Ornamentals and edibles can happily coexist, drawing from each other's beauty and purpose in the garden.
Well, most of the time.
Mark Miller, education manager for the Franklin Park Conservatory, will discuss the dynamics of pairing the two at the next meeting of the German Village Garten Club, slated for 7 p.m. Monday, March 24, at the Meeting Haus, 588 S. Third St.
"Anything is possible," he said. "It just takes good planning."
The discussion is free and open to the public.
This is an especially pertinent topic for German Village, where space is at a premium, Miller said.
"The French intensive method, which can be used even in German Village, is one that if you do it properly, you can place a large number of plants in a small space and still get very good production," he said.
There are options for people who don't have space in their yards.
"You can absolutely include edibles in your flower boxes in a very attractive way, primarily through herbs, provided that they have good sun," he said.
Miller said he'll talk about companion pieces.
"What you want to do is place plants next to each other that require the same amount of care, the same amount of sun, the same amount of water," he said.
For example, "Carrots love tomatoes but tomatoes do not like cabbages," he said.
Tending to a garden that includes both ornamentals and edibles is a concern for many, he said.
"You have to plan it out very carefully so you are not harming your ornamentals when you're working on your edibles," said Miller, who lives in Northland and received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from Ohio State University.
"We'll also talk about the fact that even if you have an edible-focused garden it doesn't have to be unattractive," he said. "There are many lovely, beautiful edible plants. One of my favorites is swiss chard."
Miller said he also will discuss the use of chemicals.
"Obviously you don't want to use pesticides on the ornamentals when they're growing side by side with the edibles," he said. "And a lot of edibles are attractive to beneficial insects."