Magazine article Sunset

Edibles in Disguise: The Secret to a Beautiful Kitchen Garden? Hide It in Plain Sight. L.A. Author Ivette Soler Shows How

Magazine article Sunset

Edibles in Disguise: The Secret to a Beautiful Kitchen Garden? Hide It in Plain Sight. L.A. Author Ivette Soler Shows How

Article excerpt

VEGETABLES AND HERBS want to grow where it's sunny. But often, the sunniest spot is the front yard--a place where most of us wouldn't want it to install what is, basically, a working arm. "We still want our front yards to look like gardens," says Ivette Soler, a Los Angeles garden designer, a blogger (thegerminatrix.com), and the author of The Edible front Yard (Timber Press, 2011; $20). In her own garden, pictured here, Ivette proves that kitchen gardens can be both pretty and productive.

WHERE THE EDIBLES ARE

1 Basil (Ocimum basilicum). This annual (and attractive) culinary herb is used in many cuisines, from the Mediterranean to Southeast Asian. Each variety has a slightly different flavor, so you have an excuse to grow several. Purple-leafed varieties like 'Red Rubin' are particularly decorative.

2 Fennel (Toeniculum vulgare). A perennial edible with licorice-flavored seeds and young leaves. Wispy and tall (especially the bronze variety pictured), the plant's fronds sway in the wind, adding movement to the garden.

3 Artichoke (Cynara carclunculus). Grow this "superstar of front-yard food," as Ivette describes it, even if you don't like eating its big flower buds. (Yes, that's what they are.) Its architectural structure, downy leaves, and softball-size purple flowers are all highly ornamental.

4 Sage (Salvia oficinalis). The mounding shape and gray leaves of this perennial Mediterranean herb make it a great front-row ornamental. Above, from left: Pink tinges in `Tricolor' play off the burgundy flax, and the large leaves of (Berggarten) echo the blue-green edging of the agave behind.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

3 GREAT PAIRS

Plant them together for maximum impact

SAGE AND SUCCULENTS Above: Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor', a variegated culinary sage, surrounds a rosy Echeverla 'Afterglow'.

THYME AND PHORMIUM Opposite page, at top: A mound of gray-green culinary thyme (Thymus vulgaris) softens a stiffer, upright form of 'Tom Thumb' New Zealand flax (Phormium). …

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