Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ornamentals and pretty flowers on edible things

On Saturday the 22nd we got a much needed donation of ornamental plants from a friendly neighbor.  The Hostas, Sedum, and Black Eyed Susans are being used to beautify our front garden.  Our front sitting area has lost some of its luster.  The benches need to be spruced up, many of the stone structures have been knocked out of place and the beds on the sidewalk have become a tall tangle of well-intentioned plants that need some love.  Many of the plants in the front beds are beneficial natives, but there is no appearance of design in this very public place and, without management, the mass of foliage and sporadic flower has become unsightly.

In addition to this, the city has become more aggressive about issuing $600 fines for plants deemed overgrown "weeds" (often arbitrarily-- Weed law in Chicago sends native plant gardeners to court) and we want to make it clear to neighbors and ticket writers that there is intentional gardening taking place, rather than neglect.  Ginkgo hasn't encountered this and we'd prefer not to.  We still have work to do, but this donation got us off to a great start!

Not all pretty plants are strictly ornamental.  The aesthetics of chive flowers add a secondary benefit to a tasty herb.   We generally treat the walking onion as an ornamental, but the tops make a great substitute for shallots. And potato flowers are absolutely gorgeous!

The garden is a wonderful place for pollinators...

and other interesting characters.