favourite vegetable / flower combinations

fernsk(z2 Canada)August 31, 2006

As I watch with regret the passing of my growing season [cucumbers and tomatoes have about petered out] I got to thinking about how I want to plant next years garden. I plan on including 3 to 4 rose bushes in my "scheme" and was wondering what your favourite vegetable / flower combinations are. I had read in a post in another forum that people loved growing tomatoes with roses - that was a combination that I hadn't thought about so it opened my mind to endless possiblities. What has worked for you?


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A couple of favorites:

chives with Lady's Mantle / Alchemilla mollis - in my perennial garden. The contrast of the vertical chives and the big round leaves of the lady's mantle is very striking. Tho the lady's mantle has gotten large enough it is almost too tall!

pumpkins with sunflowers - in my veggie garden. That was cool - pumpkins spread all over, with sunflowers coming up through the vines.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 3:20PM
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fennelgrl(Z6a OH)

In my magnolia bed's first season (this season) I planted a pumpkin vine to utilize the bare space left by my baby (first year from seed) perennials. The vine turned out to be unexpectedly pretty and I love the look of the pumpkin blossoms in the morning.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 3:26PM
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balsam(z4/5 NB)

great topic, fern! Hmmmm......
-sunflowers with.......well, just about anything
-Scarlet runner beans on a "teepee" pole with cukes/squash.
-Cosmos and asparagus - love the ferny look of both and the late clouds of flowers
-glads with tomatoes - just tried it this year; pretty cool
- herbs like chives and lavender with roses
- nasturtiums with roses
- coloured lettuce and/or greens as edging on beds

Oh heck, I just stick in flowers and or veggies where I find an empty spot now. I used to have a "herb garden" and a "veggie garden" and "flower gardens", but now I just have "gardens".

Another combination I saw in a mag but haven't yet tried was bluish cabbage/kale (the edible kind) with red coleus and lady's mantle. Stunning colours!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:24PM
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chris_ont(5a Ont)

While I'd love to take credit for the idea, it was quite by accident that both my Sweet 100's tomatoes and the adjacent blue sweetpea vine ended up larger than I thought and got mixed up.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 3:09PM
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Great discussion and really fun pics.

You're probably talking about summer combinations, but for winter (here) or spring/autumn (cold winter areas) I love planting any of the bright-stemmed Swiss chard with similar (or contrasting) colored pansies or violas.

Here in Seattle both will last through the winter and add some bright color all season long. I love amplifying the color of each by planting the other (does that even make sense?). Anyway, it's one of my favorites that I repeat over and over.

Take care and happy gardening,

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Bright Lights' Swiss chard from T&M

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 12:15PM
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solana(z5a NH)

 or, plain old red Chard if you want just a single colour. My favourite for flavor is 'Charlotte'.

For a darker purple foliage, Perilla. Not much of a vegetable unless you make Japanese-style pickled ginger (Perilla = Shiso), but it's a pretty, polite, self-seeder (easy to pull & ID), and you can add it to spiced peaches for a pretty pink tint. I like it with shorter varieties of zinnias, marigolds or anything chartreuse  coleus, sweet potato vine, etc.

Rhubarb for bold foliage.

Thai Hot peppers anywhere a spot of red & green works. Compact, short for a pepper, with dozens of ~¾ inch fruits held upright. I think of it as a refined substitute for the flaming red Salvia people use in their red-white-and-blue beds. Plus, I dig them up when frost finally threatens, pot them (they're actually tender perennials), give as house plants at Christmas.

Another Pepper, 'Fish' has variegated green & white foliage, may not fruit outdoors in Z2, but can also be potted up.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Fish' pepper from Fedco

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 2:05PM
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herb fennel and cosmos; I love the sweet pea combo, but my sweet peas seeded so much that they overgrew everything for a while and I pulled them out.

I'm a sucker for any of the feathery herbs, because I love to see things "float", as well as using them in "bouquets for a day" for fullness and texture.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 3:14PM
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Dill and just about anything, but especially Coreopsis tinctoria, old-fashioned daylilies, or annual butterfly weed (Asclepias curassavica.) And I will definitely put a minature melon in my tropical flowerbed next year. And a purple pepper again.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 4:36PM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

Chives and iris.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 10:09AM
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solana(z5a NH)

Bean counter:

That's gorgeous. Wonderful contrast of texture while blending colors. Do you know the variety of Iris?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 3:00PM
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Great combination, Bean Counter. Thanks for sharing it!

Take care,

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 3:28PM
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bean_counter_z4(Zone 4, Rkfd,IL)

Solana, I don't know what it is. I bought it locally several years ago and it was supposed to be the white twice blooming iris Immortality. Someone on the iris forum thinks it's Jesse's Song????? Sorry.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 3:41PM
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angelcub(Sunset 3b)

Love that combo, bean counter! You can't have enough blues/purples in the cottage garden, imho. : ) They give that much needed sense of rest to beds that could otherwise look chaotic.

Here's a fav combo of mine - hollyhocks, petunias and summer squash. As for toms with roses, I'd do something else like nepeta. Tomatoes just get too big and nasty looking as the season wears on. Roses deserve prettier bedmates. : )

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 4:12PM
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My one caution is not to plant your vegetables with any plant that might need a toxic-type spray.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 12:10PM
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Hi all, what a great post!

A mix that worked very well for me is edible fennels + verbena bonariensis in the back of a mainly yellow and purple border. Another one is purple leaved beets + pale blue annual verbena.
About tomatoes I have to agree with Chris_Ont: they are a great background for purple/blue flowers (in my case torenia).

Next year I want to try Swiss Chard and purple Basil, I've seen them in a lot of French gardens during my holidays and they combined well with many annuals and perennials.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 11:01AM
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In the beds along the walk to our "friends entrance" there are perennials, small polyantha type roses, herbs and each summer some pepper plants. Last year Japanese eggplant was the curiosity plant that drew questions, this year it's 'Little Lucy' a dwarf okra with dark green leaves, the pods, stems and new growth are burgundy/maroon and of course the pretty yellow hibiscus type blooms with maroon eye.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 12:40PM
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fernsk(z2 Canada)

Wow - thanks for all the great ideas and I too love the pictures. I've been on holiday for 2 weeks - totally computerless so... just reading this morning


    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 1:21PM
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rosebush(z7 NC)

Great thread ~ Bean counter, that photo took my breath away! What a beautiful combo! I'm a sucker for irises anyway, but those colors are wonderful!
Love all the ideas here. I planted peppers in with petunias and cleomes in with broccoli this year. Also had calendulas growing in the veggie bed next to the dill.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 3:44PM
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nanahanna(a8 AR)

Here are my cherry tomatoes and Molineaux rose growing mixed together. I also have green and yellow bell peppers growing nearby with rosemary, zebrina hollyhock, light pink and hot pink zinnias, deep pink yarrow, pink coneflower, red glads, and different shades of daylilies.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 3:58PM
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