EDIBLE ORNAMENTAL GARDEN
Food safety is becoming more and more of a concern, and so is saving money. Grow your own organically, without contaminants that can make you sick!
Big agriculture often uses pesticides and herbicides and sludge (with bacteria that you don't want!). It's a great feeling to know where your food has been, you're helping the environment because it didn't have to travel hundreds of miles, and it's FRESH!
Some attractive plants to mix up in your garden beds: eggplant has pretty purple flowers and glossy fruits in aubergine purple (plus many more shapes and sizes available from Bakers heirloom seeds for example). Swiss Chard comes in red, yellow, white, and orange stalked varieties. Peas and beans often have pink or purple bitone blooms. I'm growing an edible podded pea with yellow pods this year. I love sugar snap and oriental peas for the wonderful flavor and high yields. Yum - crunchy fresh from the garden.
Peppers can ripen to red after developing as green fruits - they are also available as yellow, purple, orange and white fruits and the hot peppers are ornamental too. I love the look of ripe tomatoes not just in red, but in yellow, orange, pink, and striped varieties in various sizes (try yellow pear). Okra is related to mallow and has pretty blooms - the whole squash family has bright yellow blooms that can be stuffed and cooked. Grain amaranth grows in various colors too. Pop some marigolds in there for pest inhibition - they have edible flowers as do chrysanthemum, calendula, nasturtium, violet, and of course my favorite, daylilies!!
Daylily petals (especially the lighter colors) are lovely and refreshingly mild and crunchy in salads. The buds can be stir-fried in butter or boiled and are reminiscent of green beans. The dried blooms are "golden needles" in Asian cooking, added to soups to thicken. Tubers may or may not be good to eat, it may depend on which species. Be careful you are eating Hemerocallis (day lily) not the true lilies. Some garden plants (such as foxglove) are quite poisonous. Daylily blooms can also be stuffed or used in tempura. Jerusalem Artichokes will give you lots of sunflower type blooms and crunchy tubers which are delicious boiled or crunchy like water chestnuts raw. They contain inulin so are useful for diabetics. Jerusalem Artichoke will take over your whole garden though they spread like crazy!
At work, we're growing an ornamental edible garden which is small, but should produce some tomatoes, zucchini, cukes, beans, and herbs for a local women's shelter.
When you garden, remember the people who are struggling right now.