Pretty useful plants

Another section by popular demand. If you want to talk about anything else that grows that is not livestock, herbs, fruit or vegetables here it goes.
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Thomzo
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Pretty useful plants

Post: #252286 Thomzo
Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:51 pm

A couple of comments on here recently and some comments outside of the forum have made me think about how easy or difficult is it to combine a productive garden with a pretty garden. Personally, I loved a programme made by the late Geoff Hamilton where he recreated a Victorian kitchen garden, combining useful plants in a pretty way.

So here's my list of plants that are both pretty and practical.

Lavender - even if you don't like the taste, it's useful in pot pourri and as an ingredient in hand creams and the like.
Oriental poppies - for the seeds and for the seed heads which are great in dried flower displays
Bronze fennel - beautiful foliage and great with fish
Alpine strawberries - pretty ground cover, lovely fruit, makes denser ground cover than normal strawberries
Medlar and quince trees - pretty flowers, great fruit and the leaves look great in autumn
Blueberries - pretty flowers, fruit and the leaves turn a lovely shade in autumn
Cherry plum - pretty flowers in early spring and lovely fruit - you can get a variety with dark red leaves but, in my garden at least, the fruit is pretty sparse.
Thyme and chamomile - great ground cover plants with herbal uses.
Rosemary - evergreen foliage, pretty blue flowers and great with lamb.
Roses - pretty flowers which can be dried for pot pourri or dried flower displays, depending on the variety, can use as a flavouring and hips in autumn.
Mahonia - very early yellow flowers, interesting, holly shaped leaves, berries for jam in autumn.
Logan berry - attractive climber, lovely autumn tinged leaves, great fruit.
Sorrell - unusual one perhaps but if you leave some of it to flower and set seed, the flower/seed heads are great and dry well for flower displays.
Curry plant, unusual shaped, grey leaved plant, a bit like lavender, lovely in savoury dishes
Bay tree - statuesque shrub, ideal for topiary, use the prunings in soups and stews

There's 15 to get us started, maybe we can come up with 101?

Zoe
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Green Aura
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Re: Pretty useful plants

Post: #252287 Green Aura
Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:01 pm

16) Fuchsia - if you get the bog standard one it's pretty, tough as old boots (ask Odsox) and you can make jam with the berries.
17) Nasturtiums - climb, trail, hanging baskets and fabulous in salads, both flowers and leaves, and you can pickle the seeds like capers.
18) Wood violets - great shade ground cover and pretty in salads, drinks, desserts.
19) Jerusalem artichokes
20) Salsify
21) Chives
Maggie

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Carltonian Man
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Re: Pretty useful plants

Post: #252297 Carltonian Man
Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:22 am

22) Chard, bright lights.
23) Ivy leaved Toadflax. Dense ground cover rockery plant. The flowers attract solitary bees and young shoots with flowers are pretty in salad.
24) Borage. Bees love it; flowers can be added to salads or drinks.
25) Wood Sorrel. Leaves added to salad.
26) Leeks allowed to seed. Flower heads attract bees and look good dried.

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demi
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Re: Pretty useful plants

Post: #252302 demi
Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:14 am

27) ginger - has beautiful edible flowers and of course you can eat the root. its a tropical plant though so need to be indoors over winter.
28) lemongrass - attractive, edible, aromatic grass. again needs to be protected from frost over winter, dug up and brought indoors.
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fruitcake
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Re: Pretty useful plants

Post: #252305 fruitcake
Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:38 am

I've been snooping on this http://www.pfaf.org/user/default.aspx website recently for ideas.

I've just 'released' into my flower (ish) beds

29/ Babbington leeks - have yet to eat cos i've been growing them to see what they do as i couldnt find out any info (prior to finding the above website)
30/ tree onions - yum
31/ sea rocket - edible
32/ garlic chives - yum

all edible and IMHO very pretty/ sculptural with pretty flowers
I have a lot of the ones listed already - will steal a few ideas though, ta and i also have

33/ sage - purple, ordinary and variegated - smells and looks great, and fab for cooking
34/ lemonbalm - smells lovely, great tea, dries well
35/ day lilies - lovely flowers, edible although i haven't yet
36/ pignut - as above
37/ sweet cicely - herb, nice leaf
38/ a chinese? willow - lovely colour and i use it as hedging/ windbreak/ plant supports, kindling etc - and hopefully for baskets some day when i get a round tuit
39/ comfrey - i think it looks lovely and its great for mulch, compost etc
40/ Campanula rotundifolia (harebell) - v pretty and apparently edible

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Re: Pretty useful plants

Post: #252306 oldjerry
Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:58 am

Don't forget Monkshood. (for when the mother-in-law comes to tea).

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Millymollymandy
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Re: Pretty useful plants

Post: #252313 Millymollymandy
Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:32 pm

41. Dill - edible, extremely pretty in flower and the food stuff of the Swallowtail caterpillar. It self seeds with gay abandon and you never need to sow it ever again.

42. Verbena bonariensis - the preferred flower of all the butterflies in my garden and the tits eat the seeds in winter. Ditto re self seeding.

43. Calendula - easy to grow, looks pretty, can put petals in salad and make things like calendula cream. Again self seeds easily.

44. Coriander. Edible, pretty when flowering, self seeds all over the place and is winter hardy so you can have coriander leaf all year round.
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