Elegant Edibles for the Mountain West and High Plains

Mix edible and ornamental plants to create spectacular gardens for the Mountain region.
Lettuce 'Wildfire'

Interplanting edibles and ornamentals is a creative way to use every square inch of planting space, like using a two-for-one coupon at the grocery store but getting the freshness at the garden gate. It works in containers, too.

I've learned that it is OK to use the grand, leafy foliage of rhubarb, planted en masse, as a tropical backdrop to rugosa roses, whose large rose hips contain 60 times the vitamin C of an orange. 'Sweet 100' cherry tomatoes look lovely with a ruffle of spinach circling the edge of the container. Nasturtiums really can climb up the raspberry canes. Vegetables do not need to march in straight rows.

Because they can tolerate partial shade, plant root crops and leafy vegetables, such as radishes and lettuce, beneath taller plants that filter the sun and protect them. Some yummy plant combinations: curly parsley with orange calendulas and red leaf lettuce; kale, in shades of gray and blue, with the fernlike leaves of dill or fennel; sweet woodruff (Galium) as a fragrant groundcover beneath pansies and bachelor buttons (Centaurea); and chives, brilliant green with lavender blossoms, nestled with coreopsis and Mediterranean arugula.