I love to see colorful flowers all around the outside of our home. However, with very few exceptions, I NEVER plant annuals (plants that die each year and need to be replanted the next). If a plant or flower is going to make in the flower gardens here on the Farm, they've got to fend for themselves and come back year after year. First and foremost, I'm raising kids, not flowers. Little by little, our perennial (plants that come back year after year on their own) gardens have grown. It has been fun and satisfying to watch them take root and spread, especially since they're doing so on their own for the most part.
Thus far, the veggie and flower gardens have been two separate things. Farmer Ron has been in charge of the veggies (we do the planning together, he does the planting and tending, I do the preserving) and the flowers have been my domain. This year, I'm going to let some veggies into "my" gardens.
We're moving in the territory of Edible Landscaping. We are attempting to grow more of our own food on the Farm, which means we need to be smarter about how we work. Flowers are nice and all, but if I can get some food and while adding beauty to our home for the same amount of work, well, you can guess which way I'll be leaning.
Not sure how it is all going to play out, but here is the plan for now. We're going to try growing pole beans up the sides of our garage. There are already flower beds in this location. So, the flowers will grow in the front of the plots and beans will grow up the back. This will give us some more color and also add some green to a big gray wall. We'll be planting some pretty red pepper plants in big pots to place outside instead of geraniums or some such things. There will also be some herbs planted outside our back door - very close to the kitchen, so I can pop out and pick them while making dinner.
If you don't have a garden, incorporating some edible plants in amongst your flower beds is a great way to start growing some of your own food. Can you put a tomato or pepper plant in a pot on your deck instead of those petunias? Go out and walk around your yard. I'll bet you could find a few places you could plant some lettuce or swiss chard or beans!
As I said, my thumb is only very faintly pale green, so it's all an experiment. I encourage you to give it a try, too! Doesn't Edible Landscaping sound like delicious territory?
(I feel like I need to add this: I said above that growing things isn't that hard. What I mean is growing things on the scale that we do here on the Farm isn't that hard. Farmers who grow food for LOTS of people, the ones who earn their living farming - that's some hard work and I am very grateful to them! Also, the whole idea of growing things isn't hard - it's miraculous. Dig up some dirt, place a seed in the ground, give it some water and wait. The wonder that God works on that seed in the ground is amazing!)