Sunday, September 26, 2010

Edible Landscaping - Denver Botanical Gardens

Denver Botanical Garden - how had I never been there?  Last month on my trip to Colorado, I finally made it to the Garden.  Lots of heat (but not brutal, which was surprising for August) and a relatively nice day to stroll around.  Someone at DBG has gotten the edible landscaping bug.  How else can you explain what used to me a reasonably formal entrance garden morphing into a veggie patch?
We're not talking ornamental cabbages here.  Just plain ol' heads o' kraut.  Backed by a symphonic (or not) arrangement of chard, kale, cleome and corn.  I don't think that they meant to imply cleome was edible, maybe I should check!

And there really were cabbages and cruciferous veggies in a surprising number of flower beds.

Kind of unique, you know... but I have to say, they didn't really ADD to the landscape.  In some cases, like the lone kohlrabi in the petunia bed... they were just plain wierd.

Kohlrabi O'Lantern? 
Okay, Okay, I'll admit.  I added the face.  But, really, it needed it.
Just plain ugly in that flower bed. Did the rest get eaten?  Only the DBG staff knows for sure! This was not going to sell the concept of combining edibles into one's ornamental garden beds, however - I could see that from the faces of visitors strolling past this display.  I should've painted the face on the actual kohlrabi in the bed.

Some things worked and combined really beautifully.  Check out the mini-watermelons along walk edging this garden bed:

And perhaps my favorite of all the edible/ornamental displays was this container of "purples" featuring a beautiful, silvery cardoon for height (very delicious) and several gentle purple-leaved sage plants amid the flowers:

There were more odd combos throughout the garden beds - melons in trees and other interesting but confusing offerings.   I must say, I feel quite conservative in my landscaping after this tour!

Perhaps the cabbage-mad garden designer at DBG this year is a fan of French author/statesman, Michel de Montaigne....

"I want death to find me planting my cabbages."...Montaigne, Essays Book I (1880)

Me, too!  Well, if not my cabbages, perhaps something else....


  1. Huh. I love Denver Botanic Gardens and all of the plant surprises that go along with it. The entrance garden you were so confused about was a tribute to the idea of victory gardens in wartime. That kolrabi probably was forgotten, nice of you to make such a big deal out of it. You didn't have one positive thing to say! Go you!

  2. Ah, not true! While I really did feel that some of the beds were very awkwardly done and had some fun at their expense - I did indeed praise, very clearly, the lovely combination DBG staff created with the mini-watermelons and the striking cardoon/sage containers. Denver Botanic is a wonderful botanical garden and I'm delighted that you enjoy it!


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