Turn Your Garden into an Oasis with Flowers and Fun Varieties


gardener on bench 

The smart gardener chooses to fill the garden with vegetables and fruit the family wants to eat. But if that’s where things stop, family gardeners are missing out on the fullness of gardening joy. Around here, we employ a couple of tricks to make gardening even more of a pleasure than it already is.

Plant Something New

We look for at least one new-to-us item to grow each year. Gardening is all about experimenting and learning by doing, anyway. So why not take a chance on something unknown, some unusual garden crops. All it takes is reserving some little corner of the garden for the new and unexpected. Who knows? You may find a new favorite. What about kohlrabi, which looks like it came from another planet? Or lemon cucumbers or ground cherries or yard-long beans? Garden catalogs are full of intriguing possibilities.

Every year people beg me for the lilliputian, watermelon-striped, lightly citrus-flavored cucamelons we discovered a few years ago. Kiwano melon, with its orange skin covered in prickly spines, looks fascinating. Its interior, a gelatinous green blob  you scoop out with a spoon, is just as intriguing, but we did not flip over its flavor. It was a one-time crop.

painted mountain corn

Painted Mountain corn is stunning in displays and adds color appeal when ground for cornbread. Photo by Carole Coates.

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