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South Central Gardening: Edibles and Flowers Play Well Together

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Vegetable gardening has a whole new vibe, says Dee Nash: Your tomatoes don't mind sharing their space with blooming annuals and perennials.

Pansies add color and edible flowers to any vegetable garden
Who said we can't have the best of both worlds? By mixing and matching, we produce food for families and blooms for our souls.

When you think of a vegetable garden, perhaps you see a rectangle of dirt with long rows of green. Well, try to get that vision out of your mind. Vegetable gardening has a whole new vibe, and your tomatoes don't mind sharing their space with blooming annuals and perennials. Just as with fashion, veggies, fruits and flowers are mix-and-match these days.

Here are some easy ways to incorporate vegetables into your landscape:

Go Vertical. Raspberries respond well to a fence. So do peas, cucumbers, vining squash, melons and cherry tomatoes. Plant fun flowers nearby. Purple Verbena bonariensis, petunias or dwarf sunflowers add instant charm.

Replace Boxwood with Blueberries. Enjoy edibles in a formal landscape. Blueberries are attractive shrubs that bloom in spring, produce fruit and turn bronze in fall. Plant at least two different cultivars for best pollination, and shape them after they bear fruit. Blueberries need acidic soil with a pH of 4.09 to 5, so test your soil beforehand.

Blueberries provide fruit as well as beautiful green foliage all summer and color in autumn

Square It Up. If you simply must plant vegetables in straight rows, try a square instead of a line. Then border it with flowers such as pansies or violas in early spring and dwarf zinnias in summer. The flowers are pretty, and pollinators will thank you.

Who said we can't have the best of both worlds? By mixing and matching, we produce food for families and blooms for our souls. How do you incorporate fruits and vegetables in your backyard garden?