical piece like a large pot or fruiting tree. Each bed can be as small as one metre squared or scaled up depending on your space and taste.

Roll over each part of the design for more ideas on planting. All images courtesy of Larchill Garden.



Plant suggestions…

By including native flowers brings colour to the beds as well as creating an ecosystem that ensures the health of this garden. Annuals and native flowers grow fast and establish easily, some even attract beneficial insects like ladybirds. These flowers are great sacrificial plants allowing for and recovering from any pest attack. This coping mechanism in nature is known as “trophic cascade” and removes the need for any insecticides.

Low growing plants are best suited at the edges of the beds. These include lettuces, beetroot which contrast with the finer foliage of carrot and parsley. Each planted among a carpet of herbs and marigold flowers.

Medium plants should include colourful Swiss chard contrasting with curly kale.

Tall plants can be the focal point of each bed. Striking statuesque plants like angelica, fennel or globe artichokes create real impact. Alternatively train climbing beans on cane wigwams to generate interest.

Contact Lorraine for your customised kitchen garden design.

1 comment

  1. Hi Lorraine
    love the ornamental kitchen garden. I would say it would look heavenly!
    I cant imagine why anyone would want to plant anything other than veg, herbs and fruit in their garden when they look and taste so amazing!
    keep up the great work!
    Niamh

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