Garden Design

Today we’re visiting with Art in Ada, Michigan, who has found a beautiful and unusual way to enjoy the bounty of the garden.

There was a time when I had an expansive garden in suburban Chicago, but inevitable downsizing led me in new directions. Now focusing on container gardens and a new wildflower garden for our community. I completed the MSU Master Gardener program in 2019 and was a finalist in container competition in Chicago in 2017.

Another way I like to look at my garden is how I can bring it to the dinner table. Here are a few examples of my beet salads that keep the garden always in view. OK, so the beets are from the local farmers market, but the herbs and flowers are all from my container garden. Add a little chèvre and balsamic reduction, and hey, it’s a fancy salad.

There isn’t any formula, inspiration, or other influence on how they are made. It’s all an “in the moment” creation. In addition to beets I like to use pears and other fruit, pistachios, and either chèvre (French) or blue (French or domestic) cheese. Edible flowers are finding their way into the plates as well. I grow sweet basil and Thai basil (Ocimum basilicum, annual), English thyme (Thymus vulgaris, Zones 5–9), lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus, Zones 6–9), chives (Allium schoenoprasum, Zones 3–9), Calendula (annual), nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus, annual), mojito mint (Mentha × villosa, Zones 4–9), a melon sage (Salvia elegans, Zones 8–11 or as an annual), and, of course, rosemary. Local farmers offer three types of beets (red, orange, and candy stripe) so I can mix and match as needed. I try to buy “salad-size” beets so I have an appropriate scale to work with.

small herb garden in potsArt’s “herb farm,” which comes in handy when dressing up meals. Herbs are a great choice for gardeners in small spaces and containers because a little bit of them goes a long way, and you can easily add them to nearly every meal you cook.

flowers and herbs growing on a small porchAnother view of the herbs–and flowers–growing on the small porch to make a beautiful and productive space.

bright blue metal chairs on a porchTwo chairs and a table make a little breakfast nook, while planters on the railing add beauty.

The rest of the images are of Art’s incredible creative beet salads that show off the herbs and edible flowers he grows to perfection. Such a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of gardening!

creative beet salad with orange beets creative beet salad creative beet salad with basil and edible flowers beet salad with herbs and cheese beet salad with an interesting design

Have a garden you’d like to share?

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