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How to Design the Mixed Planting Garden

Updated on November 3, 2012

mix it up

All plants have their place and purpose, that said there are a number (purple loosestrife, comes to mind) that I do not want in my garden, nor necessarily anywhere else. It may be true that we have not yet found a purpose for them but they cause significant problems, none the less.

Recently, I had, once again, a discussion with someone who sees no role or purpose for ornamental plants or shrubs in any landscape design, ether public or private.

I do not agree, of course it is possible to create a landscape design using only edible plants and my personal plans come close to this; however, there will be a few plants (gladiolus, for example) that serve primarily an ornamental purpose.

I like to have fresh cut flowers in the house so will grow them but they will not necessarily be in a separate bed but grown right alongside or mixed throughout the garden with the herbs and vegetables.

Diversity is vital to an ecosystem’s health and a garden can be viewed as an ecosystem; an ecosystem cared for and nurtured by people. Diversity in a garden not only helps keep the garden strong, it also provides plants for both food and pleasure. I create a feast for the eyes and the stomach when putting in a mixed planting garden.

The mixed planting garden:

If you are already growing vegetables then consider adding some herbs such as dill to the mix. Dill will attract butterflies and other beneficial insects to your garden and these garden companions will make your work easier.

Edible flowers such as violas, borage and nasturtiums add colour, shape and texture as well beauty. They can be mixed in with the flowers and herbs. This is the essence of the mixed planting garden to combine herbs, vegetables and flowers in one garden bed.

Perennial flowers make a good choice, especially native perennials for the mixed garden. A perennial will come back with little or no effort on your part for two or more years. Some perennials, such as daylilies, for example, may return for years.

Native perennials will attract native butterflies as well as bees and other pollinators. Your garden provides food for the beneficials and they will come and devour any potential insect pests.

The perennials can be planted in the borders or along side the vegetables. The mixed planting garden is a form of companion planting where plants are chosen that seem to complement one another when growing close to each other (basil and tomatoes for example).

Simply put, the mixed planting garden is an organic gardening method that relies on plants to provide the help a gardener needs to produce healthy and attractive plants.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 6 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome, thanks for visiting and commenting.

  • profile image 6 years ago

    Thanks, Bob Ewing for the information - glad to know that all kinds of plants grow as far north as NB - :)

    voted up and useful

    will be following you - thanks again


  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    My pleasure, thanks for dropping by.

  • Glenn Raymond profile image

    Glenn Raymond 8 years ago from Bailey, Colorado

    This is an excellent topic and you have written it very well. Thank you for publishing this hub.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    Always good advice.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for dropping by.

  • myawn profile image

    myawn 8 years ago from Florida

    very nice I like the lovely flowers and the vegetables.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Glads as row markers, great idea, thanks and thanks for dropping by.

  • reddog1027 profile image

    reddog1027 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    I like the idea of mixed plantings. If I have to many tomato seedlings I plant them with my flowers. I have found that peppers to great in large pots right alongside of nasturtiums. Some of my flowers, especially marigolds are always grown around my tomatoes.

    Oh and as far as a use for gladiolas. They make great row markers in the vegetable garden. Plant a bulb at each end and you will always know where your rows are. It helps me a lot since I tend to plant way too many vegetables.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    You are welcome and thank you for dropping by.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    That is a good thought and and advice. Thank you.