Vegetable Gardens Have Flowers Too!

September 4, 2009

Flower gardeners aren’t the only ones that can appreciate a bit of color and ornamental accents in the garden. So while vegetable growers may not be able to smell the roses, there’s no shortage of blossoms and blooms to catch the eye and other senses in an edible garden.

Here’s a small sampling of the interesting, attractive and unusual flowers that you will find on display in the backyard vegetable plot:


Nasturtium flowers are edible of course and add a bite of peppery flavor in the kitchen and mounds of  colorful blooms in the garden. The leaves can also be eaten and there are some varieties with variegated foliage.


Tansy is a medicinal herb that serves double duty as a great veggie garden companion and a plant that can be useful in attracting beneficial insects and encouraging them to make themselves at home.


Black Eyed Peas have surprisingly beautiful flowers and this photo doesn’t nearly do the colors justice. You need to get an early start to catch this one because the shy blooms quickly fade and disappear as the sun rises.


Okra is one of my favorite vegetable flowers that makes for a pretty sight even before the blossom has fully opened. The tropical looking flowers quickly develop into tasty okra pods.


Fish Pepper flowers are plain and barely visible, but the leaves prove there is no pepper variety as showy as this heirloom. Even the small fruits are incredibly attractive adorned in an assortment of colors and fancy stripes.


Garland Chrysanthemum’s dainty flowers rise above deeply serrated leaves that are the main course on this edible plant. I’ve noted two different flower strains on edible chrysanthemums with this one being the least ornamental.


Arugula may not display the largest or most colorful blooms, but you have to admit that their flowers are unique and have an ornamental flair of their very own… not to mention that it’s great option to spice up a green salad.


Scorzonera produces an elegant flower and buds that would look right at home in a florist shop, but make no mistake, this is a root vegetable that is rough and tough enough to flourish like a perennial in the vegetable garden.


Goji Berry flowers are easily missed because they are so tiny but take a minute to look closely and you will be rewarded with a showy display from this exotic looking blossom that later develops into a bright red juicy berry.


Parsnip blossoms may not attract many flower gardeners, but as you can see they have no trouble drawing in a crowd of pollinating and predatory beneficial insects. Flowers appear during the plant’s second year of growth.


Rhubarb plants are best known for pies, jams, and other desserts, but they will also produce a flower of sorts. This unusual bloom rises on a stalk that is best removed to prevent it from sapping strength from the plant.


Sunflowers parade by to close out this peculiar round-up of flowers, but there’s plenty more to see in the veggie garden; borage, scarlet runner beans, broccoli, squash, globe artichokes, sage, kale, calendula, sunchokes, carrots, salsify, leeks, rosemary, and other vegetables and herbs all have flowers of their own waiting to be admired and enjoyed.

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  • Barbee

    Great photos! Great Post! (as usual)

    I’ve never seen parsnip flowers before, are they related to dill? I ask because I grow dill (the swallowtail butterfly larva love it) and your parsnips look very similar.

  • Kenny Point

    Thanks Barbee, I’m pretty sure dill is related to parsnips… along with carrots, celery, parsley, angelica, fennel, lovage, and a few other vegetables and herbs that all share similar flowering and seed setting habits.

  • Pingback: Can Tomatoe and strawberry plants be planted together? | Gardening Container Strawberries()

  • You have posted wonderful picture of flowers that is appreciated. Keep it up the good work. Cheers 🙂

  • Hi Kenny,
    I’m giving you “10-points” for this blog post on edible plant flowers! I love taking a moment to appreciate the ephemeral flowers from these edible plants that we don’t often appreciate (unless we are harvesting seeds).

    Shirley Bovshow “Eden Maker”

  • Kenny Point

    Thanks Shirley, I appreciate flowers too, especially when they are edible or precede an edible fruit or vegetable.

  • dogsandfitness

    Over this past summer, I planted a lot of nasturtiums around the perimeter of our veggie garden. I am convinced that they helped increase the amount of bees and other pollinators to the garden.

  • Gail Barnes

    I have a purple striped eggplant about the size of a small grapefruit. How do I know when it is ready to pick? My daughter brought it home from a garden supply where she works. We don’t know when it was planted.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Gail, you can harvest eggplants at pretty much any stage as long as the fruits have reached the size that you want. Grapefruit sized is actually pretty large for the average eggplant, so I would say that you can harvest and enjoy your striped eggplant!

  • I hope to coordinate a talk on Edible Flowers for my children’s programme, please keep your information coming, I find it of great benefit.

  • Great post! Kenny, I like your style
    food and relaxing Great idea!

  • Great photos! I Like Tansy
    Thank’s for good information

  • I appreciate every pictures of the flowers posted in here. So amazing and so beautiful.

  • cheryl boggs

    I hope someone can help me! I have 3 tall vining plants that have small 4 petal white flowers on the plant. They have a bunch of pea like pods growing on the plant. It doesn’t look like green beans or peas, the leaves have a roundness to them, not sharp edges. I planted something I don’t remember what it was since I planted so many different things. Can someone help??

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